What Would Jefferson Do?

A Brief History of Dissent

Are the Dixie Chicks traitors?  Lead singer Natalie Maines boldly announced at a concert in London, just before the beginning of our recent armed incursion into Iraq, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”  The firestorm that ensued involved coordinated radio boycotts of the Chicks’ music and Dixie Chicks CD-bashing events.  Many of their fellow country artists disowned them, and, in a stunningly bizarre bid to win back their fans, the winsome Chicks posed nude, like three refugees from Paul Chabas’s September Morn, for the cover of Entertainment Weekly.  They had provocative words, such as “free speech,” “Dixie sluts,” “Saddam’s Angels,” and—most importantly—“traitors,” scribbled all over their possibly airbrushed and improbably nubile bodies.

On March 17, 2003, the day President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, with possibly feigned solemnity, told a meeting of union leaders: “I am saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we’re now forced to war.  Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn’t create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country.”  As reported by the Gannett News Service,...

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