The illusions of the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines:
Freedom of Speech in Texas

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, a native of Lubbock, Texas, got herself into trouble on 10th March when she told a London audience:

"Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Guardian, 12.3.03).

That much for idealism. Natalie had yet to learn her lesson. A campaign started to drop all Dixie Chicks songs from Radio stations in Texas and nationwide. So she pedalled back, but not completely:

From the Dixie Chicks:

"We've been overseas for several weeks and have been reading and following the news accounts of our governments' position. The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."

Maines further stated, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view." (Dixie Chicks Homepage, 3/12/2003)

This wasn't enough and Natalie pedalled back a further league but she still tried to uphold some concerns:

Statement from Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks
March 14, 2003

"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." (http://dixiechicks.launch.yahoo.com/news.asp?id=26)

Natalie and the Dixie Chicks are representatives of ordinary, mainstream America. That's why their dissent seems to be so dangerous for the junta, that's why they have to be silenced. The more important the following statement by a US fan on TalkLeft - The Politics of Crime:


Please click the link to sign the petition below:

"Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." -- Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, London, March 10 

We wish to express our support for Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks and their right to dissent from President Bush's style of diplomacy. As a result of the Bush administration's disrespect for the United Nations and international law, all Americans have suffered injuries to their reputations in the eyes of the world community, which most acutely affect those Americans working and traveling abroad. It was therefore well within Maines's rights to dissociate herself from the views and actions of the President before a London audience. Maines has subsequently made clear that she intended no disrespect to the office of the President or to the American soldiers serving in the Gulf. 

We applaud Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks for giving voice to the voiceless majority of Americans who do not support President Bush's decision to invade Iraq without UN authorization. We deplore the efforts of radio stations and other media outlets and organizations to boycott the Dixie Chicks. We find it especially ironic that these efforts to chill future voices of dissent are being led by broadcasters to whom the public has entrusted our most vital First Amendment rights. 

We call for an immediate end to all such boycotts, and encourage all Americans to show their support for the Dixie Chicks by signing this petition and continuing to enjoy their music. 

Posted by: Andrew Chin on March 17, 2003 10:00 PM  

Further readings:

Channels of Influence  By PAUL KRUGMAN

Bush, shame and the Dixie Chicks, Salon, 18.03.03

PROTEST-RÜCKZIEHER Dixie Chicks entschuldigen sich bei Bush (Spiegel-online, 20.03.03) 

Michael Moore: "The Pope has said this war is wrong, that it is a SIN. The Pope! But even worse, the Dixie Chicks have now come out against you! How bad does it have to get before you realize that you are an army of one on this war?"

Unrepentant in 2006: 
The Dixie Chicks
- America Catches Up With Them 
THE DIXIE CHICKS call it "the Incident": the anti-Bush remark that Natalie Maines, their lead singer, made onstage in London in 2003. "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," said Ms. Maines, a Texan herself. It led to a partisan firestorm, a radio boycott, death threats and, now, to an album that's anything but repentant: "Taking the Long Way" (Open Wide/Monument/ Columbia). (NYT, 21.05.2006).

The Dixie Chicks America Catches Up With Them - New York Times