For many years now, I have been an educator. I am also an amateur musician. I have frequently over the years augmented my teaching presentations by playing guitar and singing, often with audience participation.
There is a video circulating on social media which shows me finishing a presentation in Alabama by asking the audience to “Stand for the ‘National Anthem,’” following which I led the group in the well-known Southern song “Dixie.”
If you’ve seen this video, you know that my audience responded with a cheer and enthusiastically sang the first verse and refrain.
During my campaign for Attorney General, I have been asked questions about this video. Here is a generalized response encompassing the questions I have been asked.
Yes, that is me.
Yes, I sang the song to elicit a cheer from the crowd. I was playing to the local audience. I remember doing something similar in West Virginia years ago. Sensing the audience’s loyalty to their State, I asked them to stand for the ‘national anthem’ and then played the John Denver song “Country Roads” which begins “Almost heaven…West Virginia…”
Yes, they cheered too.
No, I don’t actually think that “Dixie” is the national anthem of the United States. Neither is “Country Roads.” I am well aware that “The Star Spangled Banner,” composed by Francis Scott Key of Frederick, Maryland, is the national anthem of these United States. No, I am not lobbying for any change.
No, my slightly off-key singing had nothing to do with race or racism. I don’t believe there is anything racist about the lyrics or the melody of the song “Dixie.” The song was composed by Daniel Decatur Emmett and was reported to be a favorite of Abraham Lincoln (born in Kentucky). It is reported that he had it played at many of his political rallies and at the announcement of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.
No, I am not a racist. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, I believe that men should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
No, I am not advocating secession. For many years my chief goal has been the restoration of the American Constitutional republic and the defense of liberty.
This is Michael Anthony Peroutka, Republican candidate for Attorney General of Maryland asking for your support right now and your vote in November.