Tag Archive for: Pop Culture

‘Made in America’: Toby Keith, American Patriotism, and the Decay of the Democratic Party

Country music legend and patriot par excellence Toby Keith has gone on to meet his Maker. The Oklahoma-born singer passed away Monday night last week at the age of 62, after a years-long battle with stomach cancer. Days before he passed away, Keith shared in an interview that his Christian faith sustained him throughout his experience with cancer. “You have to have your faith,” he said. “Thank God that I got it too. You take it for granted on days that things are good, and you lean on it when days are bad. It’s taught me to lean on it a little more every day.”

Especially after his passing, the “Made In America” singer has been praised for his unabashed, unapologetic patriotic spirit. The son of a soldier, Keith devoted much of his music and career to honoring the military veterans who fought so long and so hard to keep America safe. For example, from 2002 to 2013, Keith did 11 tours with the United Service Organizations, performing for U.S. military servicemembers in 15 countries and on three naval ships. The country star also founded the “I Love This Bar and Grill” restaurant chain, which offered free meals and drinks to military vets and often featured surprise visits and performances from Keith and his country music friends, like Gretchen Wilson.

Keith’s discography is also jam-packed with enough patriotism to make even George Washington smile in his grave. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the anthem “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” penned in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Originally intended only for live performances, Keith said that U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General James L. Jones told him it was his “duty as an American citizen” to record the song for an album. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country list — one of Keith’s 20 number-one singles. Another of those songs, 2011’s “Made in America,” pays tribute to Keith’s family, especially his all-American father. Going beyond support for America’s military, the song laments the nation’s growing reliance on foreign industry and energy, as well as the even-then-burgeoning absence of patriotism among Americans.

The “Beer for My Horses” singer’s life and political evolution is also prognostic not only of the deep political divisions that have rent the U.S. over the past two decades in particular, but most especially of how the Democratic Party has devolved. Keith used to bill himself as “a conservative Democrat who is sometimes embarrassed for his party,” and in April of 2008 he praised then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama as “the best Democratic candidate we’ve had since Bill Clinton.” Just a few months later, he told Country Music Television that he had left the Democratic Party and registered as an Independent. Years later, in 2017, Keith performed a concert in honor of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

In the hours after Keith’s family announced his death, left-wingers began lambasting him as a “hateful,” “bigoted,” “racist” “misogynist” — and a whole host of expletives besides — further exhibiting the animosity and hostility leftists harbor toward conservatives. The most revealing aspect of this vitriol (and, to authentic patriots, perhaps the least surprising) is that the political and ideological faction formerly known as the Democratic Party considers mere patriotism to be a definitive hallmark of “the enemy,” conservatism.

Patriotism was once among the most fundamental prerequisites for that condition known as “being an American.” Certainly the first Americans had patriotism in spades: men and women willing to risk life, limb, and even liberty for a nation that no one recognized except for them. George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams receive the same vitriol from modern-day leftists, their monuments are torn down — like Toby Keith, they are labeled bigots and racists — like Toby Keith, their ardent patriotism is seen as a threat.

And in all honesty, it is. The leftist ideology is predicated on a hatred for America and the ideals, values, and traditions that form the basis of her founding. Once upon a time, even the Democratic Party recognized the worth of patriotism — Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, and his brother Bobby would have all died for their country — but today’s Democrats are hellbent on not only undermining but outright destroying love for one’s nation and the principles upon which that nation was founded. The Democratic Party of old is long dead. There was once a time when Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, agreed on what outcome and end result was good but had different ideas of how to go about achieving that ultimate good.

Now, the brain (and spiritual) cancer called leftism has infected the Democratic Party — and, to a certain extent, even the Republican Party, at least its treacherous old guard — driving out patriots and those loyal to America on the basis of… well, patriotism and loyalty to America. Toby Keith was driven out from the Democratic Party, left politically homeless by the party that once stood up for blue-collar workers and against corporate elitism — the same political party which has since crippled the middle class, blue-collar workers, and veterans, and which now almost exclusively serves the interests of corporate elites, legislating the same radical social agendas pushed by seemingly every major corporate entity from Hollywood to the military-industrial complex to international mega department stores and fast food chains.

As Toby Keith’s example bears out, American patriots, devoted to the nation’s foundational principles, find themselves inexorably drawn to (and indeed pushed towards) conservatism, especially as the onslaught of leftism pervades the Democratic Party and every institution it has captured and dominated over the past three decades.

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The Swiftian Candidate: How a Pop Star Might Impact the Presidential Election

For decades, celebrities have insisted on involving themselves in politics and political commentary, whether they have any moral or intellectual basis for doing so or not. Whether it’s middle-aged, wine-box variety feminists on “The View” or the latest thespian to mistake an increasingly-irrelevant acting award for a doctorate in political science, the rich and famous insist on airing their pernicious political positions in, more often than not, the most noxious, arrogant, self-aggrandizing terms imaginable. Even the legendary Narcissus would blush to hear a politically-charged Academy Award acceptance speech — at least all he did was stare at his reflection and leave the rest of the world alone.

