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‘Maryland, My Maryland’ is not our Maryland | READER COMMENTARY

Work crews remove the statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. In Maryland, some statues have come down as well but not what might be the state's most prominent tribute to the Confederacy, the state song, "Maryland, My Maryland" that refers to Abraham Lincoln as a "despot." AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Work crews remove the statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. In Maryland, some statues have come down as well but not what might be the state's most prominent tribute to the Confederacy, the state song, "Maryland, My Maryland" that refers to Abraham Lincoln as a "despot." AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Steve Helber/AP)

The state song of Maryland has got to go (”Shelve Maryland’s toxic state song now,” June 25). A call to arms against the Union and a battle hymn of the Confederacy, “Maryland, My Maryland” refers to Abraham Lincoln as a despot, vandal and tyrant (“burst the tyrant’s chain”), demands violent vengeance for the Confederacy (“avenge the patriotic gore”) and insults Union soldiers (”Northern scum”).

These lyrics clearly do not reflect the values of the Maryland we love today. And yet this song remains our state song, and thus remains one of Maryland’s most egregious monuments to the Confederacy. Yet it is more insidious than a monument — songs demand people participate in their lyrics, literally giving voice to racism that has no place here, implicating all those who sing.

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We must no longer participate. At a time when all Americans are being called to re-examine the past, a song that literally calls to fight for the Confederacy has no place in 2020.

So in response to Maryland’s call to arms, I propose a call to action: all Maryland residents must write their representatives demanding that the song be replaced. In 2018, 2019 and earlier this year, state representatives considered removing the song, but each time no action has been taken. It is far past time to take action.

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If you have protested or donated or spoken out or agreed that Black Lives Matter, I urge you to take action.

“Maryland, my Maryland” is not our Maryland.

Irene Gibson, Rockville

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