By Mel Carriere
One would think that Americans would have all of our bullish, misguided, misdirected patriotism that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq out of our systems by now. After all, I think it is pretty clear that toppling Saddam Hussein, the rancid glue keeping the fragile Iraq house of cards together, was perhaps not a wise course of action after all. Yes he was a rotten, corrupt evil dictator, but he was maintaining stability in a country invented as if on a whim after WWI by the victorious European powers, drawn with arbitrary borders that included various competing ethnicities that all hated each other but were forced together into a combustible mixture that I guess looked good on paper at the time but doesn't seem to work without a strongman at the center. The post Iraq war reality has demonstrated that the country will never function short of American troops staying in Iraq forever, or American planes dropping bombs over Iraq forever, yet the Dixie Chicks in 2015 are still vilified for denouncing the invasion of Iraq 12 years after they made this statement on stage in England.
I read an article yesterday, March 14, which defended Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines for the remarks she made in that concert and for an almost equally incendiary twitter post she tweeted out March 11th. I responded to that article with the following comment that I did not realize would migrate to my own Facebook page:
I'm going to put this article's link at the bottom of this post but I'm going to make you slog through my rant first.
Although the response to Natalie Maine's outburst on stage in England on March 10, 2003 was woeful and in my opinion, un-American, in the "angry villagers with pitchforks" mentality that gripped this country at that time I can somewhat understand why there was an almost universal outcry against the Chicks and why their CDs were burned and their songs boycotted on the radio. I didn't like or approve of it, but I understand that in the heat of battle people's emotions get away from them and they do stupid things. That was only 2 years after the World Trade Center, after all, and even though it turns out Saddam had nothing to do with that or any other acts of terrorism I guess we still weren't sure about that in 2003 and the angry villagers were willing to round up just about any bad guy wearing a turban to set an example about what happens when you f*** with us.
I can understand the reaction in 2003. What I have problems with is why there is still a reaction in 2015, but as I found out from my comment yesterday, there is.
I am not going to put the names or the profile pictures of the people who responded to my post here, because they have a right to their views and I don't want to arouse any similar vilification against them from angry villagers living in the village to the left.
Anyhow, the first angry villager, still angry after 12 years said: "Very simple, don't insult your customers."
Hmmm...I am thinking Natalie Maine's customers that night would have been the 2,000 or so paying fans at the Shepherd's Bush Empire theater in London, England, not many of whom would have been insulted by her remarks. What prompted Natalie to make her statement, in fact, was the anti-war sentiment that was prevalent in England. Her exact words - "Just so you know we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas" were, in fact, applauded by those customers.
Another comment I received from my remark is more indicative of the broader anti-Chicks feeling that followed the concert in Shepherd's. It said: "Or MINDLESS! If she spoke like that about OBAMA...She would be called a racist.!!! Love that her career died soon after.!!!"
A Facebook friend pointed out that Ted Nugent, another controversial entertainer, does speak poorly about Obama, and while some people probably call him a racist for it, the people denouncing Natalie Maine's criticism of another President probably don't care. That commenter also called Natalie Maines mindless, because she spoke her mind. I'm not sure what that means, but I suppose it signifies that you can't be categorized as intelligent unless you share the opinion of the hive.
What happened to Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks in 2003 was a good old fashioned Texas-sized lynching; carried out by an angry mob psychologically manipulated into confusing war mongering for patriotism.
The right-wing commentators who are frequently the source of inspiration behind the hive-minded mobs will have us believe that Natalie Maines somehow vicariously insulted our American troops by insulting the President. I respond that it was the President and the war profiteers pulling his strings that really insulted the troops by wasting their lives and good health, both physical and mental, by sending them into a situation that was not worthy of their bravery and excellence.
In fairness, the far left has its own hive that it stirs up to try and permanently silence the Limbaughs, Becks, Hannitys and Savages that inspire the right wing hive. This is as equally wrong and equally ignorant as silencing Maines was.
We live in America and we have a Constitution that we hold up as a shining example for its guarantees of free speech, but as the Dixie Chicks scenario points out, not too many really appreciate or believe in free speech. We pretend to, we put our hands to our hearts before baseball games and shed a joyful tear thinking about this vague, almost religious concept of freedom, but what we really love is a damned good witch hunt.
But I'm not ashamed to say that I still love Natalie Maines and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, these being Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robinson, and I admire them for their music and for doing a very courageous thing. If they had been from Rhode Island, New York, or Michigan nobody would have given their remarks a second thought, but coming as they did from the heart of the Bible belt in Texas they knew quite well beforehand what a Hornet's nest they were going to stir up, and I'm damn glad they did it. Somebody had to be the voice of reason and sanity, even if it didn't do any immediate good.
So now I'll let you read about how things are going for Natalie Maines 12 years after, and make sure you watch that kick ass music video made for a song that describes the kind of hell one has to go through for speaking one's mind in America.
Image is from: "DixieChicksMSG062003" by Original uploader was Wasted Time R at en.wikipedia - Transfered from en.wikipedia Transfer was stated to be made by User:twice25.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DixieChicksMSG062003.jpg#/media/File:DixieChicksMSG062003.jpg
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