America, Freedom, and Toby Keith

captain-america-and-george-bush-freedomMany people disagree with Toby Keith and his views on what it means to be an American. Artists such as The Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines have been known to speak out against Keith and his personal opinions. A week after 9/11, Toby Keith came out with a single titled “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American).” Keith noted on 60 Minutes II that it only took him 20 minutes to write this song.

I guess 20 minutes was all that was needed to express how Keith was feeling. In the first verse he explains how his father served in the army and how his nation is now under attack. When listening to this song we realize Keith is fully supportive of the war for various reasons. Critics have bashed this song for creating the appearance of Americans to be insensible. According to the CBS News review of the song, Natalie Maines stated that “she was embarrassed George Bush was from Texas” and that the song “made country music seem ignorant” (Leung).

But really, how in any way is this song ignorant? I enjoy listening to Toby Keith for this exact reason. He has a way of bringing out the patriotism for America to his audience. Keith has built his credentials for being a true American and has a great way of expressing it through his music. In fact, after releasing this song, CBS News stated that Keith has never been more famous or wealthy. The year the song dropped he will gross more than $45 million from his music.

Lyrics such as “We’ll put a boot in your ass, It’s the American way”, is one of the specific lines out of the song that has seen criticism for Toby Keith. Seeing this criticism, it makes me wonder what the people who speak out against Keith would want to listen to after 9/11? I was only in first grade when the twin towers went down, but I can assure you that if I were in high school when it happened and had heard this song, I would be so ecstatic to put a boot in the Taliban’s ass. I would not want try to make peace with the terrorists after 9/11, and I don’t understand how any true American can bash Toby Keith for stating how he feels about it.

toby-keith-WI-0109-lg-216x300Keith didn’t stop after seeing that some people did not agree with him. He went on to create an album titled Shock ‘N’ Y’all, which contains a collection of songs that some humanistic people might see as controversial. One specific song is titled “The Taliban Song.” Keith says, “Now, The Taliban song is a funny song. It’s about a peace-loving Afghanistan man who’s trying to get out of Afghanistan while the Taliban evening news report is telling everybody to remain calm.” Keith is representing the patriotic American that’s in most of us and by listening to his music we can relate. So yes, Natalie Maines and friends, justice has been served and the battle has raged, and I hope you’re sorry you messed with Toby Keith because he speaks the truth for the U.S. of A.

Leung, Rebecca. “Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue.”, 28 Oct. 2003. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. 


Filed under Politics, USA

2 Responses to America, Freedom, and Toby Keith

  1. Brent Borman

    Shortly after 9/11, my mother starting playing “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” religiously in the car with me. I was in third grade when the Twin Towers fell, and I can distinctly remember the general feeling of fear in the community. I was just barely old enough to understand that our country was under attack and it was a frightening prospect to me. Toby Keith’s music helped dissuade these fears. Hearing him talk about putting a boot in the Taliban’s ass was incredibly powerful for me as a youngster, not simply for the profanity but because it conveyed a sense of justice. Instead of sitting around feeling scared and being told what to do, Keith demanded action and retaliation. It was empowering as a kid in post 9/11 America to know that somebody with influence such as Toby Keith was upset as well, and that he planned to do something about it. I will always have respect for Toby Keith and how he stood up for his country.

  2. It’s true that ten years ago country music seemed to be torn up into factions over the Toby Keith-Natalie Maines controversy. Looking back, I think the fight damaged both of their careers. The Dixie Chicks recorded one more album then disbanded. (Natalie’s solo career hasn’t really taken off, in terms of radio play.) Keith had several hits for a few years afterward, but I think being the voice of American pride was ultimately limiting. His last #1 came a couple of years ago with the song “Made in America,” which criticizes people for buying products made outside the United States. Now that he’s reached middle age, it will be interesting to see whether he has a comeback and how younger artists will create his legacy.

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