By Tom Mailey
Caution: if you don’t like the opinions of others, stop reading now, because I’m gonna share mine about Shania Twain–the latest country artist (but probably not the last) to get ripped on social media for voicing her political opinion.
In an interview with the Guardian, Twain, a Canadian citizen, said that if she’d been able to vote in the 2016 American presidential election, she would’ve voted for Donald Trump because “even though he’s offensive, he seemed honest.”
That’s all it took for opponents of the President to jump down her digital throat, to the point that she was compelled to issue an apology and a four-part clarification on Twitter which, if you’d like to read it, can be found here
But my question to her would be: why? Why cave to online pressure and feel like she needs to walk back words that were spoken honestly and in candor? Isn’t that what we say we want from our public figures? Or is that only when we agree with them?
By the same token, artists who lean toward the other end of the political spectrum and speak out, like Tim McGraw, The Brothers Osborne and Maren Morris have all done recently, should likewise be free from feeling obligated to appease or apologize to those fans that disagree with them.
And fans themselves? They shouldn’t be so easily butt-hurt.
Sorry for my candor but…when did we become such babies that we can no longer handle co-existing with those who see the world a little differently than ourselves? Someone speaks up about gun control and immediately that person’s work or business needs to be boycotted! Someone voices support of the President and instantly thousands question their character and denounce their very existence! It’s ridiculous, over-dramatic and does nothing but perpetuate the ugly divisiveness that plagues our country right now.
Of course, fans are free to speak up, clap back and react whenever and however they want. That’s part of the beauty of free speech. And I suspect they’ll continue to do so. But how great would it be if a few of them–a few of us— drew a nice long breath before hitting reply, and really considered that there is room in this world for more than just whatever our point of view is?
As long as what another person is espousing isn’t hateful, bullying or threatening (there is never room for that), why not heed the words of Hank Williams Jr (words he himself might’ve done well to heed a time or two over the years) from his 1985 hit I’m For Love:
“If you don’t like it/Can’t ya just let it rest?”
Sounds like great advice to me. But hey, that’s just my opinion.