Dixie Chicks opposed to war with Iraq

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 16 09:13:17 MST 2003

When social and political stuggles heat up
and involved hundreds of thousand and
millions of people, issues are posed and
thinking develops in unexpected places.
Now it's country music's turn when one
singer of a very popular group, with the
most un-feminist name "Dixie Chicks"
recently made an anti-war statement but
soon felt compelled to draw back from her
stand after rightists attacked her for it.

Country western music has long been the
home to rightist, ultra-patriotic sentiments
as expressed in innumerable reactionary
ways. Think "Oakie from Muskogee"...

In the real world around us today, where a
monstrous war is under way and we're now
awaiting the horrific prospect of an escalation
to blitzkrieg and invasion by Washington and
its handful of allies. In this context, when an
innocent country singer, mother and leader
of a group with a number one record makes
an anti-war statement, it touches a chord
and can spark controversy.

This is good.

Lots of minds are being opened by world
developments. Indeed, as we used to say
in the sixties, "The whole world is watching"
and that's a very good thing. Thanks to the
internet, the discussion process and thus
the consciousness-raising process can
take an accellerated form. (There was an
excellent explanation of that written by
Dierdre Griswold which you might want
to look at to spell this out in detail, but it
isn't as yet posted to their website.)

In the case of anti-war actors in Hollywood,
they under pressure for their views and
statements. But there's always also just
a whiff of anti-urbanism, anti-intellectualism
and, through these, of anti-Semitism hidden
not too terribly far beneath the surface of
such anti-Hollywood statements as we're
hearing now against Martin Sheen, etc.

But when it reaches the country western
world, we should be able to see that the
struggle has reached an entirely different

No matter if Natalie Maines felt compelled to
withdraw her (mild and sensible) statement.
In a way, that's a sign of the pressure which
can be put on some artists. Some bend and
some don't. It's like that sometimes.

What little I know about country-western
music is that it mostly is filled with sad
melodies about lost love and cheating
women and men. (This may well be a
stereotype, but it's my impression.)

Once in a very rare while, an artist comes
along and expresses progressive and anti-
war sentiments through country music, as
for example John Prine, whose wonderful
song "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into
Heaven Anymore" has this great chorus:

        But your flag decal won't get you
        Into Heaven any more.
        They're already overcrowded
        From your dirty little war.
        Now Jesus don't like killin'
        No matter what the reason's for,
        And your flag decal won't get you
        Into Heaven any more.

The controversy over the Dixie Chicks is or
should be of more than passing interest to us.
This has to do with a real-life, living, raging
controversy where thousand, perhaps hundreds
of thousands of lives are at stake.

Many of those thousands may very well
be either patriotically misguided, or sincere
and well-meaning, or just young people who
"volunteered" for the military in hopes of a
scholarship. And some are just rightwing
reactionary-minded individuals who believe
in what their Commander-in-Chief is saying.

No matter. All of these people have mothers,
wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and some even
have (closeted) same-sex lovers who are now
scared shitless that their scholarship prospects
may now come home in a body bag. THIS is
what Natalie Maines' caring statement, which
was NOT disrespectful to the president, was
actually about, and why it has generated a
firestorm of controversy: it's good controversy.

Some of this controversy might well have been
deliberately orchestrated by right-wing elements
who are always attuned to these situations and
don't need to check in with an organization like
leftists often do to take a bold political initiative.

Naturally Bush and his rightist gang would love
to generate a rightist, super-patriotic wave of
sentiment. We've seen nothing yet compared
to what will happen assuming the war is soon
escalated to the level it seems it will.

What the rulers and their media consider to be
a big problem, the "Vietnam syndrome", is in
fact, nothing less than mental health. It shows
that people continue to distrust the government
and that couldn't be more health. That kind of
awareness, still present in the public mind, has
contributed to the mass anti-war mobilizations
we've seen and by which we've been inspired.

Today I've done a bit of quick research about
the Dixie Chicks, and have found some of the
many comments which have gone out about
them. Notice that while it's mostly rightist stuff,
some other voices are being heard among the
din of reactionary tub-thumping. This is due to
the fact that hundreds of thousands of young
people's lives (US young peoples, in this case)
being on the line at this point.

