There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover's quarrel with their country, a reflection of God's lover's quarrel with all the world.- The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
You might not think of this urban blue state guy as a country music fan but I've always been one. Lyle Lovett is without question my favorite contemporary singer and on my IPod you'll find such country artists as Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rick, and even the great Dolly Parton.
This week the Dixie Chicks are on the cover of TIME magazine - and not for their musical talent. TIME labels the Nashville trio as the "Radical Chicks" because of the controversy which has followed them since the outbreak of the Iraq War when singer Natalie Maines and her band mates criticized George W. Bush for pursuing an unjustified military conflict.
Country radio stations - showing their support for First Amendment rights and the great American tradition of dissent - banned their records, the band received death threats, and some stations even had public burnings of their records.
Now the Dixie Chicks are out with a new album and a hit single (at least where you can hear it) called Not Ready To Make Nice (if you cannot hear it on the radio you can at least download it on ITunes - or even hear it for free on their website... but you should buy it to show some support).
TIME reports that the Dixie Chicks have faced financial losses since coming out against the war and their new single speaks of some of the difficulties they have faced.
But is this group of moms radical? 30% or less of the American people now support the president. When the Dixie Chicks first went public with their views the numbers were much higher. The band clearly took a risk when they first became vocal.
Sadly, their music is still banned by many radio stations and their new single is drawing some fire from those on the right. A lot of conservatives like their women quiet and the Dixie Chicks are outspoken.
It is simply not appropriate to ban musicians based on their politics from the airways. Lyle Lovett (greatest singer of all time) performed at one of the Bush inaugural events and I didn't go out and burn his records (or send him death threats).
If these singers can be labeled "radical" it speaks more about America than it does about the Dixie Chicks. Not only were they right about the Iraq War - and the president - they were patriotic in speaking up when so many were silent.