Pickin’ on the Dixie Chicks

Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, recently told a London audience, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” In response, radio stations across the nation pulled the band’s songs from the air, and outside their concerts, people drove tractors over Dixie Chicks CDs in protest of the comments. Even the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to demand an apology from the band, as well as request a free concert. Why such a vehement reaction to a simple dissenting statement by one celebrity?

The answer appears to lie in a perceived contradiction between the modern form of the music the Dixie Chicks play – country – and a perceived commonality of political viewpoints among their listeners. Mike Gallagher, a conservative talk radio host in South Carolina, recently said, “They (the Dixie Chicks) insulted their core audience. Country music fans are red-blooded, patriotic Americans who support our military and support our commander in chief.” Thus, Gallagher supports the boycott of their music.

Thank goodness the “red-blooded, patriotic Americans” have Travis Tritt to reaffirm the crumbling solidarity among the George W. Bush supporters that listen to country music. He recently said, “To be a good American – regardless of which side you’re on – you have to get behind President Bush.” Thus, for “good” Americans, dissent is not an option.

The vehement reaction among the pro-war population to antiwar celebrities highlights the growing aversion to differing viewpoints. This cumulated in the 50-35 decision of the South Carolina House. If people wish to purchase Dixie Chicks CDs only to drive over them with tractors, fine. That’s a legitimate expression of their views. But when a government body criticizes antiwar celebrities, claiming they should not be allowed to voice their political viewpoints and should apologize for any utterance of them, it strikes not only hypocrisy but anti-Americanism.