DANIELS: I won’t just shut up and sing

America still a land of free speech

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Because I’m part of the Nashville music community, my mostly conservative views do not make me the anomaly or oddity I would be in the more urbane entertainment capitals. As many of my compatriots expound the value system of God, family, country and work just as I do, and as I tend to spend my off time among a mostly blue-collar crowd, I have very few face-to-face confrontations.

Most of my more vocal critics tend to hide behind Twitter avatars and email names, and most of them make ridiculous assumptions, such as if you oppose Obamacare, you want to sit back and watch all the poor people in the nation die, or if you want to see sanity at the border, you hate all Hispanics.

A while back, there was a lady who just couldn’t understand why I don’t think it is my obligation to pay for her contraception, as if it were an American woman’s right to assign her responsibility for getting pregnant to somebody who didn’t even participate. In my book, if you’re going to play, it’s your place to pay, and if she wants to stand at the door of a men’s room at a service station and hand out coins for the boys to use in the condom machines, that’s her business. I’m just not going to give her any quarters.

Sometimes I’ll receive valid, courteous questions about why I feel the way I do about certain issues. I respond in kind, and there is potential for constructive conversation. There are always two sides to every story, and nobody is wrong all the time, with the possible exception of a few people on Capitol Hill.

Of course, I ignore the “I hope you drop dead with an incurable virus” kind of comments because responding only fans the flames, and you may as well try to reason with a cement mixer.

Some people really seem to think they’re insulting me when they call me a redneck, but I don’t think those people even know what an honest-to-goodness redneck is. You see, a redneck is not somebody riding around in a pickup truck shooting at road signs with a handgun and throwing empty beer bottles on the side of the road. Where I come from, a redneck is just a hardworking man who gets up before the sun does and spends the day working outside, getting the back of his neck rosy in the process. I happen to think those folks are the salt of the earth, and I’m honored to be considered one.

I’d say one of the most appalling things about America today is the lack of original and informed opinion, as some of the most vocal of the amateur pundits quote verbatim something they’ve heard or read. When they’re asked to explain, their position fades away into cyberspace, and they’re unable to put up even a cursory defense of something they’ve stated vehemently just a few moments before.

I am not a man of letters and have no claim or ties to academia, no degrees and actually feel extremely blessed to have made it through high school. But my opinions are all my own, based on 75 years of experience and what I call cowboy logic, which is 2 plus 2 is always 4, water never runs uphill, and if there’s smoke, there’s a fire somewhere.

I personally believe that man-made global warming is an international scam; I happen to think the United Nations is an anti-American, corrupt and toothless debating society that has violated its charter and its very name, for that matter; and I’m firmly convinced that the Southeastern Conference is the greatest football organization ever instituted by mankind.

So you probably can see where I have a few detractors.

With all her wrinkles and warts, the United States of America is still the most exciting place in the world. Waking up in a nation where every day a cure for cancer, a workable biofuel or a mind-numbing discovery at the bottom of the sea could be announced is unparalleled. We live in a place where a new technology or computer chip could propel the economy into hyperspace all over again, and that can’t happen just anywhere.

This is a place where diversity makes us colorful but unity makes us strong, and when we reason together, it becomes stronger still.

Let your voice be heard. I know I’m going to.

Charlie Daniels is a country music legend and author of “Ain’t No Rag” (Regnery, 2003) and “Growing Up Country” (Flying Dolphin Press/Broadway Books, 2007).

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