“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. … It is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time and to its government when it deserves it.” — Mark Twain
An office or position has my respect due its authority, however, the person occupying that office or filling that position has to earn my respect. I respect the Office of the President but those who have held that office have not always earned my respect. When I was in the military, I had to show respect to the officers above me. Ideally, I was supposed to respect both their position and their person. It didn’t always work out that way but I always respected the position. I saluted the brass on their collar and, if deserved, the person wearing it.
Since I was spending a lot of time on the porcelain throne earlier this week, I found it was a good opportunity to catch up on my reading, particularly the stack of Time magazines that have been accumulating on my coffee table. A recent issue featured The Dixie Chicks on the cover. As country music goes, I’ve found them quite tolerable and I’d heard they had a new CD out, their first since the infamous “Incident.” That they are pleasing to the eye doesn’t hurt either so I was moved to read the article. In the article, Natalie Maines said that she regretted her offer of an apology for disrespecting the “office of the President.” I honestly don’t think she had anything to apologize for, particularly concerning the office of the President.
Disrespecting the Office and disrespecting the man occupying the office are two totally different things and I can’t see that she insulted either. She just stated her opinion, as any citizen has a right to do. As far as I’m concerned, the opinion of a celebrity carries no more weight than my own humble opinion. Just because she was in the land of George’s homeboy Tony, doesn’t take away her freedom of speech. She pissed off a lot of people but maybe they had minds that were too small to form opinions of their own. I recall Larry the Cable Guy saying that considering the “patriotism” of their country music fan-base, she may as well have walked into a trailer park with a megaphone saying, “Wal-Mart sucks.” (Well, Wal-Mart does suck. I still shop there but I don’t have to like it.) Only in a totalitarian regime are we required to publically agree with the leader of the nation. The last I heard we were still a democracy, at least in theory.
The fact that The Dixie Chicks dumped Sony as their record label also raises them in my esteem so, if their CD contains no DRM or hidden code, I might very well buy it.