Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Dixie Chicks and Patrotism

I’ve sort of stayed away from the Dixie Chicks flap over the last couple of years. One reason is that I believe in the 1st Amendment. The Chicks have the right to believe in what they believe and they have the right to express that belief. My ancestors, nine generations back, and the current 10th and 11th generations, fought in wars since the Revolution to guarantee that right. I expect future generations of my family will do the same.

I finally came across this quote and had to say something:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," (Natalie) Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

I decided that “patriotism” needed to be defined. defines it as:

Love of and devotion to one's country.

love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it [syn: nationalism]

There is nothing anywhere that says Ms. Maines has to be patriotic. But, Ms. Maines’ lack of understanding why people feel patriotic is part of the problem.

Ms. Maines and others like her apparently confuse “patriotism” with “cultism”. If you are conservative and “patriotic” you accept what the government says without question. Well, in America there are a lot of people who are protesting government actions everyday. And, they are allowed to do so. It comes under the 1st Amendment – Freedom of Speech. Everyone is allowed to express their patriotism in whatever way they choose - until they break a law. We are still a land of laws and if we didn't have laws there would be no America.

Going back to the question, why should you be patriotic? Because you care about your country. Being patriotic means believing you live in the best country in the world, that your countrymen are the most generous, most caring, and most willing to give of themselves to their country. Being patriotic does not mean blindly accepting what your leaders say, but believing that your country is the best in the world despite what your leaders have done or said. It’s love of country and what it stands for, or what you believe it could stand for.

I believe that America is the greatest country in the world. One of the reasons it is the best is because we have the right to say what we think, no matter how ill-advised, stupid, or idiotic it is. However, and this is one of the things I think some people don’t understand: there is no Constitutional guarantee or personal right to not to suffer repercussions for what we say. Too many people think that they can say whatever they want and they can't suffer repercussions for it (Hollywood celebrities come to mind). Ms. Maines and the Chicks alienated their fan base when they made their remarks. Their fans have the same right Ms. Maines has to say what they think. In the case of the fans, they chose to not attend concerts, and not purchase CD’s. Concert dates have been changed and even cancelled because they cannot fill the arenas. If as musicians they are willing to accept that their fan base has left them, because of their spoken opinions, then they must understand they have to accept the consequences.

Ms. Maines may not understand the need for patriotism, but it’s part and parcel of being a citizen - of any country. Again, I want you to understand that I am not calling Ms. Maines or anyone else unpatriotic or un-American because they do not believe as I do. If they don’t understand the need for patriotism, I don't think they can feel the same elation and pride I do when I see the Flag being flown, or hear the National Anthem, God Bless America, or America the Beautiful. I feel badly that they live such apparent negative lives that they can’t see the good in their country and in their fellow countrymen.

I feel sorry for them.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

No comments: