Sunday, April 09, 2006

Alternate Ground...

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything.
But I'm still waiting.

-- Dixie Chicks

They're back and they're mad as hell, and regardless of my political leanings, I am happy.

I woke up this morning and after realizing I've already seen this week's Texas Country Reporter, I decided to catch up on some Country Music Television. And there they were with the world premiere of the video for their new song Not Ready to Make Nice. The Dixie Chicks are back on Country Music Television, even if it's only on a Sunday morning when the majority of CMT's audience is in church.

The Chick's new album, Taking the Long Way, which hits stores next month, was produced by Rick Rubin. If you didn't know that before you would have guessed soon enough. As with the Johnny Cash rendition of Hurt, also produced by Rubin, the first chord of Not Ready to Make Nice, (and also the first frame of the video,) gives you the eerie feeling that you walked into something you weren't looking for and no matter how hard you fight against it, you are about to be affected.

Much will be said about how the song is not a country song, and I basically agree. It is heavily laden with a string section and lacks the banjo and fiddle that made us all fall in love with the girls from Lubbock. But it contains within it the essence of what makes a country song a country song: It contains truth. It might be their own personal truth but it is truth and, as Hank Williams said, all there really is to country music is three chords and the truth. It's a song that will make some angry and become an anthem for others. But most people who are honest with themselves should admit it is a great song.

My favorite line of the song says "I made my bed and I sleep like a baby/ With no regrets and I don't mind saying..." This is beautiful because of Natalie Maine's passionate delivery of the line and how it flows into the rest of the stanza. But most beautiful is what I see as unintended irony. This Stick-To-My-Guns attitude bears a striking resemblance to that held by another famous West Texan-- One who has been the focus of the Chick's ire for the past few years.

Both Maines and Bush live in a world where to show regret is to show weakness. And to all those who have West Texas spewing out of their veins, there is no greater sin than weakness.

It probably feels nice to make your bed and sleep like a baby, but I'm just too prone to making mistakes for that to happen every night. I sleep well, but it's not because of a lack of regrets.

There are far more things I like than dislike about our President and his policies, but you already know that and this is not the place to rehash those. This is where I confess my sins and regrets.

I regret sitting in Coffee and Culture and not giving the time of day to those who believed more time for weapons inspections might be the wise thing to do.

I regret that I (and the President and those around him) wanted so bad to believe the intelligence about WMD's that I thought the time was to act, and act now.

I regret supporting the President's insistence a couple of years ago (about a year after the war began,) that things were going well in Iraq, when clearly they weren't.

I regret that the inner circle of the President was so insular that they went days not believing the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina was as bad as it was, when all they had to do was turn on the television to see what was going on.

I regret all the times I towed the party line just so I could say I'm one who is loyal and who sticks to my guns. I regret being like George W. Bush and I regret being like Natalie Maines.

Neither the President nor the Chicks are ready to back down. But I really see a time coming, and I pray it comes soon, where everyone, Democrats, Republicans, Sojourners and the Religious Right abandon their posts and find not necessarily a common ground, but an alternate ground to meet on. It's where the majority of the country meets on a daily basis: Over coffee and at work, at the market and in church.

Perhaps I'm wrong about the rest of the world. But I am ready to back down. I'm still sticking with my President and I'm still sticking with my Chicks, but I'm also ready to make nice.


Meg said...

I have missed you friend! See you at HUB?

Anonymous said...

Yeah...maybe we could all meet in Wide Open Spaces!


talleyho said...

hey Craig...

I stumbled across your blog, and have enjoyed it.

One thing I'd like to comment on is your short sentence pertaining to the President's response to Katrina. I think he was right on with his reaction and response.

Hurricance relief is not and should not ever be handled at the Federal level. Are there levels of help that can be given by the Feds, Yes, but the responsiblilty squarely falls on the state and local government. Bush knew this, and reacted accordingly.

thanks for posting about Caddo, that brought back some memories.

Katy said...

You "towed" the party line? Where to?