This post has been updated in light of the attempted assassination of several congresspeople in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 14.
Writing for a living has taken up a lot of my time recently, so this part of my life has been neglected, and for that I am dreadfully sorry. The constant drumbeat of incompetence and buffoonery from what was once the apex of American government has dulled my senses to the point I have trouble even achieving any level of dudgeon, let alone a high one.
But something happened today to change that. While writing up a routine reporting assignment for the newspaper that pays me to do what I love doing (nice work if you can get it!) I plugged in one of my favorite artists, Dixie Chicks, and was instantly treated to the first song from their “Essential Dixie Chicks” album, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”
This isn’t just a song of defiance. This is an anthem of empowerment, sexual and otherwise. Pull up the YouTube video of the song – there isn’t a heterosexual man in America who won’t want to pull Natalie Mains into his arms while knowing all along he isn’t worthy of even reaching out to her. Those blue eyes pierce you, penetrate you in a way that’s not entirely comfortable.
Think about that.
A moment later Marty Maguire saws on the fiddle in a symphonic passage that elevates feminist defiance to a transcendent plane so far above the comprehension of mere males that we can only gape in wonder – where did she get that? Ye gods, where does that passion come from? From there?
We all know the Dixie Chicks were America’s ascendant alternative country rock band until Mains popped off during a concert in the UK that she was ashamed that George Bush was from Texas. Male wrath of the white trash kind crashed down on the band, essentially ending the careers of three exquisitely talented women. Yes, they’ve made millions since then in their individual and disparate ventures, but the magic that was the Dixie Chicks is forever gone.
“Not Ready to Make Nice” was the band’s comeback to all of the hate mail, CD burnings, and attendant redneck hysteria. I was something of a beneficiary of that – an acquaintance with more love of Dubya than was healthy bequeathed me her only Dixie Chicks album, and I fell in love. I acquired the Essential album in an attempt to own the very best the band had to offer.
The lead cut of the album – the aforementioned “Not Ready …” – is as pertinent to the political climate today as it was when it was penned a decade ago:
“I’m not ready to make nice,
”I’m not ready to back down
“I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time
“To go ’round and ’round and ’round
“It’s too late to make it right
“I probably wouldn’t if I could
“’Cause I’m mad as hell
“Can’t bring myself to do what it is
“You think I should…”
It works as a love-gone-wrong song, a political statement by women wrongly shamed for having an opinion, and as resistance to the ongoing American governmental cuckolding that seems to have no end.
And so, I’m not ready to make nice, either. I’ll still dull the pain with streamed episodes of “Better Call Saul” and “The Son” and wait for the next season of “Hap and Leonard” and “Good Behavior” (oh, yes, show us one more lingering shot of Michelle Dockery sans-culottes, and I’ll own my guilty pleasure!)
But I’m not going to give up on America. Knowing that it won’t do much good, I’ll continue to bedevil Cory Gardner and Ken Buck to “do the right thing,” and pretend that both men actually have a conscience that transcends party loyalty.
I cannot in good conscience have truck with the Democratic Party (we Serious Journalists all are registered as unaffiliated with any political party) but I remain committed to social liberalism and will redouble my efforts here and elsewhere to pounding the left-wing pulpit.
I’m not ready to make nice. I’ve unfriended anyone from my Facebook pages who expresses any notion that Donald Trump is a legitimate POTUS or that the Republican-controlled Capitol has any interests at heart other than those of the wealthy, privileged, and (most of all) white. I will continue to rail that all attempts to walk back the achievements of eight years of Barak Obama’s presidency are grounded utterly and entirely in the white-hot heat of abject bigotry.
Many of my liberal friends have said their hearts were broken by their fellow Americans on Election Day 2016. My heart wasn’t just broken. I put my trust in the American people to do the right thing for our country and instead they crawled between the sheets with a cheap whore of an idea and have chosen to wallow in her diseased bed rather than admit they were wrong. I was cuckolded, I was betrayed, I have been made a fool of. That’s a hurt that doesn’t go away for a long, long time.
I’m not ready to make nice.