Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chick Diplomacy

The New Times reports that America has caught up with the Dixie Chicks. The article refers to the Incident. That's when Chick Natalie Maines proclaimed her disdain for George Bush in London on the eve of the third Gulf War. The right wing forced country radio stations to boycott the Chicks. When their songs got no air time, the album sold "only" six million times.

As Americans have come to agree with them, the Chicks feel validated. They dedicated their new album to the Incident. While one needs to remember that they have been working on the album for over a year, the President's low approval ratings can only help the Chicks' marketing. It'll be interesting to see if Americans embrace their leadership now that the Chicks turned out to be wiser than their president.

Speaking of which, not only do the Chicks and Americans agree about George Bush. So do Americans and the rest of the world. For the first time since 2003, Americans and their European cousins agree in their assessment of the Republican leader. While European conservatives have understood from the beginning the George Bush wasn't one of them, American conservatives are realizing belatedly that he has damaged their movement and their program.

Chick Natalie Maines wanted to send a message that Americans have more in common with Europeans than it appeared at the moment. Her judgment turned out to be on target. The confluence of public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic is an opportunity to reforge the alliance of Western democracies.

May be, Europeans will even be willing to listen to country music once again.


Blogger annegb said...

I like you guys, but I don't agree with the Dixie Chicks and I'll never buy their music.

Blogger C.L. Hanson said...

Not all European conservatives understood from the beginning...

A few years ago I was at a dinner with a bunch of Mathematicians (who are usually liberal), and I made some sort of comment (I don't remember what) to an Italian Mathematician about Berlusconi. The Italian prof said that he liked Berlusconi. I responded that it's one thing for an Italian to like Berlusconi, because at least they don't have the caliber of person we have running my home country. Then he told me that he likes George W. Bush as well!!!

I hardly knew what to say at this point since a dinner is supposed to be a light, pleasant event. But you can imagine that was pretty unexpected!!! I was thinking "ummm... I think I have to go talk to someone else now..."

Fortunately, I didn't mess up my husband's working relationship with this colleague.

Anonymous Equality said...

The new album is great. I have been playing it on continuous loop in my car for the last two days. At the time Maines made the comment, I was supporting the war and the President. However, the backlash against them was unwarranted and wrong, in my opinion. Although I did not agree with their viewpoint at the time, I strongly believe in their right to speak their mind. I went to their concert in Dallas about a month after the incident. Not only did some stations not play their music (that's their right as well) but the Chicks received death threats for exercising their constitutional (and inalienable) right to free expression. Not cool. Their bold position, taken at a time when Bush and the war were both popular here in the U.S. and very popular in the country music world, was an act of courage. And they were prophetic. What was Gordon Hinckley saying about the war at the same time? Did he risk his own popularity with the powerful elites? It seems to me Natalie Maines has more of the spirit of prophecy about her than the Lord's anointed.

Blogger annegb said...

I like Bush. But if Bill Clinton were the president and I were the Dixie Chicks, I would not say a word in public against the president, under the same circumstances.

It comes off as a slap in the face of America, not courage--it seems a rejection of the soldiers, not the war.

You can argue the sense of that and you'd be right, but it still is the perception.

Blogger Hellmut said...

That's a good point, Ann.

I am just sad that so many young men and women had to die for the wrong reasons.

I was a German soldier and remain on reserve until I am sixty five. My father was a career soldier. My brother was a soldier. My grandfathers and greatgrandfathers were soliders.

To me, it's a big deal to send young men and women into war without proper preparation. I take it personal.

Holding incompetent leaders accountable is more important than the prestige of the nation, especially when it is a matter of life and death.

Our soldiers deserve that they are only put into harms way for good reasons. They deserve good leaders. George Bush led them down when he send them into Iraq for the wrong reasons with the wrong force, the wrong plan, and insufficient equipment.

When the soliders come back, some of them return crippled to insufficient care. Some of their families are bankrupted accordingly.

That's George Bush's fault. He still refuses to fully fund the Veterans Administration. If we don't stand up then it's our fault too.

Speech is the essence of democracy. The Chicks were leading while Bush was dreaming.

If we had listened and thought more instead of getting outraged we might have figured out that it wasn't worth to kill so many people.

Blogger annegb said...

It's not about the prestige of the nation.

It's about how those guys in Vietnam felt when they knew how people in America felt about them.

They weren't stupid. They knew there was a problem with the war. But who do you think they looked at in the mirror? Do you think any of them think Jane Fonda made the distinction? Ask them.

Blogger Hellmut said...

I agree with you, Anne. It's not right to blame soldiers for our policy. They have no more influence than we do.

The way to honor soldiers is to exercise our rights and obligations as citizens vigorously. That includes dissent when our government enacts bad policy.

Notice, neither the Chicks nor liberals have said a bad word about the troops.

Blogger annegb said...

They don't have to put down the troops. What they did was demoralizing to the troops, nevertheless. Ask some of the guys.

Blogger Hellmut said...

The troops serve to protect the United States Constitution, no the other way around. It would be absurd to suggest that the president is beyond criticism at time of war.

That does not help the troops. It only undermines democracy.

The troops need the most competent president possible. If we cannot hold our politicians accountable then soldiers will die needlessly.

Blogger annegb said...

I do not consider a celebrity telling a bunch of people at their concert they're ashamed to be from Texas legitimate criticism.

The problem with a celebrity speaking out like that is that they appear to represent America. They sure as heck don't represent me.

Maybe they do represent you, you're ashamed to be from Texas, as well. But if that's true, do those celebrities who speak out on the other side represent half of us?

Where does celebrity end? And allow the rest of us a voice.

nope, the chicks can rot as far as I'm concerned.

Blogger SAM-I-am said...

We took the wrong lesson from Vietnam. As I look at all the red-white-and-blue ribbon decals on the cars saying, "Support Our Troops," it is clear that we now confuse supporting the troops with supporting the war.

The lesson of Vietnam, Abu Ghraib, & Haditha is that soldiers do very bad things during war, and if we love the young men and women who serve (including my brother and my sister) we should only send them to war when it is overwhelmingly justified. The Europeans learned this from World War II.

Criticizing the president _before_ a badly justified war is not only reasonable, but patriotic.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I think the troops have better things to do than listen to what singers have to say. I would think they are more demoralized by not having proper equipment, being lied to about how long their deployments would last, etc.


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