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“If My Nose Was Running
I'd Blow It All on You”
By David Podvin
“Come out of the wheat field, Nellie, you're going against the grain…”
It is gratifying to watch the current conflict between Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and the misogynistic troglodytes of country music. The trogs keep demanding that Maines know her role (female) and shut her mouth, but she keeps deeply disappointing them. They insist that she is obligated by nature to be a passive target of Toby Keith (or is it Keith Toby?), a redneck “singer” who accused women opposed to the Iraq War of being romantically linked to Saddam Hussein.
It is this lofty level of wit that Mr. Keith (Mr. Toby?) brings to his songs, such as the inspiring smash hit that glorified bombing a defenseless civilian population. Maines, however, is far from defenseless. When Keith publicly vilified her for dissenting from the Holy Bush Crusade To Colonize All Places That Sit Atop Our Oil, she responded by basically telling Toby to go fornicate with the mouth breathing inbred who stares back at him from the mirror.
“You're the ring around my bathtub, you're the hangnail of my life…”
This impudence deeply appalled country music radio programmers, who cannot understand why Maines doesn’t react to abuse from her knuckle-dragging nemesis by just lying back and enjoying it, as it were. They predict that she is committing professional suicide by repeatedly defending herself; it is hard to tell whether the good ol’ boyz in the hoods are more furious or more astounded that someone with a vagina steadfastly refuses to be their victim.
Life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue, or for a country girl with self-respect in an industry that frowns upon dissent and has a very well defined concept of the ideal woman.
“Get your biscuits in the oven, and your buns in the bed...”
So, what is important about a feud between people who sing unlistenable music?
This vignette is a microcosm of American politics, in which a liberal speaks a forbidden truth and is then hounded into an apology and a promise to never do it again - except Maines keeps forgetting that, as the liberal in this drama, she is supposed to be overcome by the vapors and just keel over. She has shown more guts in refusing to kowtow to the country music establishment than the entire Democratic Party has shown since Robert Kennedy was murdered by – ahem – Sirhan Sirhan. Her career is on the line, and yet she is willing to tell the truth anyway, despite the fact that the people who play her music on radio stations are strongly predisposed to view the truth with the same depth of affection with which the Goldman family views O.J.
“Hand me the pool cue and call yourself an ambulance…”
That is why I respect Natalie Maines much more than I respect Tom Daschle or Nancy Pelosi or Terry McAuliffe, although from a musical perspective I feel morally compelled to offer her these three sage words of unsolicited advice: Lennon and McCartney. Her awful selection of songs notwithstanding, Maines is what a patriot is supposed to be, as opposed to what a conservative is supposed to be. She is honest and brave and loves her country enough to risk her personal well being in order to defend the United States from those who would harm it.
That last part refers to you, Mister “President”.
“I may have glaucoma, but baby I can see right through you…”
And that brave part is a shot at most liberals. Conservatives can be partially excused for being rotten because they are inherently emotionally defective. Right wingers are completely indifferent to the suffering of helpless people, yet their hearts bleed profusely for the rich and the powerful. There is a proper way to describe those who are callous about the lack of medical care for children but are deeply emotionally invested in eliminating the tax on yachts. The clinical psychiatric term that applies here is “totally fucked up”.
Still, you know that we’d miss conservatives terribly if they all just went away. Right?
“I’m so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here…”
But liberals can tell right from wrong, and therefore have absolutely no excuse for passively allowing the right wing to destroy the best of America. Actually, there is one excuse, and it is called “cowardice”. Senator Russ Feingold best exemplifies the liberal compulsion to surrender unconditionally. Feingold voted to confirm fascist John Ashcroft to be Attorney General because – and Feingold actually said this – even though Ashcroft was too extreme to merit the position, the senator did not want to anger his conservative colleagues by voting his conscience.
There it is in a nutshell – forty years of liberal retreat encapsulated into one poorly written run-on sentence. Let’s abandon our principles in a futile attempt to ingratiate ourselves to Orrin Hatch (who called Feingold “gutless”, thereby proving that even Hatch is capable of understatement). That one moment spoke volumes about a political movement that has ample brainpower to win elections, and plenty of wealthy sympathizers to provide funding for political campaigns and media alternatives and anything else that is required. The Democrats have everything that they need to take power, except guts. They have let down their supporters so many times it’s a wonder anyone still cares about them.
“Billy broke my heart at Walgreens and I cried all the way to Sears…”
George W. Bush has not only stolen an election without suffering any recriminations, he has driven the economic bus off a cliff and emerged without a scratch. Bush also allowed three thousand Americans to be slaughtered in a terrorist attack and was not even condemned for his gross negligence, much less impeached. How has he deflected the consequences of being such a pathetic failure?
He hasn’t. The Democratic Party has done it for him. While it is true that Bush has Corporate America and its mainstream media to run interference on his behalf, there isn’t any need for blockers when no one is trying to tackle you. The liberals of America have defaulted in their moral responsibility to relentlessly denounce the man who is obliterating everything that they claim to cherish. He attacks. They defer. You perceive this as being a brilliant strategy only if you are on the Democratic National Committee and you care more about receiving corporate campaign contributions than you care about actually winning campaigns.
“Get off the table, Mabel, the two dollars is for the beer…”
If you are unwilling to fight for your beliefs, then you believe in nothing. Russ Feingold can speak eloquently about liberal values, but he might as well save his breath – his words have no practical meaning. When it is time to defend the virtues he espouses, he is too weak to take a principled stand.
Ditto Daschle, Pelosi, McAuliffe, and the rest of the Democratic tin men. No heart for battle – no effect on history. In Swahili, they have a word for it: loser. These losers must go.
“Get your tongue out of my mouth, because I’m kissing you goodbye…”
Which brings me back to Natalie Maines. Say what you will about her – she is not a loser. Even if the country music establishment ultimately succeeds in destroying Maines, she is a champion. She has stood up for her right to be an individual human being instead of a conformist mannequin. In doing so, she has won the abiding respect of everyone who understands what the American flag really represents, few in number though they may be. As long as I don’t have to listen to her music, I hope she stays at the top of the charts forever.
Toward that end, I would like to provide Ms. Maines with a dramatic upgrade in material - a classic tune that is a natural tribute to Toby Keith and the millions and millions of fuming, myopic Toby Keiths across America, including the one in the Oval Office. Although there is no record of George W. Bush having visited Liverpool as a youth, there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Junior made a lasting impression on John Lennon all the way back in 1965:
“He's as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see. Nowhere man, can you see me at all?”
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