Posted on 04.28.2017

Fiddle Players Have Opinions Too

Once in a while I get a communication from someone who has read one of my columns or social media remarks which says something like, "Shut up and sing" or "You should just stick to your fiddle playing."

Would you tell a carpenter who made a political or social comment to you to, "Shut up and drive your nails?"

Or tell a plumber "You should stick with your pipe wrenches?"

Probably not. Then why deny a person the opportunity to speak out in a public forum regardless of their profession?

I am very careful to keep my life as an entertainer and my life as a private citizen who lets his opinion on sensitive issues be known, totally separate.

I don't do politics on stage, period. I entertain.

People don't spend their hard-earned money to come and see me express my opinions on the ills of society and the incompetence of government officials on a concert stage.

That is reserved for my soapbox columns, social media accounts or the 300+ press and broadcast interviews I do in a year, and then only if the subject is brought up by the interviewer.

But I fail to see why - in the offstage part of their lives - entertainers don't have as much right to express opinions as any other citizen.

With a few caveats, I don't think any profession disqualifies any person from publicly expressing their opinions, the caveats being Supreme Court Justices, directors of agencies like the FBI and college professors in classes when they are supposed to be teaching something to qualify young students to enter the workplace.

I feel they owe their paying customers the same courtesy I show mine, not to spout off about their personal, political and social convictions when they are there to learn something useful.

To deny that there is an ever-widening divide in this nation and that the rhetoric is getting louder and more hostile on both sides of the chasm would be a lie of vast proportions. Heated talk peppered with hyperbole and innuendo, playing hard and fast with the truth when it suits their purpose, fake news, false news, biased news, omitted news gives both camps plenty to talk about.

I've heard it said that opinions are like a certain part of the human anatomy, that everybody has one and this is not necessarily totally true, as there are a lot of folks out there who seem to have no opinion of their own but go around proclaiming the opinion of someone else, sometimes word for word.

Then there are those who can quote an excerpt from a newspaper item or a blurb from the evening news practically verbatim while attempting to make it seem that it was all their own idea, until questioned about why they had formed their opinion in such and such a way, and then the masquerade is over and whole thing falls apart and sometimes they can't even properly identify who or what was involved, the parameters, opinions or even the origin of the subject they had supposedly formed the opinion about.

They just heard somebody say something and repeated it.

An “R” or a “D” by someone’s name can cause some people to form either a positive or a negative opinion of that person, regardless of their character or accomplishments.

In my part of the country, pulling for certain college football teams can excite opinions aplenty, not to even mention invective, vitriol and creative profanity.

So, fiddle player or not, I will keep on expressing my opinion in the public forums available to me. Sometimes I speak about current events or maybe my travels or something as mundane as going shopping with my wife, an experience I put a cut or so above having a root canal.

The First Amendment is a wonderful thing, we should all take advantage of it.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels

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