Maxed Out 

America marches on its stomach

Since I hope one day to be able to cross the border into the United States without undergoing a body cavity search, I’d just like to make my position perfectly clear: I am not ashamed George W. Bush is from Texas.

Natalie Maines, the vertically-challenged lead singer of country music group Dixie Chicks, has earned the wrath of good ol’ boys and girls from sea to shining sea by telling a London audience – they listen to country music in London? There’s a picture you don’t want to dwell on for too long. – she and the other Chicks were "ashamed" the prez was from their home state, Texas. Seems Natalie wasn’t too happy with Bush Lite’s warmongering. Or was it his summary dismissal of any country who disagreed with his first-strike doctrine, unilateral neutering of the United Nations, or upholding the quaint Republican tradition of driving the country’s finances into the toilet? Hell, maybe she was just tired of hearing him say nuculer instead of nuclear.

Doesn’t matter. Country music fans being, shall we say, conservative – reference Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee – reacted pretty much as you might expect. Radio stations dropped the Dixie Chicks from rotation, organized Ditch the Chicks garbage bins where outraged listeners could trash their once-cherished CDs, and one station in Louisiana (Motto: No son, you cain’t marry yer sister ‘til yer father’s done with her.) hired a tractor to roll over and crush Chicks paraphernalia. To paraphrase another country singer, "Freedom’s just another word for knowin’ when to keep your mouth shut."

Such is the mood in the home and native land of my birth.

But I’m not ashamed the unelected president of the US is from Texas. Having grown up – figuratively speaking – in New Mexico, you have to understand one thing: New Mexicans aren’t very fond of Texans nor things Texas.

Texas is what you might call a have-not state in the magnificent natural beauty category. Where New Mexico has splendid mountains, Texas has swamps… and badlands… and sprawling cities… and a total dearth of anything you’d want to go out of your way to see. As a result, the string of ski hills in New Mexico are seasonally invaded by Texans. When I was growing up, one of the most popular bumper stickers on cars bearing New Mexico licence plates said, Ski Texas! Completely failing to understand what any right-thinking person might have against Texas, the Texans didn’t get it.

But all that doesn’t matter. By the time Pique publishes this on Friday, war will be raging in Iraq. For all I know, by the time I finish writing this, war will be raging. Governor Bush gave Saddam 48 hours to git outta Dodge. That means he has to count and remember Mickey’s little hand going around four full times. Things could happen earlier than we expect.

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