Oh say can you see R. Kelly’s “Ignition” becoming America’s national anthem? It's what one petition on the White House website proposes. It would mean the 2003 hit single would replace the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Somewhere, Francis Scott Key is giving the side eye.
“We, the undersigned, would like the Obama administration to recognize the need for a new national anthem, one that even a decade after its creation, is still hot and fresh out the kitchen,” the petition proclaims. “America has changed since Francis Scott Key penned our current anthem in 1814. Since then, we have realized that after the show, it's the afterparty, and that after the party, it's the hotel lobby, and -- perhaps most importantly -- that 'round about four, you've got to clear the lobby, at which point it's strongly recommended that you take it to the room and freak somebody.”
We wonder, why “Ignition”? Why not “I Believe I Can Fly,” “I’m Your Angel” or “The World’s Greatest”?
The petition has 7,590 signatures and has a goal of 10,000 names by April 2. Before you fully commit to making the pied piper of R&B’s sex-drenched song the new national anthem, let’s think about it. Some may think it makes about as much sense as track icon Carl Lewis singing the national anthem, and we all know how that ended up.
Then, there’s the question of which version of the song we’d sing. The petition specifically calls for the remix. But, do you really want your anthem to be a song whose remix outshined the original? What if Whitney Houston had sung “Ignition” during the Super Bowl in 1991? The emotions she evoked would be entirely different for the audience.
Let’s also compare the lyrics.
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
And now Kelly’s classic:
“Now, I'm not tryin’ to be rude,
But hey pretty girl I'm feelin’ you
The way you do the things you do
Remind me of my Lexus coupe
That’s why I’m all up in yo grill
Tryna get you to a hotel
You must be a football coach
The way you got me playin’ the field”
Now imagine Michael Phelps standing atop the Olympic podium, watching the flag being hoisted to this song. Admittedly, R. Kelly’s national anthem would probably end in a population boom, which we could nickname Generation Booty Call.
This movement is just one of many on the White House’s site. There also are petitions to end corruption in Congress, protect readers’ rights by unlocking eBooks and one to admit that all these petitions are just going to be ignored. That one's less than 3,400 shy of meeting its goal of 100,000.
Clearly, the lesson here is that there’s probably a petition out there on which everyone would cosign.