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Speaking Out

The Mind of James Donahue

Kudos To Linda Ronstadt


By James Donahue


“I love her music, but I hate her politics,” one woman told a reporter at the door of singer Linda Ronstadt’s recent and controversial concert.


I have heard that kind of thinking before. Someone said it back during the Vietnam War, when Hollywood star Jane Fonda went to the war zone, visited the enemy, and publicly spoke out against the conflict.


Fonda put her reputation and career on the line when she did that. In those days it was not popular to speak out against our government’s military policies, even if they were wrong. It appears that it still isn’t.


History has proven Fonda was right. That senseless conflict was the first war ever lost by the United States. Even though we had the most modern military army in the world, it could not stand against the resolve of the Viet Cong and the type of jungle guerilla warfare that enemy fought.


Now we are engaged in yet another war that looks more and more every day like an un-winnable quagmire in Iraq. It was a war launched without good cause. And it is slowly costing the United States the lives of many good men and women.


Some of our best and most talented performers have paid dearly over the years for taking unpopular political stands. The great silent comedian and film producer Charlie Chaplin was driven to exile in Switzerland by the FBI because he was an alleged communist sympathizer.


Ronstadt has been unfairly attacked by the media for comments made during a performance at the Aladdin hotel and casino in Las Vegas. At the end of her concert she praised filmmaker Michael Moore and his anti-war documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”


A story in the Los Angeles Times said Ronstadt was “booed” off the stage by people in the show, and that she was thrown out of the theater by the owners.


It was a false report, but other newspapers picked it up and ran it without checking the facts.


In reality, the audience quietly listened to her comments. After the show the owners of the facility voiced their displeasure at what she said and asked her to leave the premises immediately. The incident got blown out of proportion.


When she did the same thing at a concert near Baltimore a few concert goers reportedly got up and left early. But not too early. She was in the middle of her last song of the concert. It has been my experience that people leave ball games and concerts slightly early to get a jump on the looming traffic jam. So were they really reacting to her remarks, or was it more media hype?


Thus Ronstadt joins such notables as Madonna, The Dixie Chicks and Whoopie Goldberg who have taken heat for speaking out against an unjust and unnecessary war.



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