Standing Up For Your Beliefs: Three Notables

My mother believed that life is about serving others. And she taught me never to back down from a bully which it turns out was pretty good advice. I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic party’s nominee. Hillary Clinton, 6/7/16, notable for standing up for her beliefs

Standing up against bullies. Standing up for your beliefs. Standing up against difficult odds. To the probable detriment of her popularity, Hillary Clinton has done it throughout her life and career.

As had boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) who, though now widely revered as an American hero, regularly took disliked stances. The Associated Press: “Ali spurned white America when he joined the Black Muslims and changed his name. He defied the draft at the height of the Vietnam war — ‘I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong’ — and lost 3 1/2 years from the prime of his career.”

“You lose nothing when fighting for a cause…In my mind the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about,” Ali had said. As recently as six months ago, he’d noted that he wasn’t about “political correctness” but about speaking his mind.

Now back on tour after a lengthy hiatus, singing trio the Dixie Chicksvia lead singer Natalie Maines, spoke up in 2004 against George W. Bush’s wrong-headed decision to go to war with Iraq. The consequent backlash from conservatives and the country music scene caused them significant anguish and put a major dent in what had been a soaring career.

Not that their 2006 album Taking the Long Way, containing a memorably satisfying retort to all the bullshit they’d experienced, went without high regard—“Not Ready to Make Nice” earned them song and record of the year at the Grammy Awards. A few key lyrics:

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time
To go ’round and ’round and ’round

The 2007 documentary Shut Up and Sing showed viewers how the Dixie Chicks “paid the price” for their beliefs. Explained within “Not Ready to Make Nice” is the movie’s title:

I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets, and I don’t mind saying
It’s a sad, sad story
When a mother will teach her daughter
That she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Saying that I better
Shut up and sing
Or my life will be over?

What film reviewer Roger Ebert said back then:

To be willing to stand unprotected in front of thousands of people and sing your songs despite such a threat takes courage, and it is a brave defense of American values, although their critics cannot see it that way. ‘Shut Up and Sing’ tells the story of three young women whose belief in America is bred in the bone, and it shames their critics.

The trailer sets up their situation pretty well:

The Dixie Chicks, by the way, continue not to back down. Reports about recent concerts here and abroad indicate that a pre-show video contains content about Planned Parenthood and other social causes. And when the trio performs “Goodbye Earl,” a vengeful song about domestic violence, their scorn becomes visually clear via a gigantic photo of presidential candidate Donald Trump, “defaced with a devilish mustache, goatee and horns” (Huffington Post).

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