When Jennifer Lopez sang Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration in January of this year, it marked the latest use of Woody Guthrie's much-contested song. The history of "This Land Is Your Land," from the many versions of the song to the even more varied responses to it, raise important questions about what a national anthem is—and what it might do in the discordant politics and culture of the United States.
The parallels between the civil rights movement of the early 1960s and the 2020 uprising can situate Gov. DeSantis’s proposal in a broader context. Many of the legislative efforts to curtail Black Lives Matter demonstrations parallel efforts made to criminalize nonviolent actions led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.