Monday, September 24, 2007

Country Music "Abandons Bush"

President Bush and the Iraq War are now so deeply unpopular in the American heartland that even country music superstars are now voicing their dissent in song, and are finding audiences supportive.

It was, after all, the kings of pop-country music that helped to rally the American nation behind President Bush in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq back in early 2003.

Now they know their audiences have changed their minds, and likewise they are changing their songs, to reflect the reality of the war's impact on the American heartland, and to keep their audiences coming to their shows.

From the UK Daily Telegraph :

Country music has thrived for years as the soundtrack to redneck America, supplying the Republican heartlands with a diet of knee-jerk jingoism that has included flag-waving anthems supporting the war on terror.

But as the US death toll rises in Iraq and public patience with the conflict — and with George W. Bush — diminishes, many anti-war songs are emerging from Nashville, Tennessee, home of the genre.

No one has moved further than Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, two of the biggest names in country music.

In 2002, Keith had a huge hit with Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which includes the lyric: "You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass — it's the American Way."

Worley's Have You Forgotten in 2003 justified the Iraq invasion as a response to the September 11 attacks. The military liked it so much he was presented with a flag that had flown over the Pentagon.

Now Keith says he is a lifelong Democrat and has claimed he never supported the war, while Worley has had a hit with I Just Came Back from a War, about a soldier returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The changing tone reflects a growing scepticism in heartlands that have disproportionately contributed the young soldiers who have been fighting and dying.

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