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Hank Jr. And Dixie Chicks – What’s The Difference?

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Trying my best not to turn this into a political discussion, I am very interested in the reaction to the latest Hank Williams Jr. controversy and the way country fans have handled it.  I also think the situation mirrors one we’ve seen before, that is except for the complete opposite reaction from the fans.  For those who don’t know, Hank recently sat down with Fox and Friends and was presented with a question about President Obama and John Boehner playing golf.  The analogy that Hank used to describe that was “Hitler playing golf with Benjemin Netanayhu.”  From there ESPN canned Bocephus from his theme song duties on Monday Night Football.  Since then, Hank Jr. has released an “answer” song called “Keep The Change.” Upon playing the song on Wednesday, I received an overwhelming positive response, with many saying, “keep playing it!”

Let’s go back to about 2003.  The Dixie Chicks were on stage in Europe and expressed displeasure of being from Texas, the same state of then president, George W. Bush.  What followed was the outcry of country music fans that the Chicks were “un-American” and should “shut up and sing.”  Because of the negative fan response to the group, many radio stations stopped playing their music altogether.  In the nearly 9 years since the incident, I have yet to find strong support to bring back Dixie Chicks music, be it old or new.  Just a few months ago, I posed this question about the Dixie Chicks, and again I got a stream of comments saying we should not welcome them back because of among other things, their “disrespect to the country.”

My question is…what’s the difference?  If Hank can say whatever he wants about a president and be praised for his new song, why are Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks still shunned by many of the same fans?  Am I just hearing from two sets of fans when I ask these opinions?  Is it a political thing?  Are country fans more willing to forgive when a Democratic president is being insulted?  Is the patriotic climate just that much different now, than it was just post 9-11?  If the Chicks should be kept off country radio because of their comments, shouldn’t ESPN be in the right to keep Hank off Monday Night Football?

I’m not trying to take either side here, I just wanted to play devil’s advocate and ask what is the real difference here…or is there one?

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