Friday, May 26, 2006
With All That's Wrong in America Today, Red-Staters Turn Their Wrath to The Dixie Chicks Instead of Bush and the GOP
What is wrong red-state America today? Their sons and daughters are dying in Iraq. They lost homes after Katrina struck. They're paying $25 a week more at the gas pump. Their wages are stagnant, and their unemployment rates are well above average. Their healthcare's mediocre, and academically their schools rank the lowest in the country. No matter how you score it, they should be mad as hell at Bush and the Repuglican leadership. But it's The Dixie Chicks instead who make them angry. All because lead singer Natalie Maines had the balls to say what they should be saying if only they weren't so brainwashed by The Rove Gang.
Just two weeks before the Iraq war in 2003, Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." This fiery comment caused quite a stir with the country music-lovin' folks back home, and Maines was compelled to issue a half-hearted apology to Bush, which she now regrets. "I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President. But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever....If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am, I don't know what to do about that. I can't change who I am."
Since then, Maines and her bandmates have been paying dearly for her honesty. Record sales have plummeted, and country radio stations refuse to play their music. Their new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," off their new album, "Taking the Long Way," is getting little airplay. As one radio host said, it's "a four-minute fuck you to the format and our listeners. I like the Chicks, and I won't play it." Furthermore, they're virtually invisible on country music cable channel CMT. And at the Academy of Country Music awards Tuesday night they were dissed by country queen Reba McEntire, the show's host, who fired off a sharp dig to rousing applause: "If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker." McEntire should stick to singing and leave politics to those who read a newspaper (and leave the joking to funny people).
Three years, no WMD and 2500 dead U.S. soldiers later you'd think the Chicks would have earned some respect for being so prescient. Fat chance. The right-wing fanatics prefer to slap inane yellow "Support the Troops" bumper stickers on their cars rather than face the reality that, under the false pretense of national security, their beloved president manufactured intelligence and sent these troops to die in an unnecessary war. It's Bush they should be livid with, not Maines. She was merely exercising her 1st Amendment right of free speech; the same rights our soldiers in Iraq are giving their lives to supposedly protect. What a shameful irony.
It's time Repuglicans start to realize what's truly important, and that not everything has to be partisan. We're all Americans, and if the war's a disaster for one of us, it's a disaster for us all. Kudos to Maines for her courage three years ago, and for her resolve today.