Foolishly Ending A Tradition

One of my favorite baseball traditions is the seventh-inning stretch and the singing of “God Bless America.” The tradition of singing “God Bless America”
began after 9/11. The Washington Times reported yesterday that the New York Yankees will no longer play the recording of Kate Smith singing the song. Now I will admit that having lived in Massachusetts for thirty-five years, I really don’t care what the Yankees do, but this is just political correctness run amok.

The article reports:

The New York Yankees‘ anti-racism efforts have extended to pulling from their seventh-inning stretch a famous recording of the legendary Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.”

Not because anyone has complained that the song is racist, but because Smith recorded other racially insensitive standards from and during the Jim Crow era.

The Yankees pulled Smith’s “God Bless America” from the rotation at the start of the season, but the New York Daily News reported the reason Thursday — “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.”

So can’t they get anyone else to record the song?

The article states:

“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

This is another example of judging history by the standards of today. There were a lot of things that have happened in the past that were not noteworthy at the time that are being taken out of context in hindsight. In order to truly evaluate history, you need to immerse yourself in the culture of the time you are studying. Insensitivity is not a crime–insensitivity in the past was not even considered insensitivity because there weren’t so many people running around being professional victims.

Keep the song. Let someone else sing it if you have to. Don’t end an American tradition because of political correctness.


A Hero From The Past

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted a story today about Ted Williams. I didn’t grow up in Massachusetts, and I admit that I really didn’t know much about Ted Williams. The story surprised me.

Ted Williams was called into the Army during the Korean War. At the time he had a wife and a child. He was offered the chance to avoid combat by playing on a service baseball team, but chose to go into combat instead. It had been eight years since he had flown an aircraft.

Mr. Mirengoff at Power Line relates a story about Ted Williams that was shared by John McCain during the “Straight Talk Express.” John McCain admired Ted Williams, who served as a fighter pilot in two wars.

The article reports:

During a mission in North Korea, Williams’ fighter plane was crippled by a strike that knocked out its hydraulics and electrical systems. The plane already was on fire when an explosion rocked its undercarriage as it approached the landing strip.

Williams pulled off a wheels-up “belly” landing, skidding along the tarmac with sparks flying for almost a mile before coming to a stop. The nose burst into flames, threatening the cockpit. Williams blew off the canopy, struggled out of the plane, and, after limping clear of it, hit the ground.

John McCain one asked Ted Williams about the incident–why he didn’t eject instead of attempting such a dangerous landing.

The article reports the answer:

Williams explained that, at six feet three inches tall, he believed he would have blown out both knees had he ejected himself from the cramped cockpit. And that would have meant the end of his baseball-playing career. Therefore, he decided he had to land the plane.

Sometimes we just don’t know what goes into the thought processes of a hero.

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