I believe in the Dixie Chicks. I am not a country music fan. Prior to March 2003, I had never listened to a Dixie Chicks’ song, saw a video or really paid any attention to this band. In March, 2003, just as it was becoming clear that our country was planning to invade Iraq, I became aware of the Dixie Chicks when Natalie Maines told a London concert audience: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.”
All hell broke loose among country music fans. Radio stations pulled the Dixie Chicks from their music catalogues; stations sponsored events where fans were encouraged to destroy Dixie Chicks’ CDs and concert memorabilia; people called for boycotts of their music and concerts; and death threats were made against the group.
I knew that as I watched televised reports of angry mobs destroying the CDs that I would buy the next Dixie Chicks album—whether I liked the music or not. I simply wanted to support a group of women who were willing to speak-up.
When Taking the Long Way was released, I purchased the CD. I confess, I did not listen to the CD until after I heard an interview with the band on Fresh Air. By listening to the interview, I learned that these women possess the traits I want to instill in my 11 year old daughter. These three women are smart, talented, successful, opinionated, hard-working, loving mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. They face hardship with humor and they don’t back down when faced with adversity. And…they can sing.
Taking the Long Way has become my daughter’s favorite CD. She plays it all the time. I have used the CD to teach her that we live in a great country. She is learning that as citizens, we not only have the right to speak up but that we have a duty to speak–especially when we disagree with our leaders. I have used the CD to teach her that sitting down at a lunch counter landed people in jail; that raising a gloved fist in protest resulted in lost gold medals; and that the Dixie Chicks lost a fan base and a significant amount of money for protesting what they believe to be an unjust war. Through these ongoing discussions, my daughter has learned that speaking up comes with a price. I believe that speaking up can cost one popularity; prestige; fame; fortune; family; friends; and even freedom. I also believe that being silent can be even more costly.
I believe my daughter is listening—not only to the music but to the message. I only hope she too, will take the “long way” on her life journey.
Like the Dixie Chicks, I hope for “more love, more joy and laughter”. And I hope “we can all live more fearlessly”. And because I know my daughter is watching me, I believe in the Dixie Chicks.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.