By D’Anne Witkowski
I don’t listen to a lot of country music. In fact, since Trump’s “election” I haven’t listened to anything other than heavy metal (it’s honestly the only music that makes sense right now). Still, I do love me some Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.
So, when I heard that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee had joined and then resigned from the CMA Foundation, I first thought that he’d been invited to be a presenter at the Country Music Awards, but then someone was like, “Wait, he tells terrible jokes and is also a very terrible person,” and he was struck from the list.
It turns out CMA stands for Country Music Association, not Awards, and the CMA Foundation supports music education in schools. But other than that my imagined scenario turns out to be pretty accurate.
Lots of people were unhappy with Huckabee’s appointment, including Monument Records and Sandbox Entertainment owner Jason Owen, whose roster includes names like Faith Hill and Kacey Musgraves. Owen, who is gay, made it clear to the CMA that so long as Huckabee was on board, he wasn’t.
“Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country,” Owen wrote in a letter. “Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice. I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices.”
Clearly the CMA saw how unwise it would be to essentially trade Huckabee for Faith Hill. Also maybe not a good look to have an NRA lapdog on board after the largest mass shooting in the U.S. just happened at a country music concert a few months ago.
Understandably, Huckabee got his anti-gay feelings hurt.
“Someone who has never met me threatens to wreck valuable programs of the CMA Foundation because of a personal contempt for my faith and politics,” Huckabee wrote in his resignation letter, apparently not seeing the irony that his so-called “faith and politics” is in part based on his contempt that is, indeed, very personal for LGBTQ people.
“Until recently, the arts was the one place America could set aside political, geographical, racial, religious, and economic barriers and come together,” Huckabee wrote. “If the arts community becomes part of the polarization instead of bridging communities and people over the power of civil norms as reflected in the arts, then we as a civilization may not be long for this earth.”
I don’t know what Huckabee’s definition of “recently” is, but that nonsense has literally never been true. While the arts can build bridges between people, art is hardly apolitical. Art has always been a means of resistance against oppression and a way to fight the silencing of diverse voices.
As for civilization not being “long for this earth,” wait until he finds out who his daughter works for. Ha ha just kidding. Huckabee loves Trump almost as much as he loves guns.
“The message here is ‘Hate Wins,’” Huckabee wrote in his letter. “Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have ‘someone like me’ involved.”
So a gay man who refuses to be quiet about about his own dehumanization by a very public political figure is a bully. Got it. What about an entire party that has embraced a racist, sexist and homophobic agenda that values guns and money above human lives? Then again, “bullies” isn’t a strong enough word to describe the Republican Party.
In his letter, Huckabee outlines his long support for music education. And it’s true, he’s done some good in this area. But he’s literally a proud member of a party that’s against public education and thinks higher ed is liberal indoctrination. Trump, the dumbest man on the planet, is their leader.
So please allow me to play the world’s smallest violin to accompany Huckabee’s tears. Actually, to keep with the country music theme here, make that the world’s smallest fiddle.