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.
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.