Editorial: ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’—Really!

The Dixie Chicks had one problem when they were accepting their five Grammys for their album Taking the Long Way and record “Not Ready to Make Nice”—they were “making nice,” on that stage at least. In 2003, during a concert in London, lead singer Natalie Maines said, “We’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” Yet, in all of the band’s appearances on stage to accept their awards last Sunday, Feb. 11 the remark was never directly addressed, nor was the rising rejection of the war in Iraq. Why?

In a word, “Fear,” or perhaps another word, “Subtle,” or perhaps reaching for “Class.”

Although the last elections have given some backbone to the hitherto spineless Democrats, few honestly say what they think about our dangerously failed president and his incompetent policies that serve a monied few and an unrestrained Israel at the peril of all of us.

One reason for the Dixie Chicks’ polite silence, which still doesn’t diminish their courage displayed by the London statement just 10 days before the invasion of Iraq, was the blowback from the public. The Dixie Chicks’ records and CDs were burned in public ceremonies, radio stations would not play their songs, and sales of their recordings and concert tickets took a dive.

Ireland’s Belfast Telegraph encapsulated: “The Chicks had tried everything to keep their chart-busting career on track. They had started out meek, by way of a contrite press release. Then they turned defiant, continuing to play, even in venues where they had been told they faced death threats. They were bold, appearing naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly with the epithets of their more hysterical critics (“Dixie Sluts,” “Saddam’s Angels,” “Hippies,” “Traitors”) branded on their flesh.

“And they weren’t afraid to be confrontational, starting a very public feud with the country music golden boy, Toby Keith,” reported the Irish paper.

With their exclusion at the recent Country Music Awards, the Grammys were a vindication by the left-of-center, mainstream recording industry. The Dixie Chicks truly stand as a cross-over music phenomenon.

They were real “ladies” on the Grammys stage, perhaps letting the subtle lyrics of “Not Ready to Make Nice” make their stand. Even the legendary protest singer Joan Baez was strangely subtle in her introduction of their performance of the song, urging everyone to listen very closely to the lyrics.

As posted on www.cowboylyrics.com, those lyrics are:

Forgive, sounds good.

Forget, I’m not sure I could.

They say time heals everything,

But I’m still waiting

I’m through, with doubt,

There’s nothing left for me to figure out,

I’ve paid a price, and I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice,

I’m not ready to back down,

I’m still mad as hell

And I don’t have time

To go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

’Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

I know you said

Why can’t you just get over it,

It turned my whole world around

and i kind of like it

I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby,

With no regrets and I don’t mind saying,

It’s a sad, sad story

That a mother will teach her daughter

that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.

And how in the world

Can the words that I said

Send somebody so over the edge

That they’d write me a letter

Saying that I better shut up and sing

Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice,

I’m not ready to back down,

I’m still mad as hell

And I don’t have time

To go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

’Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

I’m not ready to make nice,

I’m not ready to back down,

I’m still mad as hell

And I don’t have time

To go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

’Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

Forgive, sounds good.

Forget, I’m not sure I could.

They say time heals everything,

But I’m still waiting

While accepting one of the awards, Maines could no longer restrain herself, yet she did, saying all she could say was to quote from the famous Simpsons [TV show], “’Hee, hee!’”

The ladies of the Dixie Chicks were a class act on the Grammys’ stage, obviously letting their work speak for themselves. By so doing, they avoided falling into the pit of overt political criticism that hungrily awaited them.

The ladies were trying to fight the ignorance and venom of blind patriotism with gleeful sophistication. Unfortunately, most probably, the effort was lost on those whom they wanted to show up, to “git” it.

Two favorite quotes of the famous apply here. First, “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels,” by William Samuel Johnson; and second, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men,” by Abraham Lincoln.

The animosity of the supposedly patriotic fervor whipped up by the Bush administration’s minions against anyone who opposed the invasion of Iraq still exists in some quarters: one, in those Machiavellians who designed and instigated it; two, in those who will remain brain-dead, Republican loyalists despite all evidence; three, in those who insanely would rather die than admit defeat in a war based on lies; and four, in those who love this country and simply cannot fathom we are not infallible.

Dear Dixie Chicks, please keep on keeping on and remain “mad as hell,” do not “back down.” “Silence,” “subtlety,” and “class” simply will not stop or reach the quarter and dividing folks listed above. Strongly exercise your First Amendment right to free speech. Speak avidly and clearly in every forum. Act immediately.

If the Democrats and the real patriotic Republicans cannot lead us, perhaps we have to look to you, our artists, for direction and inspirations. We need leaders now.

Give us not the lord of Skull & Bonesmen, like Bush. Will Gore run? Note his good work with An Inconvenient Truth,­—and how convenient his stiff appearance was at the Grammys. God forbid Hillbillery. Don’t jump for Obama, either; he avoided questions about electronic vote fraud in an appearance at the Rockford Library, and he does not oppose Globalism.

We peasants need a Zorro that will get our work done, rather than the designs of the neocons, who think we can impose democracy with Leninist methods. They have Iraq. They have Afghanistan. What’s right in the middle of those two countries? Iran.

Do not be one who said, “I ran from the looming pressure.” Speak up to your representatives now. The Oily Shrub’s spin machine is on high speed. Just as with the mythical intelligence, known as lies, about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, now Iran’s supposedly supplying explosive technology to the insurgents in Iraq. Bush is spinning us toward war in Iran; and as pointed out in these pages two weeks ago, many of our ships and sailors will end up at the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Update: a third carrier group has just been sent.

Unless the public pressure is intense, look for unilateral action, probably excluding congressional approval as well. Extending the guess that Iran is exporting arms to Iraq, a characteristic approach would be for Bush to say Iran attacked first, like the lies about Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. Even Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said there is no solid evidence that the government of Iran is supplying the insurgents. Yet, the media are mixing the “go get Iran soup,” with very few penetrating questions (just like last time) about the Bush-supplied ingredients.

Dixie Chicks, we need new cooks in our national kitchen. Ones who will cut the fatty funds for new troops or a war with Iran. Ladies, please step up. That means you, Ms. Nancy Pelosi. Be the real speaker of our house; we’v

e got great singers.

From the Feb. 14-20, 2007, issue

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