It was 16 years ago this past March when the once skyrocketing career of the country music singing group The Dixie Chicks came crashing back to Earth after making a comment disparaging the president while performing on foreign soil.
The Texas-based trio of sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, along with lead singer Natalie Maines, were performing at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theater in London and kicking off their international Top of the World Tour following the multi-platinum release of their album “Home.”
At the time, then-president George W. Bush was supporting the invasion of Iraq, and Maines took the opportunity to voice her opposition to the impending war.
“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with ya’ll,” Maines said. “We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Reaction from the other side of the pond in America was swift and, as the coming weeks and months would prove, unrelenting. Many country fans and Americans in general felt the group betrayed a sacred trust between the American people and their elected president, regardless of which side of the vote they had landed on.
Simply put: You don’t “dis” the president when you’re on foreign soil.
I was living in Texas at the time and I can tell you that the sense of betrayal felt by the Lone Star State ran deep.
Ultimately, the backlash ended what had been a cosmic rise to superstardom.
Now, 16 years later, in a not-so-subtle twist of irony, it’s the American people and the intelligence agencies representing their interest around the world who have been — and continue to be — disrespected by the comments made by their president while on foreign soil.
While a few in the U.S. Congress have used terms like “shameful” and “bizarre” to describe President Trump’s continued support of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s denial of election meddling — in 2016 and in the future — the vast majority have offered little more than finger wagging and generalities. The president offered no such generalities in specifically calling out the FBI and the Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between foreign and domestic interests in swaying the 2016 election.
In an era where taking a knee in protest has created so much controversy and division, it would seem we’ve come a long way since the Dixie Chicks’ remarks drew disdain from so many Americans.
But, apparently, we’ve come a long way in the wrong direction.