“Keeping Charlie’s legacy alive.” That’s been the mantra here for over three and a half years, and nothing is ever going to change that.
Before July 6, 2020, I had written a few pieces for the CDB website and social media accounts, but most of them were about specific song or album anniversaries with a couple of political ones thrown in for good measure.
I never fancied myself as a writer. I didn’t ever really feel comfortable with creative writing until July 11, the day after we buried Dad. The best way I can describe it was an itch to tell everyone what happened with Dad, and then a switch inside my head flipped on.
Remember, this was in the thick of the pandemic, so a lot of people assumed – incorrectly – that Dad was taken out by the 21st Century’s Black Plague 2.0, COVID-19. So, I took it upon myself to chronicle the events of the week of Dad’s passing, visitation and funeral, maybe two or three installments, but it stretched out to four. Then I had an idea for another, and another and soon I was churning them out more or less weekly while I was trying to figure out how to keep a ship powered by an engine that was no longer around afloat.
Our friends at Media Research Center, a conservative-minded media watchdog group that regularly ran Dad’s soapboxes gladly ran the post-July 6, 2020 works that I submitted to them. Then after a couple of months, the main editor asked if I would like to try contributing some ideas that were more political/current affairs in nature, while they seemed to like what I was writing, their bread and butter is in politics, so I tried my hand at it.
For the most part, it went well, but I did get some criticism, mostly from folks who didn’t know that Dad had moved on from the “stoned in the mornin’” “drunk in the afternoon” and were accusing me of using Dad’s name to push my own ideas which – according to them – had to be contrary to that of Dad in his “Long Haired Country Boy” days. After all, this is the man who – along with The Marshall Tucker Band – played fundraisers for Jimmy Carter, and both bands performed at the Carter’s Inaugural Ball.
But the joke was on them, Dad and I were on the same level when it came to current events and politics, both dyed in the wool conservatives. Back in the Jimmy Carter days, Dad looked at the man rather than the party, and back in the old days, Democrats were much more conservative when it came to a lot of issues. Ronald Reagan – another former Democrat – famously said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him when it started lurching further and further to the left.
That being said, a couple of things blew up on the CDB Facebook page starting on Friday, February 2. Someone had the gall to say that Dad was a hypocrite for claiming to be a Christian, but wrote and recorded a song “paying homage to the devil.” I was thinking to myself, did this person actually ever listen to the song? It’s only been out 45 years this coming May, so I can see how he might not have had time to fully absorb the entire song.
So, I along with several fans tried to talk some sense into him, some with a stronger approach than I chose, I tried to point out that it was a fictional song in which the devil loses, and even a pastor on a Gospel radio station in 1979 built a message around the song, “You too can beat the devil!” Our pastor from World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN – Allen Jackson (no relation) even had Dad perform it at Easter celebrations which were formerly held at MTSU’s Murphy Center and in the sanctuary at WOC, so not everyone sees telling a fictional story where the devil loses is a ticket straight to the Lake of Fire.
I also encouraged him to pick up his Bible and read Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
This gentleman also appears to be on hard times and had set up a GoFundMe account to help with his propane bill. I tried to take the high road and promote his fundraiser in order to show how Christians really are, even when you insult or condemn us.
Unfortunately, while there were several that got my point, we had a multitude of people refusing to help because of his attitude toward Dad.
I get it, but we’re supposed to hold ourselves to a higher standard than that, Love those who hate you and bless those who curse you – Luke 6:27-28 and that even sinners love those who love them, we – as Christians - are supposed to suck it up because there is no credit for loving people who love you. We have to go beyond that into the uncomfortable territory of loving those who don’t love us, and even sinners do good to those who do good to them… so what?
Paul takes it even further in Romans by quoting from Proverbs 25: “On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” – Romans 12:20 NIV
Shortly after that I posted a link to a soapbox I wrote the other day regarding the invasion of the scam bots on Facebook.
Most were positive, but this one caught my attention: “Forewarned Junior. Stay off the political soapbox. You ain’t your dad, nor do you enjoy the respect that we faithful Charlie Daniels fans accorded him. While I’m on a rant, I’m tendering up just a tiny bit of respect for you. Shameful riding your dad’s name and legacy for personal gain. Take fiddle and guitar lessons, then perhaps your credibility will increase a notch or two.”
Well, let’s start at the top, this soapbox was a letter to Mark Zuckerberg to do something about the multitude of scam bots on his platform which policing could take almost all of my time. Not exactly what I would have called political, unless he’s a big stockholder in Meta, but who knows?
I am well aware that I am not my Dad, and I don’t want to be my Dad, however, I do want to honor his legacy and glorify our heavenly Father in everything I do, I’m a flawed human being, but those are my main goals, so in that respect, I do try to be like Dad.
If by riding Dad’s name for personal gain, you mean busting my tail daily so that his name, music, legacy and legend live on long after he’s gone, trying to develop projects based on his works because these were things that he never got to see realized in his lifetime, to bring honor to Dad and glory to God, just as he would if he was still alive. Is that what you mean?
I tell you what, I’ll take guitar lessons and learn to play the fiddle, if you think that will increase my credibility, but what about yours? What makes you an expert to come in and criticize what I do?
If you learn to walk a mile in my shoes and see all the stress and headaches I have had to deal with since Dad left us, and never feeling like I had time to grieve because I had to figure out a way to keep his legacy going without him and how difficult that has actually been, then maybe you will develop a shred of credibility of your own.
Good day, and God bless you, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Gray.
Let’s all make the day count!
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
- Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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