kittymyers / Flickr dixie chicks...
kittymyers / Flickr

Boycotts are unfair — they are harmful attempts to shut down free speech, claim current Laura Ingraham fans. The talking points aren’t new, and in several states we are seeing moves to say that free speech is being challenged because the marketplace is rejecting speakers or television programming.

Conservatives, it seems, want to say that their free speech is being challenged.

Listening to the yelling and boo hoo tears on conservative talk radio would make you think the worst of all things had happened.

And then I remembered: this is ridiculous. Ingraham herself, through her comments, reminded me how things really work. You see, her recent spat of “Shut up and Dribble” was a reminder of her book in 2003: Shut Up and Sing. And what was that, if not a planned economic boycott?

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“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called ‘Shut Up & Sing,’” she said on her talk show on Feb. 16, the night following her controversial comments. “I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics…There was no racial intent in my remarks… Race has nothing to do with it.”

That’s right. Free speech for some, and if their conservative opinions are challenged with economic realities, to heck with everything else, meanwhile, others should pay the price. Let’s remember what that price looks like.

I know you said
Why can’t you just get over it?
It turned my whole world around
And I kinda like it
I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets, and I don’t mind saying
It’s a sad, sad story
When a mother will teach her daughter
That she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Saying that I better
Shut up and sing
Or my life will be over?

The Dixie Chicks, at a time one of the biggest bands in the country, were a big part of my post-college era. Their album, “Wide Open Spaces” was such a huge hit it was inescapable in the midwest, and it could be heard on radios all over my area of the world. And then, speaking at a performance in England, Maines uttered a controversial comment, and it all changed.

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As Maines was introducing the Dixie Chicks’ latest single, “Travelin’ Soldier,” she said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

Ingraham, through her book “Shut Up & SIng” made the case that no one is entitled to economic success; and that consumers had their own rights to refuse to contribute. In fact, she appeared on numerous TV shows and programs advocating exactly that.

Then President George W Bush addressed it:

The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say…They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. Freedom is a two-way street. I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq.

Trump, himself, has engaged in similar rhetoric, regarding the NFL, Amazon, The Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CNN..

Oh, and NBC is interesting because, bowing to political pressure in 2006, it refused to even air TV ads promoting the Dixie Chicks documentary “Shut Up And Sing” after having Laura Ingraham appear on their news programming at the time to discuss her book.

www.npr.org/…

Documents from both networks appear to support that claim. A form from the NBC Advertising Standards Department bears a notation reading, We cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush.

But boycotting some viewpoints, well, that’s A-OK to some conservatives, until it comes to one of their own. Conservative commentators will then demand that people spend money and watch their programming. They will go from yelling “Shut Up and Sing/Dribble” to decrying when the same tactic is used on their favorites.

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Call people snowflakes. Make fun of them. It all works out for you. Eventually, the avalanche comes. And, with work and effort, a true landslide.

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