Friday, August 12, 2005

Open Letter: Clint Black Should Reconsider

Dear Clint Black webmaster (,

My name is Brendan Skwire, and I am a huge fan of country music, including everything from Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys to Alan Jackson to the Dixie Chicks. I play electric bass in one country band, acoustic guitar in another, and upright bass in a bluegrass band. As the David Alan Coe song goes, "I can sing you every song Hank Williams ever wrote..." I drive my coworkers crazy listening to country. I am definitely a fan of Clint Black.

However, I am utterly appalled, offended, and downright angry that Mr. Black is going to play at the Pentagon's America Supports Your Freedom Walk, an event that blatantly politicizes the national tragedy of September 11, and I want to write to Clint's manager to ask Mr. Black to reconsider.

I live two hours from Manhattan, and have many many friends in the city: permit me to offer you a few brief stories.

The mother of my son narrowly escaped with her life on September 11: she was a temp worker in Tower 1, and if she had arrived to work an hour earlier, she would be dead.

My best friend's brother arrived at work that day only to watch a plane crash into the World Trade Center. He was unable to reach his wife across the river in New Jersey, since the cell towers perched atop the buildings were destroyed, and all the landline circuits were overwhelmed. He couldn't reach her until 6:00 PM that evening after walking to the Bronx.

Another friend's finace was evacuated from the smaller tower, and walked miles uptown to where she was teaching a 6th grade science class. He arrived, covered with ashes and debris, sobbing "Look what happened, look what happened."

I was in New York a week after the attacks, and my friend, standing on a dock in Williamsburg looking across the East River, I could still smell the burning and see the smoke rising from the hole that had been punched in the city's skyline.

I am as patriotic as the next guy: it's hard not to be when you love country music as much as I do. But this is a bad decision by Mr. Black, and he should not allow his music to be employed in a crude government sponsored pep rally that has more to do with Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with September 11 and had never attacked us, than it does with the World Trade Center attacks.

May I remind you that those responsible for September 11, Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda buddies, are still at large? May I remind you that we had warnings all summer in the President's Daily Briefing titled "Al Qaeda Determined to Strike Inside US"? Or that the Taliban are resurging in Afghanistan as our troops are overstretched and tied down in Iraq, with no end in sight?

This event is little more than another attempt to conflate Iraq and 9/11, an association that even President Bush admits is untrue. The "America Supports Your Freedom Walk" does not honor the dead of 9/11: rather, it uses them as props in a crass political stunt. It does the same with our veterans as well, who would be better honored if the President and the Republicans in Congress would adequately fund health care and services for returning veterans instead of cutting said funding.

I know that Clint Black is a straight shooter, and I am sure his motives are pure: who wouldn't want to be involved with an event that honors the victims of September 11? However, given the nature of the "America Supports Your Freedom Walk", I believe Clint should reconsider and back out. This is event is clearly not what it purports to be, and I for one will cease to be a fan of Mr. Black or his music should he decide to participate.

Please provide me with a way to get in touch with Clint's management. I thank you for your time, and hope to hear from you within the next 24 hours.

Brendan Skwire

[UPDATE: I am posting this to the bcftu blog because I have waited two days for a response from Clint's webmaster, and have received nothing. I am personally offended by the lackadaisical attitude of the Black team, and have chosen to make this letter public. The links were not included in the original piece.]


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