One of today’s most prominent celebrities, however, was largely silent on the subject of politics for much of her career, but now has the potential wherewithal to sway nearly a fifth of voters in 2024. According to a new survey, country star-turned pop icon Taylor Swift’s endorsement would likely influence 18% of voters in America, including about 30% of voters under the age of 35. Of course, Swift is likely to endorse the incompetent, geriatric incumbent Joe Biden.

This should not be a surprise, nor a puzzle to figure out. The pop star previously endorsed the Biden-Harris campaign in 2020, posting a platter of Biden-Harris campaign-sticker-style cookies to Instagram. Even before this, in the documentary “Miss Americana,” Swift lamented not having used her influence to criticize then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She also blasted Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in the 2018 midterms, calling the staunchly pro-life politician “Trump in a wig” and endorsing Blackburn’s opponent, pro-abortion Democrat and former Volunteer State governor Phil Bredesen.

In the wake of the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Swift took to social media to defend abortion as “women’s rights to their own bodies,” posting a pro-abortion eulogy by Michelle Obama. She has also been a proponent of the LGBT agenda, calling on fans to oppose pro-family, pro-marriage legislation and legislators and announcing Pride Month dedications.

According to a New York Times report, Biden campaign aides and staffers are lobbying for Swift’s endorsement a second time around. “The biggest and most influential endorsement target is Ms. Swift,” the report states. “Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a top Biden surrogate, all but begged Ms. Swift to become more involved in Mr. Biden’s campaign when he spoke to reporters after a Republican primary debate in September.” Apparently, the Biden team has even considered aligning campaign stops with Swift’s record-breaking “Eras” tour.

It seems ludicrous — laughably so — that a woman who’s made a career out of singing about picking the wrong guy is able to practically direct people how to vote. But setting aside the irony entailed by glancing at Swift’s catalog of songs and failed relationships, the fact that a single, politically-illiterate billionaire celebrity can effectively command a fifth of voters is disturbing, to say the very least, and actually reveals some of the chief flaws of democratic systems.

First and foremost, Swift’s political power is indicative of how far the Western world — America in particular — has fallen from God. C.S. Lewis once quipped in an essay, “Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

Christ the King has been forced out of the public square in secular Western society. In His stead, the masses now do exactly as Lewis predicted and worship celebrities, with Swift towering above them all. Without a God to worship, the public will inevitably worship lesser gods. This lesson is written throughout history: the ancients would worship and sacrifice to Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Horus, and countless others. Without the revelation of the one true God, Perfection Himself, these false gods were but exaggerations of common human strengths and weaknesses.

Now, in the ages since Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, a new sort of god has come to be. No more can men conjure gods in their imaginations, unseen beings responsible for thunder and lightning; instead, the public now worships those among them who are deemed to have transcended common human limitations: billionaire businessmen, cutting-edge scientists, and talented performers are all glorified in God’s place. Under the tutelage of the Serpent, man has usurped the throne of God — if only in his own mind. Where God invites man to become one with Him, man’s new idea of god promises that every man can become a god, and on his own terms, not on Someone Else’s. Without Christ at the center of the public square, man now gobbles poison, and Swift is peddling it with her views on abortion and sex.

In fact, Swift’s very few political statements directly contradict the noble notion of self-sacrifice inherent in a Christ-centered public square: endorsing the killing of one’s own children for whatever reason — career, reputation, economic ease, or just consequence-free sex — and supporting the sterile LGBT agenda, incapable of producing children or building families, in direct conflict with God’s design for human sexuality. Like the rest of the cultural elite horde, Swift buys into, repackages, and mass-distributes the Luciferian agenda. But unlike the rest of the cultural elite horde, her influence may be enough to alter the outcome of an election.

Finally, there is the alarming degree of political illiteracy prevalent among her fans. Self-declared “Swifties” willing and ready to base their vote on the pop star’s endorsement are not informing their political worldview but allowing someone else to form it for them. One politician’s endorsement of another is a means of informing the political worldview of citizens, a way of saying, “If my policies align with your priorities, then consider voting for this guy, there’s a lot of overlap.” But if swaths of Americans are prepared to vote for a candidate based only on one individual’s recommendation, these people are not bearing in mind the countless generations of Americans who came before them and fought, killed, bled, and died for their children’s children’s children to be able to choose for themselves their leader, instead of having a despot thrust upon them. They are not bearing in mind the God-given responsibility they have to form their consciences well and vote accordingly. They are not bearing in mind God’s commandments and designs and how those ought to be lived out in a virtuous society.

The ”democratic” part of our democratic republic is increasingly falling under the control of a handful of powerful, uber-wealthy cultural elites who dictate where political power goes and how it is exercised. Sounds an awful lot like tyranny.

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.