Choosing a song for this occasion was difficult.
I wanted to avoid all of the clichés in my choice to celebrate our country’s independence, and find one that not only upholds the very essence of freedom of speech, but does so in a way that makes one think.
Some of you may remember a country band called The Dixie Chicks. They are still together and have been since 1989.
They fell out of favor with many in the USA in 2003 after this:
Now, I’m not going to get into a political debate here or encourage anyone to choose a side. My goal on this weekend, which means so much to me as an American, is to share a song written in response to the backlash The Dixie Chicks received for simply speaking out and sharing an opinion.
As many know, Mary Chapin Carpenter is my favorite female singer-songwriter.
In this song she firmly and deftly points out that those “three little stars in a great big sky” had a right to say what they said, and there was no crime as they were exercising their freedom of speech.
The crime lay in the hateful–yes, the angry, demoralizing, degrading, sexist, and elitist–treatment of The Dixie Chicks, and anyone like them who speak against the privileged powers that be.
Take a listen, even if you don’t care for the inspiration for MCC’s song. She is a warrior with a guitar and a killer voice, and one who knows how to call people out on their own bullshit.
“On With The Song”
This isn’t for the ones who blindly follow
Jingoistic bumper stickers tellin’ you
To love it or leave it and you’d better love Jesus
And get out of the way of the Red, White, and Blue
This isn’t for the ones who buy their six-packs
At the 7-Eleven where the clerk makes change
Whose accent makes clear (he) sure ain’t from here
They call him a camel jockey instead of his name
No, this is for the ones who stand their ground
When the lines in the sand get deeper
When the whole world seems to be upside down
And (the) shots bein’ taken get cheaper, cheaper
This isn’t for the ones who would gladly swallow
Everything their leader would have them know
Bowing and kissin’ while the truth goes missin’
“Bring it on,” he crows, puttin’ on his big show
This isn’t for the man who can’t count the bodies
Can’t comfort the families, can’t say when he’s wrong
Playin’ “I’m the decider,” like some sort of Messiah
While another day passes and a hundred souls gone
This is for the ones that I see above me
Three little stars in a great big sky
Light for the world and hope for the weary
This isn’t for the ones with their radio signal
Callin’ for bonfires and boycotts, they rave
Exhorting their listeners to spit on the sinners
While countin’ the bucks of advertising, they’ll save
This isn’t for you and you know who you are
Just do what you want ’cause I know that you can
But I gotta be true to myself and to you
So on with the song, I don’t give a damn
“On With The Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, from the album The Calling (2007, Zoë Records, Copyright Mary Chapin Carpenter)