Hank Williams Jr. has been a controversial country music personality over the last year. His political opinions have never been a secret. He dislikes President Obama and has written a whole new album to illustrate his displeasure.
Entitled “Old School, New Rules” the country star blasts the current administration, although not in very fluent or concrete terms. Last year Williams’ song was booted from Monday Night Football after he compared President Obama to Hitler on Fox & Friends. Even the hosts were startled by the comparison. In that interview, the country legend said he supported Herman Cain.
Here’s a video of that uncomfortable moment:
The Chicago Tribune picked up on some of Williams’ lyrics that address the scandal, “…I’ll go find a network wants to treat me right, y’all can take the change and stick it out of sight” and “Hey Barack pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you so you’ll know where to go…”
Most recently, Williams has suggested that President Obama hates the United States and feels the need to apologize for the country. Yahoo! Music News quoted Williams in a not very coherent statement as saying:
It’s kind of obvious. I guess when you take a tour, a world tour, to apologize for America. He did that…You know, ‘We’re sorry.’ Going on a world tour saying, ‘We’re going to be even with everyone else, we only have 6 percent of the population.’
It’s not 100 percent clear exactly what Williams’ critique is in that statement, but he seems determined to keep representing an oppositional force to the Democratic party. Williams has even admitted that he does not listen or watch what Obama or his supporters are saying. He told Yahoo! Music News that “we flip the tube off when that guy [Obama] comes on. We’re not listening and we ain’t watching.”
Although Williams is blasting the current president of the country on his newest album, his fan base appears to be standing beside the country legend, perhaps even enjoying the angry message of the star. That’s better luck than the Dixie Chicks had in the early 2000s when they made their own political opinions heard, and in much less racialized or incendiary terms.
Natalie Maines, the lead singer, announced her disapproval of George W. Bush’s war policies in 2003 during a live concert, without resorting to comparisons to past fascist leaders. In fact, Maines said this: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” As a result, the band was threatened and abused for many months afterwards, their songs left off the radio, their CDs burned and smashed.
A strange, gendered double standard seems to permeate the country music world. I guess Hank Williams Jr. can take for granted that he can say what he wants without too many major consequences. In his own words: “I’ve always been that way. If you like it, fine; if you don’t, great.”
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons