Friday, May 26, 2006

country brouhaha

Apparently if you reside within the realm of country musicdom, you are not allowed to express an opinion that runs contrary to its ingrained rightist polemic against all things liberal or democratic. Avow a stance other than the right wing, conservative, red state (or redneck) position of the majority of country music aficianodoes (for my redneck brothers, that means fans), and you will not only be on the end of a string of vituperitive verbal broadsides, but begin a collection of very real death threats.

That is the state that the Dixie Chicks found themselves in in 2003 after one of the group, Natalie Maines, made the unforgivable sin of expressing a dislike for George W. Bush, darling of the right and the current holder of the Office of the Presidency. She told a London audience that she was "ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." For that mildly provacative statement, she and her two fellow Chicks were rewarded with a cascasde of condemnation from the easily insulted dimwits that inhabit country music. Radio stations refused to play their music, sales of their music plummeted, they were verbally attacked by all members of the right wing ranch, and at one point feared for their lives after some very specific detailed death threats were made against them. And please note, they did not express any emnity toward our troops. They simply condemned the war.

Come on, people, lighten up. Remember the right to free speech you are so fond of claiming when you spew your own opinions? That same right applies to everyone else, too, not just to those you choose to share it with. I don't agree with any thing you say for the most part, but, damn it, I will defend your right to say whatever you want. I expect to get the same consideration from you. It's a two way street, cowboy.

So if I say that I am ashamed that Dubya is from the United States, let alone the great state of Texas, am I going to find myelf ducking cowpies whistling past my head? If I express the opinion that Bush is a usurper of the Presidency (let's remember that he was appointed, not elected, in the first place), and that his current popularity ratings match his IQ, will I need to dodge the bullets from your sixguns (the sixgun being the weapon of choice since most of those wielding them can't count any higher when loading them)? If I say that the mess that warmongering neanderthal has gotten us into will take generations to clean up, will I be hoisted up a tree with a noose around my neck by vigilanties in white hoods?

I know all the preceeding ranting by me is childishly insulting and unnecessaary in a reasoned dialogue. But the point is, I am free to make those statements, issue those insults, and feel unthreatened when doing so. If you disagree with me, that's ok, beccause you have that right. Go ahead, insult me back. I am not going to threaten you with retaliation of any sort for your disagreement or insults. I may ridicule your positiion, question your intelligence, but I will still gladly stop and have a beer or two with you after the debate is over. So why is it so hard for you to offer the same consideration to three singers who don't share your opinion? It's all so childish.

And while I condemn the unnecessary war in Iraq and the sabre rattling bravado of the current administration, I have nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for the men and women who choose to wear the uniform of the armed forces, who make the huge saccrifices that keep us free to argue as we will. I not only respect the current members of our armed forces, but cherish the memory of all those who served throughout our national history. We may disagree on a lot of things, but I know we can agree on that on this Memorial Day weekend.

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