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Bruce Springsteen speaks out in defense of Dixie Chicks

On his own website – brucespringsteen.net, Bruce speaks up about the treatment the Dixie Chicks have received after openly opposing the war against Iraq.

He writes:

The Dixie Chicks have taken a big hit lately for exercising their basic right to express themselves. To me, they’re terrific American artists expressing American values by using their American right to free speech. For them to be banished wholesale from radio stations, and even entire radio networks, for speaking out is un-American.

The pressure coming from the government and big business to enforce conformity of thought concerning the war and politics goes against everything that this country is about – namely freedom. Right now, we are supposedly fighting to create freedom in Iraq, at the same time that some are trying to intimidate and punish people for using that same freedom here at home.

I am no Bruce Springsteen fan, but taking the risk of speaking up against the powers that be and defending Dixie Chicks right to free speech and their own opinions, shows that he has undertood something too few americans have.

16 Responses to Bruce Springsteen speaks out in defense of Dixie Chicks

  1. Todd April 30, 2003 at 4:00 pm #

    Question: Would Bruce Stringsteen speak out for John Rocker?

  2. dave April 30, 2003 at 4:50 pm #

    No, because John Rocker’s an idiot.

    “Freedom of speech” is not the same as “say whatever dumbass thing pops into your head, and we’ll support it.” It’s not clear to me why this is a hard concept to grasp.

  3. Mario Klingemann April 30, 2003 at 5:02 pm #

    Todd, are you referring this statement by John Rocker: “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get into this country?” (found here: http://www.icomm.ca/carecen/page68.html)

    Why should Mr. Springsteen speak out for him? Isn’t that statement as un-American as it can get? My little knowledge of US-history tells me that it’s just a few centuries ago that the USA was made by “foreigners” the country that it is today.

  4. Michael Conger April 30, 2003 at 5:26 pm #

    For me there are 4 sides to this issue…

    1. The dixie chicks, bruce springsteen, and even john rocker all have the right to any opinion they choose. They also have the right to express that opinion if they choose.

    2. Radio stations also have the right to express their opinion and choose what they wish to broadcast. If they choose to exclude the Dixie Chicks from their playlists, that’s their right. (unless you’re talking about orgainizations that get govt. funding… but private businesses and organizations can express any view they wish)

    3. Sponsors who advertise on radio stations also have the right to express their opinion… they excercise that right by purchasing (or not purchasing) time on the radio stations.

    4. We, as consumers, also have the right to our opinion. One way we can exercise that right is by supporting (or not supporting) the radio stations and/or sponsors by tuning in (or not) to their programming and by purchasing (or not) their products.

    We can also, as private citizens, express our opinion to those around us as we see fit (this is what bruce springsteen did)

    Bottom line… the Dixie Chicks aren’t being deprived of their 1st amendment rights. They can think or say anything they like… the 1st amendment guarentees that… it does not, however guarentee that their fans or the people with whom they have business relationships must agree with and support their opinion.

    You have the right to free speech, but the bill of rights doesn’t guarentee you’ll get rich, famous, or popular because of it.

  5. Todd April 30, 2003 at 7:36 pm #

    Michael wraps it up nicely.

    The point I was trying to make is that in America you can say pretty much anything you want to, but it doesn’t mean that you are beyond reproach.

    I mean, who gave the Dixie Chicks unfettered speech but no one else the same.

    The Dixie chicks can be ashamed that Bush is from Texas, but in the light, (ex)-fans can be ashamed that they are from Texas. It’s their right too.

  6. A concerned observer April 30, 2003 at 7:52 pm #

    Sorry for not posting my personal details, but you need to look carefully at the “right” of radio stations to play what they choose. Clear Channel, which owns the vast majority of radio stations in the states, was organizing pro-war rallies. How is it possible that a corporation, which is not granted the right to vote like a citizen, is dedicating huge resources to political issues. A corporation like Clear Channel might even be owned by foreigners, who obviously don’t have America’s interest at heart. The right to free speech is granted as an individual right. Witness the incredible assertion by Nike that as a corporation it has the right to lie in its advertisements.

  7. CHris April 30, 2003 at 9:51 pm #

    “Freedom of speech” is not the same as “say whatever dumbass thing pops into your head, and we’ll support it.” It’s not clear to me why this is a hard concept to grasp.

    Personally I think the best part of having freedom of speech is that people who have idea and attitudes like John Rocker to express themselves. When John Rocker, or anyone else making blatantly racists statements, opens their mouth and spews out their hate then it makes my ability to identify them as racists or idiots or what have you even easier. Of course, if you don’t agree with my position on an issue then you are free to think the same of me. That’s the beauty of it.

    As for Bruce Springsteen standing up for the Dixie Chicks – I think we *all* know the reason that he is doing this. US Government documents show that Springsteen himself as well as members of the E-Street Band have lucrative oil contracts with the Dixie Chicks (and She-Daisy, The Donnas and formerly the Go-Go’s). Springsteen is about as interested in the right to free speech as Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew. Oh, wait that’s a bad example.

    Anyhoo – why should we listen to the ideas of Bruce Springsteen? He obviously has pretty negative feelings towards America (see the lyrics to “Born in the USA” or “American Skin/41 Shots”). We need to gather around people who do nothing but mimic the dogma of our leaders. These are the people who need our help and support – we need to open their eyes.

