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Frederick B. Meekins
July 4, 2002

Americans honor the Fourth of July to commemorate the document that spelled-out our rights to the world at large and to remember the conflict that helped make those rights a viable political reality. However, to some, those values and sentiments embodied by this civic celebration should be shunned when they do not conform to prevailing liberal sensibilities.

The media in the United States exists under the protections of the First Amendment to propagate speech unfettered by government control. But what mechanism exists to protect those whose speech has been stifled by the media?

Two country musicians have been forced to contemplate the above quandary in light of the response to their respective songs relating the events of September 11th to America’s historical consciousness. Both artists have been censored for similar reasons.

The first to fall from the favor of media elites was Toby Keith. Keith was to have sung his song “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” for ABC’s Fourth of July special to be hosted by Peter Jennings. Likewise, Charlie Daniels was to have sung his “The Last Fallen Hero” on “The Capitol Fourth” to be broadcast on PBS. Both musicians were told their songs were inappropriate for the national venues in which they hoped to perform.

Of Toby Keith’s song, the Associated Press was told, “This show is meant to be a celebration of America’s strength and diversity. By his own definition, it’s an angry song, and that’s not what our producers wanted to open the celebration with.” Basically, say what you want so long as you agree with our placid internationalism where all points of view are equal and no culture better than any other. Seems there’s not much diversity to go around when we are compelled to display a uniformity of opinion.

There is something else at work here since both Keith’s and Daniels’ songs embody the American strength and character both of these concerts claim to highlight. Keith’s song declares, “Justice will be served and the battle will rage. This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage. And you will be sorry you messed with the U.S. of A. “

What other country would be strong enough to carry out such a promise after a potentially debilitating attack? Certainly not the sissy nations of Europe so mired in cultural relativism and political correctness that they’d probably thank the terrorists for the attack or open their borders even wider to the flood of immigration.

Daniels’ song, “The Last Fallen Hero”, is a more reflective piece recognizing the sacrifice of those lost in the September attacks and the precarious point in history at which the nation now stands. The intent of his song is epitomized by the stanza expressing the following: “Oh the winds of war are blowing and there’s no way of knowing where this bloody path we’re traveling will lead. But we must follow to the end or face it all again.”

Yet apparently such profundity has very little to do with the real meaning of Independence Day according to the liberal media mindset. Regarding these kinds of songs, the producers of ABC’s extravaganza told the Associated Press that’s not what they wanted their show to be about.

A number of the Founding Fathers always intended the Fourth of July to be a joyous occasion. However, I don’t think they had scantily-clad dancing girls adorned in American-flag bikinis prancing around on stage with Barry Bostwick in front of the Capitol in mind when it came to celebrating this particular holiday as depicted in file footage from previous years. Since these Forefathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the sake of this great nation, I doubt they would object to us taking part of this sanctified day under consideration in which we, as their descendents, now find ourselves in a conflict --- not that unlike the one they found themselves in so long ago --- to memorialize those paying the highest price possible for the freedom of our country.

Toby Keith contends that Peter Jennings argued that a song with the lyrical content in question did not belong on his network. While some might object to the mild expletive mentioned in Keith’s ballad, it is actually sedate compared to much of the bilge on TV and I can assure you its omission had nothing to do with moral concerns.

Jennings’ network is, after all, the one that bequeathed America such edifying television fare as NYPD Blue, the raucous police drama renowned for its raunchy language and for broadcasting the bare backsides of its lead thespians. If ABC only broadcasts those programming elements with which it agrees 100%, decent Americans ought to wake up and wonder at just what values (or lack there of) are being embraced by these media apparatchiks and seriously ponder whether these reprobates should be allowed to continue their stewardship of the public airwaves.

Sometimes one is forced to stop and figure out just whose side the media is really on. With the exception of Fox News, after all, many of those affiliated with these various journalistic organizations went to great lengths in justifying as to why being associated with the American flag was beneath them as an unacceptable breach in their highly-vaunted but over-inflated sense of objectivity. In the soapbox section of his webpage, Charlie Daniels laments, “I truly don’t understand the actions of PBS, the network which espouses the causes of some pretty far out characters in the name of free speech.”

And as Americans appreciate their heritage of freedom and take stock on this special day of where our country finds itself in relation to the tangled web of despotic nations and nihilistic revolutionaries attempting to snuff out freedom for all mankind, they would do well to consider the so-called cultured despisers of liberty who would rend asunder our preeminence in the world just assuredly as any diaper-headed terrorist, but in simply a far more subtle and thus possibly far more seditious manner.

(Enhanced for Netscape)

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