By: Jermel W. Shim
On March 2003 at a concert in London, the popular country music singing group the Dixie Chicks drew angry criticisms when Natalie Maines, their lead singer, told the crowd that they were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” - she was referring to George W. Bush, Jr. and the impending war with Iraq. The backlash to the Dixie Chicks was quick and costly. Many stations pulled their songs from the airwaves and booking engagements were cancelled. Perhaps the Chicks had gone too far in disrespecting a sitting president.
At the time when the Dixie Chicks made their notorious comment about President Bush, the sentiment in the country with respect to the impending war with Iraq was one of mixed feelings. In England where the Dixie Chicks were performing, thousands of Brits had marched against the looming war.
A lot have changed since the days of the Dixie Chicks controversy evidenced by recent insulting and disrespectful comments by Ted Nugent. This is what the Dixie Chicks have in common with Ted Nugent - they both insulted a sitting president. What the Dixie Chicks said then about President Bush, pales in comparison to what Ted Nugent recently said about President Obama during an interview with Guns.com.
"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America."
Calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel" is despicable, shameful, and contemptible. Such words reverberate back to the time of slavery when blacks were dehumanized by being called savages and beasts. Can you imagine if the Dixie Chicks or anyone else said similar things about President Bush? They would have been ostracized from society or even prosecuted under the hate crime laws. What is disturbing with Nugent's vile rant is that the GOP leadership, the right wing media, and the very politicians who cuddle him have not condemned him.
Ted Nugent's vile and disgraceful comments against President Obama confirm the double standards and hypocrisy with respect to how President Obama is treated compared to his predecessors. His comments also serve to confirm what many already know - that President Obama is disrespected not for his policies but because of his race. Calling the President of the USA a "subhuman mongrel" is racism because it is synonymous with the language used by the KKK.
The Dixie Chicks did not use vile comments against President Bush and no one blatantly disrespected him except for the Iraqi man who threw his shoe at him. The Dixie Chicks nonchalant comments about Bush were without malice or hatred. In addition, the Chicks have more class than Ted Nugent as they apologized to President Bush. Ted Nugent has not apologized to President Obama and chances are he will not.
Ted Nugent expressed his hatred of President Obama not because he dislikes his polices but because of his race. He is motivated to use vile and hateful comments of the president because he knows the right wing media and the GOP leadership will not condemn his outrageous comments.
All Americans regardless of their political orientation should condemn Ted Nugent for his vile and repugnant comments about President Obama. America has made great progress in race relations and President Obama is testimony of that. Ted Nugent's comments unfortunately, only serve to divide Americans and to push back the racial progress that so many people (whites and blacks) have sacrificed and struggled to overcome.
Jermel W. Shim is the author of Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse and A New Perspective on Race-related Problems in Corporate American Companies. http://www.jermelshim.com