    I remember what Theodore Roosevelt said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

    When John McCain (US Presidential candidate and a four year POW in Vietnam) was asked about Americans protesting the war in Vietnam he replied: “I thought that’s what we were fighting for — the right to protest.”

    CHris

  8. dave April 30, 2003 at 10:25 pm #

    Yeah, sorry – I got snippy. I’m really tired of this topic.

    I can’t believe the number of Americans who don’t seem to grasp Theodore’s comment there.

    And I stand by my assertion that John Rocker is an idiot.

  9. CHris April 30, 2003 at 10:37 pm #

    Dave,

    I’m in total agreement on the John Rocker issue. And I fully support his right to let people know that he is an idiot.

  10. observer #2 May 25, 2003 at 11:22 pm #

    I don’t understand why you “americans” think it is all about you.

    “America” goes from Alaska to Argentina.

    There is a “rest of the world”… you might just check it out.

    You could be the world’s biggest bullies and you haven’t even noticed. You promote all this “freedom” and you don’t know where you really are standing.

  11. Roy May 28, 2003 at 4:39 am #

    americans are every race or color you can think of.You must know all of us if you feel you can make such a generalized statement. Some of us do check out “the rest of the world”, an we notice when our country is being a “bully”. We notice “freedom” or the lack thereof and many of us often know it is’nt about “us”. I think you will find people everywhere are looking for a good life and something better for their children. However, as with any group there are bastards, criminals, lovers, haters, gays, straights…… the list goes on and on. If we are not curious about the rest of the world, what am I doing reading this? I would be upset to learn that you thought I was an evil person because of our gov’ts policies even though you have not met me. I did not boycott France and I didn’t believe in the war with Iraq and I don’t like the Dixie chicks(because I don’t like country music, not because of what they said:) Name a country that is free. Then explain to me why. I am not saying America is perfect but I do not understand dislike without reason. Your statements could be more correct if you put gov’t next to american. I am pretty sure that I know where I stand. My word is as good as a handshake and I say what I mean. I believe in dealing honestly and fairly with everybody and I save my judgement for individuals and their dealings with me. It would be unfair of me to slam anybody unless they reveal bad character. As far as I know, bad character is not confined to any one race or sex.

  12. Tina May 28, 2003 at 6:04 am #

    I support John Rocker, but not the Dixie Chicks.

    John Rocker said what he did from the heart. He belives in what he said. He’s what this country was built on.

    The Dixie Chicks are after a buck. They are what this country has come to. They’d support whatever gains them the most — exactly as the media does.

    The media wants to run this country. They try to take the American public in the palm of their hand. Just once watch the news and keep in mind how they are trying to influence you.

    This country is going downhill like a snowball headed for hell. We need God, the President, and others that aren’t out for a buck!!

    The military members and teachers in this country are way, way, way underpaid. The media folks and movie stars are grossly overpaid.

    No, I’m not a teacher, and I’m not in the military!

    Thanks, I feel better getting my right to freedom of speech!

  13. Jarle May 28, 2003 at 8:49 pm #

    Roy: I don’t think you get it. I am not saying every american. If you want to look at countries with healthier democracies than the US, then you will find many of them in Europe (IMHO). Switzerland is probably one of the better examples. But I feel that the democracies in countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden shows fairly good health too. Just look at the width of parties available and the political discussions taking place.

    Tina: I couldn’t disagree with you more. And I was thinking you must be joking when saying things like “We need God, the President, and others that aren’t out for a buck!!”. Come on, you must be kidding, or you just haven’t paid attention to history. Look at the history of the Bush family, how they have been using their power to get access to money, you surely can’t use them as examples of people who “aren’t out for a buck”.

    The war in Iraq is a prime example, the real reason for the war is obviously (to most people outside of the US) a regime change, and getting access to values inside of Iraq, and gaining independence from the Arabian nations and OPEC.

  14. observer #2 June 3, 2003 at 4:38 am #

    Roy, Jarle

    It is tranquilizing to know there’s still people in the US with a brain. We’ve seen rockers, movie stars and other public figures speak some decent words every once in a while (the same people that get banned by the world’s greatest “democracy”). It is good to see an “average” US citizen have a mind of his/her own.

  15. Roy June 3, 2003 at 9:34 pm #

    Thank you observer#2. The mind is like a parachute, it functions best when open. As observer #2 said, I am an “average” citizen(work for the phone company).Jarle, I am sorry that I am not getting it. I read some statements in your blog (that appeared to be generalized) about Americans. I may have jumped to conclusions.

    I may also have an average mentality, but I am willing to learn more:) I think the world is a small place and there is no room for hatred. People over here made fun of Rodney King when he said “Can’t we all just get along”. I was upset by people’s reactions of derision. Is something like that really so hard? Everyone wants to have a good life, but that’s bad if it is at the expense of others. “All I am saying, is give Peace a chance” John Lennon

  16. Joseph Crews November 4, 2003 at 6:40 pm #

    The Dix Chix want freedom of speech for themselves, but want to silence their critics. The Chix, especially Natalia, are hypocrites.