Aug 7, 2006
March 10, 2003 Natalie Maines of the popular country group Dixie Chicks,
announced at a concert in London, England, “Just so you know, we’re
ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas”. News traveled
fast from London and within minutes, every country music station across
the country commented on Ms. Maines words. This was a time of emotional
turmoil in our country. It still is.
Ms. Maines and her musical counterparts want to make a statement, draw
some kind of reaction? It would appear so. No one announces a political
or religious belief in that type of environment without intending to make
a statement. And that she did. Radio stations banned music by the band
and listeners called for boycotts across the US. People called radio
stations in shock and disbelief.
Journalist Jake Easton of Radok News wrote a column describing the
uproar. He quoted various radio stations who commented on the publics
outcry for a boycott and their disbelief that the group would attack the
President. Texas residents were especially angry that the band would
attack one of Texas’s own.
Dixie Chicks were in London riding the waves of their number one album,
“HOME”. Their concert was attended by thousands of music fans; those who
enjoyed the music and wanted to share in the bands success. They did not
pay to attend a political event.
Bill of Rights states we have the right to speak freely. And we do.
America is full of individuals rallying and picketing and creating
affiliations to express their opinions. This is what our country is
about. We fought for that right and we won. And we continue to fight
for that right in various forms; religious statues on public property,
what have you. What was not considered when the Bill of Rights was
created was that people would use their careers (outside of politics) to
express their opinion. It is not fair for Natalie Maines or even Toby
Keith to express their personal political opinions at a musical concert
people are paying to experience. The fans did not come for a political
commentary. They came to hear a band play their music. Sure, make a song
about politics if they feel their opinion is important to be heard. Just
don’t take our time and money and toss your beliefs onto us and expect
everything to be okay.
Easton reported of Ms. Maines apology printed on the Dixie Chicks
website. Her comments were posted on 3/14/2003 - (Maines) "As a
concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my
remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be
treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing
a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war.
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."
Great. She apologized. Whether her comments in that concert were hers
personally or the belief of the entire band isn’t the issue. The issue
lies with Ms. Maines primarily because she was the one who mouthed the
words. That should have been the end. Right?
Obvious not. Though the conflict did die down and stations started to
play their music, the controversy was still discussed and still in the
front of the minds of some Americans. Apparently it was made clear to the
band their comments were not wanted or appreciated and they should just
“Shut up and sing”. And that they did.
Today “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” the bands response to the turmoil, is
close to breaking a record for the number one spot on the radio charts.
Number one for almost ten weeks now. If you haven’t heard the song, you
either don’t listen to the radio or zone out when it’s on because it’s
played on top 40 stations and country stations alike. This baffles me
song has a good rhythm. It has a good beat and to her credit, Natalie
Maines does have an excellent voice. However, the lyrics to the song are
again, a blatant shot of disrespect but not to the President, to those who
disagreed with Ms. Maines and the bands comments in London.
Tell me, why is it okay for her to state her opinion to a paying audience
but they cannot state theirs to them without the band getting their undies
all in a bunch? After the release of the album, Ms. Maines was quoted as
saying she does not want to be a country singer. She wants to be a top 40
singer and never wanted to be a country singer. Another slam on her fan
base. Sure, their music is getting air time on both sides of the air
waves but that’s primarily because it’s controversial. Let’s see how far
this band goes on either side after the song’s been played 1,000,000 times
and everyone’s tired of it. Will they make it in the top 40 arena? Will
the country devotees still hold out their hands with affection? It’s yet
to be seen.
have to believe the response to this song is musical rubbernecking. They
hear the lyrics and are baffled and a little amazed so they can’t stop
listening…each time it’s played. I know I did that until I realized that
not only do they continue to publicly disrespect our President but also
those who disagree with their beliefs. It’s kind of a slap in the face
and whether I agree with President Bush or Natalie Maines, I do not take
kindly to being treated that way.
“Forgive, sounds good. Forget, I’m not
sure I could. They say time heals everything. But I’m still waiting.”
Waiting? Waiting for what? For those who disagreed to apologize for
responding to her statement? Fair is fair and if she can speak her mind
and the mind of her band mates, then turn around is certainly fair play.
Get over it Ms. Maines. You started it and now you’re adding fuel to the
fire. Yes, it’s a popular song but time will prove whether the Dixie
Chicks have the ability to continue to draw the popularity with their next
It continues to
baffle me that those who feel their celebrity is an open forum for
expressing their political beliefs feel put upon when their opinions are
not received well from their audience and the fans respond in turn. My
mother once told me, “You made your bed, now lie in it”. Perhaps that’s
something this band should consider when writing their next album.