We note with pleasure and no small pang of hometown pride that the voters of the 33rd District of Virginia have elected Mark R. Herring (D), a slow-growth advocate for Loudoun County, over the vile and avaricious Mick Staton (R), whose own mother still bears Hummer tire-marks from a storied occasion when she stood between her osculatory offspring and a land-raping developer's proffered bum. One hopes that one sees Portents, Harbingers and Omens in the voters' mood. Could it be that Virginia's voters have fallen out of love with the notion that their right to a bulldozer-free ambiance and a commute of less than three hours' duration ends at precisely that point at which William "Til" Hazel's pustulent checkbook begins?
We can hope.
The very same issue of the Metro Section of the WashPost that carried this gladsome tiding also noted that Virginia has inched a few steps closer to the adoption of the 19th century sea chantey "Shenandoah" as the "interim" state song. Never mind that the song has nothing whatever to do with the Shenandoah River that bathes the ridges a short canoe-ride from where I type this; references to the "wide Missouri" in the lyric are dismissed as so much diversionary piffle. "Shenandoah" it shall be. For now. Until we pick a real state song. Not the one written by sausage
Trouble is, I don't get what all the fuss is about; why replace the existing Virginia State Song? Some years ago, some candy-assed do-gooder suggested that a tune with the lyric
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow,
There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go,
There's where I labored so hard for old massa
has some sort of racist implications, but I'm blowed if I can find 'em. Must be a Black Thing, I wouldn't understand.
At any rate, every few years we make rumbling noises about replacing the old bombastic Natural Anthem with something less martial. "This Land Is Your Land" and "America the Beautiful" are frequently bruited about as suitable replacements for Francis Scott Key's convoluted yet bloodthirsty gabfest. I'm all for simplification, but why not simplify all the way? Instead of a lot of contentious hoo-ha about Endless Skyways or Purple Mountains' Majesty, why not eliminate lyrics altogether? Generations of grateful schoolchildren would thank us for freeing them from yet another empty set of words to recite.
And I don't know about you, but I simply adore the idea of a ballpark full of patriotic Americans standing as one body, doffing caps and covering hearts, as the loudspeaker intones, "Ladies and Gentlemen... Please rise for our Natural Anthem..." And what comes out of the public address as we all stand to attention? Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser." Or maybe Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys' "Osage Stomp." "Take the A Train." "Watermelon in Easter Hay." Oooh! Coltrane's "My Favorite Things"!
I'd have a lot of respect for a country that did that.