“On the altar of God, I swear eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man”. – Thomas Jefferson
“I don’t mind saying it’s a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a complete stranger. How in the world could the words that I said send somebody so over the edge that they’d write me a letter saying that I better shut and sing or my life will be over?” – from “Not Ready to Make Nice”; Dixie Chicks
WACKO in the name of Patriotism is still WACKO!
Whether it’s Donald Rumsfeld likening critics of the Iraq war to the appeasers of the Nazi movement, or Rush Limbaugh declaring that we absolutely should question the patriotism of anyone who is against the war, or Dick Cheney accusing those who oppose the war as hoping that America loses, punishing free-speech in the name of patriotism is simply WACKO. A corrosive mind-set has sprung forth in the national identity, a mind set that openly condemns and ridicules differing thoughts and unashamedly feeds on anyone who dares challenge presidential actions, especially actions related to war. The cloak under which this new bigotry shields itself is “patriotism”. Wacko in the name of patriotism – Wacko-Patriotism.
Theodore Roosevelt hated such behavior. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
George Washington said “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
Mark Twain observed that “The government is merely a servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.”
All of this historic wisdom is falling on deaf ears. Government is indeed determining what is wrong or right, who is and isn’t a patriot. Disagreement with the President has become a crime, though for the time being at least, only in the court of public opinion and rhetoric. The jury prosecuting the commission of the crime wraps itself in the red, white and blue of Wacko-Patriotism. This movement has taken to the streets, the media, the PACs and even the halls of Congress. It has become the accusation d’jour. You can hijack any conversation, deflect any criticism, excuse any behavior and attack any opponent simply by injecting patriotism, or a lack of it, into the mix.
No one is immune to the voracious appetite of the beast, and thus it was that, undeterred by the sage warnings of our founding fathers, the Wacko-Pat movement unleashed its hysterical anti-patriotic obsession on the Dixie Chicks. And for what? Because lead singer Natalie Maines had the audacity to criticize President Bush for invading Iraq. Huh?
Never mind that 70% of the American people agree with Maines’ criticism. Never mind that an army of conservative Bush supporters have leveled much harsher criticism at Bush than the Chicks ever did. Never mind that the ENTIRE COUNTRY spoke loud and clear in November that they are sick and tired of the nasty rhetoric and misguided foreign policy. The Chicks are still paying the price for their outspokenness.
There is so much wrong with this picture that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, that red white and blue piece of cloth you Wacko-Pats so fondly wave is called An American Flag. It represents the highest standard of freedom and democracy in the entire freaking world. It represents “The land of the free and the home of the brave”. Based on your logic, every revolutionary that stood up to King George in 1776, was a traitor who should just shut up. I guess it’s a darn good thing that the Revolution didn’t start in the country music bread basket of America. Someone might have burned the Declaration of Independence in protest!
Next, as you feverishly sharpen your fangs and your rhetoric on the Dixie Chicks, you should pay attention to this very limited Who’s Who of Bush critics, all of them Conservative, and all of them more critical of the President than the Chicks ever were:
Newt Gingrich – “The US went off a cliff in Iraq”
Kenneth Adelman, former Rumsfeld assistant, called Bush’s Iraq strategy “mind-bending incompetence” and “shameful”; described Bush’s national security team as “…they were deadly, dysfunctional.”
Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board and a staunch Bush advocate before the Iraq war – “the dysfunction within the Bush administration has turned U.S. policy in Iraq a disaster… you have to hold the President responsible.”
Pat Buchanan – “Iraq was an unnecessary war that may become one of the great blunders in U.S. history… He (Bush) should never have gone in!”
Shameful, dysfunctional, off-the-cliff, deadly, he never should have gone in to Iraq, greatest blunder in U.S. history. Yep, sure sounds like criticism of the President to me. Maybe the Wacko-Pats should write letters to Barnes … Noble threatening to never buy another thing if they don’t rid their shelves of the anti-American propaganda of these traitors? Maybe libraries and coffee houses could set up trash cans outside so the Wacko-Pats can show their unified disgust as they discard this un-American trash. Yeah! That will teach them. Any of you courageous middle-American country music fans want to send a death threat? That will definitely get them to shut up and … whatever, huh?
Now, what was the horrible disrespectful, insulting the troops, hate-America, unpatriotic slander that the Chicks said? Oh yeah. “We’re embarrassed that the President is from Texas.” That was it. Cutting satire, isn’t it? Yeah, easy to see why you’re all so outraged.
The hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. While the Wacko-Pats earnestly call the Dixie Chicks sluts for speaking their minds, they tolerate the vulgar behaviors of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan – a trio of chicks that give all chicks a bad name – flashing their panty-less genitals and breasts in public, getting publicly drunk and acting like their value as human beings is limited to their bodies and their level of indecent behavior. Meanwhile, I don’t see any of you self-righteous, family values, macho patriot flag-wavers objecting to their slutty behavior. Is that all it takes to get your vote? Flash a tit or your crotch, show you can shotgun a Budweiser while smoking a cigarette, release a sex video, and BAM! You’re cool. Those bastions of American values seem to have no problem with certain slut-like antics. But, be a good wife and mother, take care of your family and dare to speak out about something you believe in, and they’ll fry your ass in the media, ridicule your lifestyle, try to destroy your livelihood and threaten to kill you. Ooooh. Makes one so proud, doesn’t it?
Come on cowboys, who would you rather have raising your kids? And all you country moms, which role model do you want your daughters following? What kind of woman do you want junior bringing home to Thanksgiving dinner?
