Make ‘Un-American’ Denigration Again

Madonna the latest slammed with the slur

By The Editor

Once again, the name train has stopped at the station – in this instance, a radio station – where passengers on the left side of the trolley griping about the current political itinerary are branded as “un-American” by those self-patented patriots on the right side of the car.

And yet, speaking out is about as American as apple pie and shotguns, depending on your tastes.

Expressing approval or dissent – whether at a demonstration or a ball game – is one of our most treasured rights and well-honed traits. Nobody speaks out like an American; just ask our new Commander-in-Tweet.

Which is why it is strange (though not entirely surprising) to learn that a Texas radio station will no longer play Madonna’s songs due to her public outburst this past weekend.

The station, apparently more keen on distributing free music than free speech, said the umbrage they took was not about politics, but the apparent lack of “patriotism” perceived in the recording icon’s “un-American sentiments” during the January 21 Women’s March on Washington D.C., one of several coordinated demonstrations that day.

So that we have our facts straight, here is what happened in brief.

Explaining she was “angry” and “outraged” by the presidential election, Madonna said: “Yes I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.”

In response, a radio station in Texarkana announced: “Banning all Madonna songs at HITS 105 is not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of patriotism. It just feels wrong to us to be playing Madonna songs and paying her royalties when the artist has shown un-American sentiments.”

My particular bone to pick is not about seeing the Material Girl marched at patriotic gunpoint off some Lone Star State playlist. Sure, I own her greatest hits album, but who doesn’t like a little “Holiday” now and again?

This is about how fractured America has become, to the point that when a friend of mine recently made a Civil War allusion it was not insignificant hyperbole.

Despite the election’s conclusion (and can someone tell Team Trump to stop campaigning with falsehoods and start governing with facts) Americans still feel called to action – in this case, “banning” music from a playlist – by what can only be categorized as “stupid shit,” such as an aging pop singer using a rally speech to criticize the new president’s policies.

meryl(Although that is not unexpected at a time when the new president cannot resist the urge to Twitter-slam an aging actress for using an award speech to highlight his bullying, ironically proving her point.)

America has indeed become a battleground of opposing principles and, as in the days leading up to the Civil War, it is not only a rift in our body politic, but a fracture threatening to irreparably damage the tangible condition of the country.

Millions of women, as well as supportive family and friends, took to the streets last weekend to voice their anger and fears and show solidarity against the perceived misdeeds and misconceived ideas of the incoming administration and its tainted, orange-tinted navigator.

They shouted “no” to rollbacks and roadblocks in healthcare and civil rights. They screamed “yes” to a brighter future for everyone marching – far more than those who attended the inauguration – and those standing with them – 65.8 million who voted in opposition to the man inaugurated.

Burning down the house (?) at the Women’s March on Washington

Yes, Madonna was foolish in saying she wants to demolish the White House. It’s the nerve center, both practically and symbolically, of our democratic government, not the headquarters of any particular party.

But it’s just as ridiculous to call someone un-American for expressing frustration with politics or a politician. In that vein, I’m offended by the stupidity that passes for patriotism.

For the past eight years we have heard yokels of various stripes call the President of the United States a secret Muslim Kenyan hatching evil plots that, in their historically undernourished minds, made him comparable to Hitler. There were even venerators of violence who openly wished for the president’s assassination, with no un-American categorizations from the far-right side of the barbed-wire fence.

This included Trump’s own bozo butler ranting that Obama should be shot and hung, as well as moronic tirades by musician Ted Nugent in which he earned throaty approval from fellow insurgent wannabes for inviting the sitting president to “suck on my machine gun,” which incidentally did not result in his music being banned or any accusation of being un-American despite his vocal desire to shoot our national leader, elected through the electoral college AND the popular vote.

(Notably, the Secret Service has taken professional exception to blustery outbursts from certifiable nut-jobs and blowhards who play guitars and fondle guns.)

Over the course of her frequently controversial career, there have been so many accusations against Madonna that “un-American” is undoubtedly already among her retrograde accolades and she is unmoved by any new conservative naughty list.

Besides, her comments at the Women’s March were not entirely negative.

“It seems as though we all slipped into a false sense of comfort, that justice would prevail and that good would prevail in the end. Well, good did not win this election. But good will win in the end,” she said before leading the audience in a “we choose love” chant.

Moving past this minor (not literal) flame-up, we could all do with some perspective tweaking (not tweeting) regarding what is truly un-American: singing a few lines of political pique about a metaphorical desire to incinerate the White House, or working within that house to destroy the ideological foundations upon which it rests?

(January 26, 2017)

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