Last night at the Hampton Hoedown, an old time country and gospel jam session, I was anxiously awaiting the final number. I thought Amber would play Last Date, a classic from Floyd Cramer. But, alas the nationalist fever prevailed and we sang God Bless America instead. This probably indicates the best reason to ask God’s blessing on America. At a venue where each musician freely contributes and others join in to make a composite that generally works well (as opposed to a planned arrangement) , I couldn’t think of a better illustration of what makes our country great. Amber’s version of this song is incrementally more moving and heartfelt than Floyd’s and to substitute a nationalistic chant in its place was a big disappointment. God Bless America by itself is not a bad song at all. But this time a connection to the 9/11 attacks was made. Make no mistake, the attack was allowed by a failure of our defense department and countless lives and trillions of dollars have been wasted as a reaction to them. Those attacks should have inspired an investigation into our foreign policy, not a mindless lashing out. Here is Floyd’s version for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvfG9uFswis. By all means may God bless America for its enabling opportunity for Amber and the other musicians to come together and create beautiful music. Maybe I’m missing something but I doubt God would be blessing us as a nation that assassinates people who haven’t been proven to deserve it (something in the Ten Commandments mentions this). Let’s hope God’s blessing returns some sanity to our nation and we give up the nationalistic fervor so similar to that which inspired the Germans to disregard those Commandments under Hitler. Instead we should be celebrating individual achievement. That is what has made our country great and differentiates it from all the other countries in the world.