Break the Chain Open Letter to the Dixie Chicks

Created 4/4/2003 (4/4/2003) One reason this chain is so popular is that it says exactly what many of us are thinking. Another reason for its popularity is the attribution. It pits classic extremes against one another: the entertainer who is out of touch with the realities of politics and public opinion but speaks out about them anyway, and the brave soldier who knows all too well the realities of war and appeals to the everyman.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Dixie Chicks - A Soldiers Remarks

Letter from radio station website in Lubbock, home of the DixieChick that spewed forth about our president:

Name: LT Layne McDowell
Date: 03/15/03
Time: 01:54:49 PM

An open letter to the Dixie Chicks: Earlier this week, while performing in London, you stated that you were ashamed that our President is from your home state. I wonder if you realized how many Americans would be listening. This American was listening. This Texan is ashamed that you come from my state.

I serve my country as an officer in the United States Navy. Specifically, I fly F-14 Tomcats off carriers around the world,executing the missions that preserve the very freedom you claim to exercise. I have proudly fought for my country in the skies over Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan without regret.

Though I may disagree wholeheartedly with your comments, I will defend to the death your right to say them, in America. But for you to travel to a foreign land and publicly criticize our Commander in Chief is cowardice behavior. Would you have so willingly made those comments while performing for a patriotic, flag-waving crowd of Texans in Lubbock? I would imagine not.

How dare you pocket profits off songs about soldiers, their deaths and patriotism while criticizing their Commander in Chief abroad, even while they prepare to give their lives to ensure your own freedom of speech.

Please ask yourself, what have you done to deserve that sacrifice? Do not try to justify your comments by claiming that you made them only because you care about innocent lives. Never once in our history have we committed troops to war for the purpose of taking innocent lives. We do it to protect innocent lives, even yours. If the world leaders of the late 1930's had the vision and courage of our present Commander in Chief, perhaps the evil men who caused the death of millions in WWII would have never had the opportunity to harm a soul. The potential loss of millions of lives in the future at the hands of today's evil men necessitate action.

In a separate correspondence, I am returning to you each and every Dixie Chicks CD and cassette that I have ever purchased. Never again will I allow my funds to support your behavior. All you have done is to add your name to a growing list of American "Celebrities" who have failed to realize that they have obtained their successes on the backs of the American blue-collar workers such as our servicemen and women.

To Natalie Maines: This Texan, this American will continue to risk his life to guarantee your freedoms. What will you do to deserve it?

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

By now, most of the world knows of the infamous March, 2003 lapse of judgement of Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines when she told a London audience "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The term "Dixie Chicked" immediately entered the popular vernacular to describe the explosive and immediate public reaction to a celebrity who makes unpatriotic statements in a time of war.

American outcry about Maines' statement was immediate and severe. Radio stations voluntarily pulled the Chicks' music from their playlists and thousands of outspoken armchair activists called for fans and formal fans to boycott the bands shows and albums. Maines and band management have repeatedly apologized for the comment and offered explanations for it, but, as they say, the damage is done. Just days after the London concert, the chain letter above began making the rounds.

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KLLL "The Big 96" in Lubbock, TX, proudly claims to be the first place this open letter was posted. Unfortunately, they go no further to explain how it came to them or to what degree they have verified its origins. It may have come to them directly from the author or passed on to them as a chain letter, just as you got it. It is literally posted on dozens of sites across the Web. Most attribute it to Lt. McDowell, but a few are either unattributed or offer conflicting credits.

I found several unrelated news items in Lubbock-area news sources that confirm the existence and Navy credentials of Lt. Layne McDowell. In reality, there's probably little reason to doubt he is the author but we're still lacking that final, crucial bit of proof to say definitively that he is.

Many readers who asked me to check this one out expressed that they were eager to send it on if it were true. To that, I offer this argument: The problem with chain letters like this one is that their authors frequently underestimate the reach of e-mail and definitely overestimate the medium's reliability. Opinion-packed and timely rants often generate much more attention and backlash than the author ever imagined - or was prepared for. They also tend to circulate for a very long time, causing unpredictable long-term consequences.

Furthermore, chains like this have a tendency to change as they forward. Well-meaning forwarders frequently add their own comments - often pure opinion, misleading or outright false - that are sometimes mistaken as part of the original. Also, automatic changes to e-mail formatting can cause thoughts to be broken and portions of the text to be lost. I have already noticed subtle differences in the text circulating via e-mail and that posted on KLLL.com (assuming that version is true to McDowell's original). Without confirmation that McDowell wrote it and intended it for a global audienc, nor a reliable "original" to compare it to, I must recommend you break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: Real, But...
References: KLLL.com, The Guardian

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