Johnny Cash was NOT a Republican
The songs of Johnny Cash--"the Man in Black"--were beacons of light for those who were unjustly locked up, kicked down, and knocked around. He sang from his heart for the poor, the imprisoned, and the oppressed.
And, as John Nichols wrote in his Nation weblog after Cash's death last year, "Though he was not known as an expressly political artist, Cash waded into the controversies of his times with a passion. Like the US troops in Vietnam who idolized him, he questioned the wisdom of that war. And in the mid-1960s, at the height of his success, he released an album that challenged his country's treatment of Native Americans."
But it was his songs which really marked him as a man of the people. He took sides in his songs, and he preferred the side of those imprisoned by the law -- and by poverty and hard luck.
Yet, this Tuesday the GOP and the American Gas Association, a network of 154 utility multinationals, are shamelessly trying to appropriate the singer-songwriter's legacy by hosting an exclusive "celebration" of Cash for the Republican delegation from Tennessee inside the elite corridors of Sotheby's auction house.
In response, an ad-hoc
group of activists have created a website to honor Cash's memory (www.defendjohnnycash.org)
and to express what is safe to say would be Cash's outrage over the Bush
Administration's malign neglect of the poor in this country. Do you think
Cash would be supporting the President's economic policies? How about
the Iraq war? If you think the answer is "no," then come join
other Johnny Cash defenders at 4:00pm (dressed in black if you'd like)
on Tuesday, August 31st, at Sotheby's at 1334 York Avenue in Manhattan.
And check out a Tennessee group that is doing work in Cash's tradition: Music Row Democrats, formed in December 2003 by a group of Nashville music industry leaders who were "fed up with feeling as if they had to apologize for being Democrats, particularly when they knew that Republican policies were negatively affecting the lives of the working class people who make up much of the audience for their music."