[This article has been updated below.]
Sturgill Simpson has been on my radar for quite some time, and I noted his protest of the Country Music Association’s Awards show last Tuesday, November 7. I didn’t get to watch the live show he did on Facebook, outside the arena where the CMA Awards were taking place.
So imagine my surprise when I tried to watch the live video today. I couldn’t find it.
Did he take it down?
If he did, it was a smart move, because in my opinion, Simpson stepped in it big time.
Not because he protested the CMA awards. That’s understandable, because CMA shunned Simpson despite his recent win of a Grammy for Best Country Album.
Not because he pledged to donate his “tips” to the American Civil Liberties Union. This is a free country. You can give anyone you want money, as long as you’re obeying the law.
Not even because he dissed President Donald Trump. Celebs on both sides of the aisle do that routinely.
So why do I say he stepped in it big time?
Simpson chose to attack people who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton or another candidate, other than Donald Trump. When he did that, he didn’t explain to anyone why Democrats’ selectee Hillary Clinton or another candidate would have been better.
The website Saving Country Music attributed these remarks to Simpson, an indie musician whose success led him to sign a deal with an establishment record company:
“He’s a fascist fucking pig, and I’m not afraid to say that because at this point anybody who’s still supporting that guy can’t be anything in my mind but an ignorant fucking bigot. So there it is. Anybody that’s surprised to hear me say that is going to unfollow me or stop listening to my record was probably not listening that close anyway.”
Many of us agreed with some of Simpson’s earlier remarks on various political issues, but that last one is most regrettable, a real deal killer.
It’s never been a good idea, in my opinion, to attack people for their vote. In all my years of writing, I never did that regardless of the candidate. I have complained about voter apathy. For example, I spoke loudly when a former president appointed a man who admitted voting for a Communist for president to head the CIA.
Whatever your political beliefs, and I’ve learned those beliefs vary across the spectrum, it’s never a good idea to assume your beliefs are so superior you can insult in a big way people who didn’t make your choices.
Simpson’s page still has remnants of his CMA protest show on his page—in the form of comments from people angry at his words.
But the video has disappeared, as best I can tell. I did ask on the page where it went. If I get an answer, I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, I’d encourage anyone spouting politics under the banner of music to take some time to really study history and government. That way, you can at least back up your rant with facts.
In one way, Simpson blew a big opportunity. His protest against the CMA awards was understandable. He undermined his impact by incorporating an election speech into a protest that really had nothing to do with the election.
I’ve lived through many US presidential elections, enough to realize there are no saints in politics. Anywhere.
(Kay B. Day/commentary/11-13-17)
Ed. Update: I posted a question on Facebook asking if the video had been taken down. I received one response on Simpson’s page and another on my own page from reader Kristiano Leme, a gifted photographer here in Jacksonville.
The response to my question:
“James Lawson Yes, he is known for only letting social media stuff sit out there for so long before deleting it.”
Then came Kristiano’s response explaining the video is still active, on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/kK52nxJnvQ4