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Topics Homepage> The U.S. should adopt a new national anthem

The U.S. should adopt a new national anthem

PRO (3 assertions)


New National Anthem: A song patriotically and positively sung adopted by a nation and recognized as the nation’s song.

Adopt: Note that it doesn’t say replace, rather “adopt a new one”. We should have another national anthem along with our old one- now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to get rid of the old anthem. Many other countries have multiple national anthems, including Canada, which did the same exact thing that the PRO is proposing way back in 1900. What the PRO wants is for there to be a new one on top of the old one. And our new anthem is America the Beautiful.



1. Why can’t we have both? You are in support of the Star Spangled Banner, right? Then what do you have against America the Beautiful? Why is America the Beautiful such a bad song?

1. Assertion: The current national anthem is extremely difficult to sing

Reasoning: “The Star-Spangled Banner” is notoriously hard to sing. This makes it almost impossible for amateur singers to sing, let alone professionals. By having two anthems we give people the option to sing a much easier song, which is America the Beautiful.

Evidence: A professor of music, Caldwell Titcomb at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, points out that the melody spans almost two octaves, whereas most people can only sing about one octave. The first eight lines are one enormous sentence with subordinate clauses, leaving no really good place to take a breath. Furthermore, there are too many spontaneous leaps from octave to octave, i.e. (...What so PROU-dly we hail…)

Sources: The Washington Post, Professor Titcomb

2. Assertion: “The Star-Spangled Banner” is hard to memorize

Reasoning: With Old English lyrics and one long run-on sentence, it is very difficult to memorize the lyrics to our anthem. Sometimes we even see professional singers mess up the words. So instead of having them sing the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful can be like the “sporting event” national anthem whereas the Star Spangled Banner is more of an honorary one that isn’t sung so much as read and recited for its symbolism.

Evidence: At the most recent Super Bowl, Christina Aguilera accidentally skipped a line while singing the national anthem and was criticized by the public. And in this year’s tennis US Open, Cyndi Lauper flubbed the lyrics and was also criticized. Coincidentally, the singers both messed up in the same spot.

Sources: Washington Post, Business Insider, Long Island Press

3. Assertion: America the Beautiful is worthy of being considered a national anthem alongside the Star Spangled Banner.

Reasoning: “America, the Beautiful.” Its range is an octave plus one note. But the tune is lovely, and the lyrics are eloquent and appropriate to be a national anthem. It describes America as a beautiful place, and is a soothing and peaceful song people would enjoy listening to. Who doesn’t like “amber skies” and “purple mountain majesties”? The song is about things that we take for granted every day in our lives, the natural beauty that surrounds us in this country, and the song talks both about the natural beauty and the freedom of this land.

Evidence: Washington Post, The songs themselves

CON (4 assertions)

Burden: Unless the Proposition can prove why the US needs to undergo such drastic measures and hard work to change the national anthem, the Opposition should win this debate.

Freedom isn’t FREE!


Perfect POIs:

1. Can you please tell me the reason why the Star Spangled Banner is bad. The one, main reason, please.

2. Is it inhumanly possible to sing the Star Spangled Banner?

3. How long have we had the Star Spangled Banner? And why did it just break all of a sudden but worked for the last two and a half centuries?


Rebuttal To: There is an irregular amount of war, and and violence in the star spangled banner

Assertion: Obviously, judge, you can tell that my opponent has not even read the actual Star Spangled Banner fully. Judge, let me enlighten you please. The Star Spangled banner uses the words: war- 2 times; death- 0 times; soldier- 0 times; fight- 1 time as a noun. OK, judge. There is this huge misconception that the Star Spangled banner is all about worshiping war and blah blah. What it is about, though, judge, is bravery, freedom, honor, and the preservation of a nation. It does indirectly refer to war, we concede, but it doesn’t worship the act of war or encourage it- what it does encourage is bravery, fighting for what you believe in, and protecting America, not senseless killing as my opponent’s would have you believe.

Now, judge, I’d also like to point out now that my opponents are going to try to salvage the situation by, since they just lost all their points, saying that our points about memorializes the sacrifice and freedom isn’t free is now rendered obsolete by this rebuttal. However, that’s not true. What our side’s talking about is how the Star Spangled Banner memorializes the bravery and honor of our soldiers, not the senseless killing of war or death. OK. There’s a huge difference.


1. Assertion: The anthem is fine the way it is

Reasoning: The warfare aspect in our anthem adds to the song. It displays that though we have suffered through war and despair, our flag and our hearts still stand strong through gunfire, bloodshed, and death. Nothing no matter how bad can bring us down as a nation. We are brave, united, and we are free. It doesn’t matter what the national anthem is, as long as you’re singing it in a nationalistic sense. When you’re trying to rally the population, or to energize or gather them up for battle it’s the act of doing it that matters.

Evidence: "The meaning of something is in its use not in itself," quoting Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. "That's never more true than with anthems."

“They are really the symbol for the society, almost like a trademark," says Anthony R. Pratkanis, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. “This symbol portrays what the ideas are for a society ... and it helps define who the group is.”

Sources: Gannett News Service, American Composer Forum,


2. Assertion: It would be too much work

Reasoning: Why go through the entire legal process of changing the national anthem? The anthem is currently fine the way it stands, so there is no need to change it. It would simply take too long and distract politicians from doing real, meaningful work.

Evidence: First, a congressman must sponsor the bill. Then the bill is assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by majority, it is moved to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and the same process is repeated. A simple majority passes the bill. Finally a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate again for final approval. Then in the process of enrolling, the revised bill is printed and the president has 10 days to approve or veto it. Then, the bill actually needs to be implemented all around the countries in schools.


3. Assertion: The majority of Americans believe the current anthem is fine

Reasoning: The anthem is meant to reflect the spirits of the people. The majority of people believe the current anthem is fine. Therefore, it should stay the current anthem.

Evidence: According to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 people, only 15% of American adults believe the anthem should be changed. 82% of adults say they know the words to the national anthem and 72% say the song is not too hard to sing.

4. Assertion: A song like “America the Beautiful” would not succeed as an anthem

Reasoning: The National anthem is played at every military gathering, how would America the beautiful do the job? The song itself is not very motivational and from the middle of Afghanistan, sighing about the beautiful mountains of America would not help. If anything, it would only make the troops homesick. The Star Spangled banner really fits in with what the army is doing, risking their lives and fighting for this country.