The Oklahoma House on Monday voted to name “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” as the state’s official gospel song….. The measure, which was already approved by the Senate, passed the House by a vote of 89-0 and now heads to Governor Mary Fallin. [update: she signed it.]
“Swing Low Sweet Chariot” was written in 1862, when Oklahoma was still Indian Territory, by a Choctaw Freedman named Wallis Wallis. It’s said the Red River made Wallis think of the Jordan River, and the song was loosely based on a Bible passage that describes the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot. —Reuters
I’ve never been to Oklahoma, although it appears that direct-flight chariot service may be available — and it’s not high on my list of must-see destinations. I know exactly one Oklahoman, and he tells people he’s from Texas. He’s gay, if that’s relevant (and even if it isn’t).
It’s government gone wild, again. There’s no end to this. States have official songs, birds, fruits, insects, trees, fish, flowers, and prophylactics. Arizona wants to make the Colt its official state gun — what, you thought we were talking about horses? How about an official state body part or sex technique? Or just sex? “Introducing the Female, Florida’s new official state gender!”
But back to Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and its redundantly christened composer, Wallis Wallis, whom Wikipedia identifies as “Wallace Willis.“ Is this the best song for the state known nationwide as OK? Why not something that more closely identifies the state with the universally recognizable, like Oklahoma Tornado, by Virgil Bozeman, a real country western thigh-slapper? Or Ron Brown’s Big Wind Comin,’ which might also commemorate flatulence, the state’s official intestinal ailment.
All this from the perspective of Florida, the Nation’s Dicktip, with our prevailing state-sanctioned official avian (the Early Bird), disease (skin cancer), language (Doubletalk), prescription drug (Oxycontin), and attitude (Apathy).
And in other, unrelated news, armadillos have been linked to human leprosy.
Have a great weekend.