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out of sensitivity and respect for the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I
do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of the
The Sound of the Truth Coming from My Mouth
Just before performing their song, "Travelin' Soldier " during a sold-out March
concert in London, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines extemporane-
ously exclaimed, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United
States is from Texas." It was a spur of the moment thing; she hadn't planned to
say it, nor had she offered this thought during any of the other tour stops. During
previous shows, the group had dedicated the song to the soldiers fighting away
from home.
For as large a controversy as Natalie's comments eventually created back home,
the incident did not seem to make much of an immediate impact. Six London
papers reviewed the show and five made no reference to the comment. Further,
the American ambassador to Britain who was in attendance at the concert came
backstage afterwards to greet the group and made no reference to the remark. The
quote did not show up in the press at all until two days later, when London's The
newspaper published a lukewarm review of the show, including a
mention of the comment and how unusual it was. A few days later the Guardian
article was posted on the ultra-conservative U.S. web site (ground
zero for conservative talk shows in America information posted on the site is
usually that day's lead discussion topic on most conservative talk radio and
television programs).
The next day, the story was instantly everywhere reported in many media
outlets and on the lips of almost every talk show host in the country. Negative
reaction against the group was heated and quick.
Shortly after the controversy erupted, the group released a strongly worded
and largely unapologetic press statement. The group said that they had been
overseas for several weeks and "the anti-American sentiment that has unfolded
here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frighten-
ing than the idea of going to war with Iraq." In a separate statement, Maines
herself said, "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and
the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration and one of the
privileges of being an American is you can voice your own point of view."