Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines vented some political frustration on Twitter yesterday, calling out what she sees as a continuing double standard in the country music world — specifically, the tolerance of conservative commentary and disapproval of liberal views by country radio.
Responding to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's controversial statement regarding Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Second Amendment advocates a day earlier, Maines referenced the swift backlash she and the Dixie Chicks were given in 2003 following her now infamous comments about then-President George W. Bush.
"I get banned for not liking Bush and now Trump can practically put a hit out on Hillary and he's still all over country radio! Hypocrites!" she wrote.
It wasn't clear if Maines was referring to Trump appearances on news and talk radio programs favored by country listeners, or his political advertisements being played by country stations themselves, but the comparison does highlight a few interesting parallels.
In 2003, just as the U.S. was preparing to enter the second Iraq war, Maines famously told a concert crowd in London she was ashamed to be from the same state as President George W. Bush. The Dixie Chicks were then labeled traitors and removed from almost all country radio playlists as rallies were held to steamroll their records, halting their career.
Fast forward to Tuesday, August 9th, when Trump riled up a crowd of supporters in Wilmington, North Carolina, by claiming that if Clinton wins the presidency, she will appoint a Supreme Court justice who will then work to abolish the Second Amendment right to bear arms — and that there may be a way to stop her.
"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," Trump said, according to The New York Times. "Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don't know."
That last part has been interpreted as a call for violence against Clinton, and was quickly condemned by Democrats and political pundits across the country, including journalist Dan Rather, who issued a blistering op-ed on Facebook.
"Nobody who is seeking a leadership position, especially the presidency, the leadership of the country, should do anything to countenance violence, and that’s what he was saying," responded Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine.
Maines took the statement the same way, and is now outraged that her comments — far more benign than what many see as dangerous, violent rhetoric that further poisons the American political process — seemed to be treated much harsher by those working in country radio.
I get banned for not liking Bush and now Trump can practically put a hit out on Hillary and he's still all over country radio! Hypocrites!— Natalie Maines (@1NatalieMaines) August 11, 2016
But in another striking similarity to the Dixie Chicks case, Trump says his comment was not intended the way it has been taken, and that he was merely suggesting gun rights advocates could pool their votes to keep Clinton out of the Oval Office.
"There can be no other interpretation," he told Fox News. "I mean, give me a break."
The Dixie Chicks are currently on their DCX MMXVI Tour and will play a Nashville date on August 17th.