Celebrity War Protesters

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Now that the major fighting in Iraq is over we can get down to resolving the really tough issue of whether or not to forgive and forget all the anti-war efforts of a long list of entertainers.

I mean, how can we move on to such trivial things as founding a democracy in a nation that has suffered years of tyranny until we have grappled with this all-important question?


Seriously folks, as the entertainment industry is telling us, careers are on the line here and we need to decide whether or not we will ever go to another movie, buy another record or watch another TV show featuring some of Hollywood’s (and Nashville’s) hard-core leftists.

This year’s nominees for boycotting are: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, the Dixie Chicks, Danny Glover, Kim Bassinger, Sheryl Crowe, Peter Jennings, Barbara Streisand, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, Mike Farrell, Janeane Garofalo, Edward Norton, Ed Asner, Jessica Lange, Spike Lee, Dustin Hoffman, David Clennon, Robert Altman, Bruce Springstein and Sean Penn. Let’s think about this very carefully because, after all, there are casting decisions to be made.

Well, putting aside the skewed priorities of the self-important
entertainment business and dislodging tongue from cheek, it is true that the American public actually has a major responsibility here because we are, after all, the ones that made them rich and famous. So should we forgive and forget?

Most of you are aware of the statement made by Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines at the start of their concert in London: “Just so you know, we’re embarrassed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

But you may not have seen some of the other statements from other entertainers.

For instance:
*Actress Jessica Lange: “I hate George W. Bush and I despise his administration.”

*Actor Danny Glover: “He’s a racist.”

*Director Robert Altman: “I find him (Bush) an embarrassment. When I see an American flag flying, it’s a joke.”

*TV actor and pretend president Martin Sheen (The West Wing): “He (Bush) is a moron.”

*TV actor David Clennon (The Agency): “Hitler is smarter than Bush.”

These are just a few of the vitriolic statements directed at the President which frankly are far less offensive than some of the statements made against the country. For instance, in an article in the Seattle Weekly, fiction author Tom Robbins (no relation to actor Tim) wrote, “Quite possibly the worst thing about the inevitable and totally unjustified war with Iraq is that there’s no chance the United States might lose it.”

Now that the atrocities of Saddam Hussein are coming to light and public support for the war and President Bush are at record levels, the stars have quit complaining about the war. Now they are complaining about the public backlash that is threatening their careers.

And none of them that I know of are admitting they were wrong or that their actions were in any way unpatriotic or anti-American. In fact, many of them are claiming that their protests symbolize their patriotism.

While I respect the right of anyone to dissent, the statements and actions of many of the entertainers went beyond simply exercising their rights and in fact may have cost the lives of some American troops fighting in Iraq.

Iraqi leadership was well aware of the effect that war protesters had on undermining American resolve in Vietnam. Iraqi television, which stayed on the air almost to the end of the war, showed footage of the war protests as a propaganda tool to encourage resistance to the American advance. The anti-war crowd was aware of that and, in addition, focused on American casualties, believing that if the Iraqi forces could inflict high enough casualties among U.S. forces the American public would lose the will to fight.

But the Iraqi propaganda bosses and the anti-war crowd grossly underestimated the ability of our forces and the resolve of the vast
majority of our people. The question now for the anti-war, anti-Bush
entertainers is this: did they underestimate the resolve of the American public to boycott them?

At the forefront of the effort to restore their fan base are the Dixie Chicks who took to the air to try to woo the public back and salvage their careers. They hope their tearful explanations to Primetime’s Diane Sawyer will be enough.

The problem for lead singer Maines is that after the initial public reaction to her statement about Bush she continued to question American actions even after our troops were in harm’s way. So now she is saying, “Accept us. Accept an apology was made. Accept that what we’re saying right now is heartfelt, full of compassion and honesty.”

What it appears she is really saying is “we beg you-forget what we said, buy our records and come back to our concerts.”

Just in case a weep session with Diane Sawyer didn’t do the trick, the Dixie Chicks have taken another approach to restoring their macho male audience. They appeared nude on the cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine with labels stamped on strategic areas of their bodies proclaiming “Traitors” and “Dixie Sluts”, among other things. The Chicks claimed that the cover picture was intended to show how ridiculous it was to label them in any way because of their opinions.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but going from baring their souls to baring it all makes it difficult for me to believe the Dixie Chicks are sincere about their apologies. So I think I’ll keep my boycott list handy and they will still be on it, only now I have another reason not support them.

”’Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society. For information or comments contact: Gary Palmer, Alabama Policy Institute, 402 Office Park Drive, Suite 300, Birmingham, Alabama 35223, (205) 870-9900, e-mail:”’ mailto:garyp@alabamapolicy.org ”’To subscribe to this column, please go to:”’