Even now, three years after the initial frenzy, the mugging continues. In October 2006, NBC publicly refused to air the TV advertisements for The Dixie Chicks’ indy film “Shut Up And Sing”, stating that they were following a “policy of not broadcasting ads that deal with issues of public controversy… [and] cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush”. Hmm, could NBC be kissing some White House ass to compensate for their decision to refer to Iraq as a Civil War, contrary to the wishes of the President? Hey, can’t have those Wacko-Pats boycotting “ER”, can we? CBS, so far, has been the only major television network which has agreed to air the ads for the film.
Check out this heavily edited excerpt from an Ann Coulter column appearing on pugbus.net on October 30, 2006:
“NBC was right in refusing to air an ad for “Shut Up … Sing or We’ll Kill You, B****-a** Whore”, the fluffumentary “movie” about Blue-State-America’s favorite singing treasonistas, the Dixie Chicks. I have seen this piece of s***, people, and let me tell you, it was enough to make any god-fearing, barbeque-loving, towel-head-pussy-hating, truck-driving, ball-scratching man or woman want to commit road rage on those b****-ass whores, the Dixie Chicks.” Oh my, Ann. You’re so … eloquent. And I thought Annie was just a harmless, vitriolic, conservative humorist. Whew! Can you spell misogynist?
The demonizing of the Chicks isn’t the first time in history that a self-righteous minority sought to silence those who disagreed with its agenda. 2500 years ago, the corrupt Greek senate set out to silence Socrates. Given the opportunity to “shut up and… whatever”, Socrates refused to make nice with his critics and was forced to drink poison. Well, that’s one way.
Christopher Columbus was almost arrested by the powerful Spanish Inquisition because he suggested that (gasp!) the earth wasn’t flat in direct opposition to the established position of the Catholic Church. “Just Shut Up and draw your stupid maps, Chris!”
Alice Paul valiantly protested for Women’s Suffrage in 1920, which angered the male chauvinistic society of the times. During an attempted hunger strike while she was imprisoned in a mental hospital (for refusing to shut up), her “patriotic” captors forced metal tubes into her mouth while she was strapped helpless in an electro-shock chair which resulted in having to swallow her own vomit and endure a fractured jaw. I guess all you patriotic women (especially Coulter) would gladly give up your right to vote and would be much happier today if Alice had just followed the sincere pleas of her husband as he signed the legal papers which had her committed to the mental institution, “Why can’t you just stop this nonsense and be a good mother to our children?” (In other words, “Shut Up and … whatever”)
More recently, Joe Darby refused to shut up. He was with the MP unit guarding the prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and accidentally came across the much publicized pictures showing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Responding to his moral sense of right and wrong, Darby blew the whistle on what became an international scandal. He was labeled as “a traitor to his country” and “a coward who knows nothing about loyalty”. When his life was threatened and he had to move his family from his home town, critics continued the public onslaught. “Darby should be scared. What he did was wrong. He should have thought of the ramifications before he decided to open his big trap!!”, “He should have just turned a blind eye”. Oh yeah, Wacko-Pats do not like it when someone speaks out against authority. (Does it all make you proud, Annie? These are your god-fearing, barbeque-loving, ball-scratching men and women at work here.)
I can almost understand some men being angered or intimidated by The Dixie Chicks, especially if your view of women is that they should, well “shut up and… cook your dinner/take care of the kids/clean up the house/etc.”. These aren’t that kind of women which just might seem disrespectful to some macho dudes. But, no matter how testosterone-driven you are, if you admire such “guy ” traits as integrity, guts and persevering in the face of adversity, you ought to admire the Chicks. When faced with the choice between protecting their careers and livelihood , or standing up for what they believed in, they chose honor. How many of you macho patriotic guys out there could pass the test they’ve passed? When I was growing up we were taught to respect and defend that kind courage, not threaten to stomp it out. Of course, I never had the privilege of being a country music fan. Maybe that’s why I just don’t understand.
And I REALLY don’t understand what you women are so pissed about. These are decent, self-respecting ladies here. They’ve done more to demonstrate real dignity and equality than any politician in DC has in the last decade. Why aren’t you outraged at the Spears/Hilton/Lohan slut parade instead, which celebrates the lowest, most exploitable female traits? Maybe you’re pissed off because the Chicks have raised the bar on what it is to be a self-expressed woman and mother. Maybe they represent a level of freedom and independence that you wish you had but don’t because you happen to be living with one of those traditional guys that think you should “shut up and … whatever”. Sucks being you.
The most frightening thing about the Wacko-Pat mentality is that it seems to spring from the most tyrannical thinking of the 20th Century. Herman Goering, Hitler’s 2nd in command, at the Nuremberg trials said:
“Of course, the people don’t want war. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy … All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Whatdya think, Annie? Is this your kind of guy or what?
In closing, I have two things to say to The Dixie Chicks. First, I apologize for sitting on my ass and not writing this article sooner. I was lazy and you three, who have put your collective asses on the line, deserve better from your supporters. I won’t shut up now, though. You can count on that.
Second, you will get back to that place, Martie. And you’ll get there because you ladies are indeed warriors in the most traditional and honored sense of the word. Your iron will, indomitable spirit and love of truth cannot be squashed forever. It’s in your blood to write poetry and put it to music and that gift is more durable than Wacko-Pat rhetoric or corporate greed. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure all that’s happened, but thank you for doing it.
And oh yeah. F U T K!! (See the documentary if you don’t know what I mean!)
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