Keith Lockhart’s Fourth of July Con

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In this country you can do whatever you want with your 15 minutes of fame – even if it’s a yearly 15 minutes of fame.

But if you lie about what you’re doing with it, the press is supposed to call you on it.

Keith Lockhart, this is your call-out.

Lockhart, the conductor of the Boston Pops since 1995, leads the annual Fourth of July concert on the Charles River Esplanade, which the Pops have been performing since 1929. It is rightly the most famous Fourth of July celebration in our country.

The concert’s highlight each year (before the fireworks, that is) is the performance by the Boston Pops of patriotic songs, including “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue.”

The concert’s lowlight each year often are the howling performances by whatever trendy pop or pseudo-country star happens to have been made available by his or her agent.

This year Lockhart has taken trendy to a new low. He has decided to make immigration and women of “diversity” his themes.

“I’m not politicizing things,” Lockhart told a reporter from The Patriot Ledger while describing the lineup this year.


Let’s look at that lineup.

—  Rhiannon Giddens, whose latest album “confronts the ways we are culturally conditioned to avoid talking about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny”

—  Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, left-wing lesbian activists who performed at the original anti-Trump Women’s March in January 2017

—  Rachel Platten, whose “Fight Song” was the official anthem of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign

—  Actress Rita Moreno, 86, who last year called President Donald Trump “that beast”

The script calls for a singalong among the guests of “This Land Is Your Land,” a fun but socialist song written by the Communist Woody Guthrie. (Woody Guthrie was a great singer-songwriter, mind you, but he was a Communist. “This Land” was written as a reaction against “God Bless America.”)

Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus,” which adorns the base of the Statue of Liberty, will also be read. (“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, /
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”)

(Lazarus’s famous poem, by the way, reimagined what the Statue of Liberty is about. It wasn’t about celebrating immigration, but rather about celebrating universal freedom.)

Each of these people has or had principles that can be thought about, discussed, and argued over. But there won’t be any arguing on the Esplanade tonight. There will just be presenting one point of view:  anti-Donald Trump.

It’s a shame. The Fourth of July ought to be a coming together of Americans, not a driving apart.

But for those who, like Keith Lockhart, are determined to divide us even on our national day:  At least don’t lie about it.