Perhaps this will evoke additional discussion
on what's being opened up in public awareness
at this terrifiying yet inspring time?

Walter Lippmann

Speaking before an English concert audience earlier this
week, Maines told the crowd, "Just so you know, we're
ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."

The Texan trio are on a European tour promoting their
Grammy-winning album Home--the number one country
album in the U.S. The group also has the number one
country single "Travelin' Soldier," about a soldier in

The remark elicited a barrage of friendly fire from irate
listeners who demanded a boycott of the Chicks music. Radio
stations across the country responded: two Dallas stations
took Home off their playlists while one station in Kansas
City, Missouri, held a Dixie "chicken toss" party, where
protesters trashed the group's CDs.

Speaking from Europe on Friday, Maines said they were
"witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of
the perceived rush to war" during the tour.

"While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just
want to see every possible alternative exhausted before
children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my
country. I am a proud American," added the performer.

The Chicks aren't the only high-profile activists criticized
as unpatriotic for their peacekeeping opinions. Martin
Sheen, who says NBC big-wigs are very uncomfortable
with his vocal antiwar stance, may have lost money
because of his views.

KSCS also dropped the Dixie Chicks from
the play rotation. The KSCS Web site shows
a photos of the three-member group, with
black tape over Maines' mouth.

The headline reads: ''Have The Dixie
Chicks Gone Too Far?''

One major market programmer removed the
Chicks from his station's playlist but changed
his mind after considering why Americans have
fought previous wars. In a letter to listeners
posted on the KFKF/Kansas City Web site,
program director Dale Carter wrote,

"Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines
are over there fighting for our rights -- and
one of those is our Constitutional right to
express an unpopular opinion. The longer
this has gone on, the more I had visions of
censorship and McCarthyism. Two wrongs
don't make a right. I agree with the
80 percent of you who abhor what Natalie
said in London. On the other hand,
I believe in the Constitution."

Carter concluded, "In light of what our men
and women are about to do, this whole
controversy is very small. Let me close with
the most important sentiments any of us can
express: God bless our troops, pray for the
people of Iraq and may God continue to
bless the United States of America."

CMT Radio's Miranda Williams contributed to this article.

In response to the criticism the chicks
have released a statement on their website.

It reads, "While we support our troops, there
is nothing more frightening than the notion of
going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all
the innocent lives that will be lost."

Also on the website is this quote attributed
to Maines, "The President is ignoring the
opinion of many in the United States and
alienating the rest of the world."

At this time all of Lubbock's major radio
stations have boycotted the Chicks music
throughout the weekend.

LYRICSFREAK website asks:
AMERICANS: Are you opposed to the looming war against Iraq?
Cities for Peace lists Over 100 US Cities that have passed
resolutions opposing a preemptive and unilateral strike.

E-Online looks at Hollywood Blacklist:

Travlin' Soldier

Two days past eighteen
He was waitin' for the bus in his Army greens
Sat down in a booth at the cafe there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair

He's a little shy so she give him a smile
And he said 'Would you mind sittin' down for a while
And talkin' to me, I'm feelin' a little low'
She said 'I'm off in an hour,
    and I know where we can go'

So they went down, and they sat on a pier
He said 'I bet you got a boy friend, but I don't care
I got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you?'


I cried Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says
    my soldier's comin' home

So the letters came from an Army camp
In California, then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart
It might be love and all of the
    things he was so scared of

'Except when it's gettin' kinda rough over here
I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry, but I won't be able to write for a while'

(Repeat Chorus)

One Friday night at a football game
The Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang
A man said 'Folks, would you bow your heads
For a list 'a local Vietnam dead'

Cryin' all alone under the stands
Was the piccolo player in the marchin' band
And one name read that nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

(Repeat Chorus)

From: "Chris Brady" <cdbrady at attglobal.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2003 1:26 AM
Subject: Re: Dixie Chicks opposed to war with Iraq

I was discussing this with the woman dozing on the couch,
and she remarked: "The Chick must like her check."

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

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