In 2003, the country music trio Dixie Chicks were near the top of the charts and starting a world tour in England when leader singer Natalie Maines criticized President George Bush in the run up to the Iraq War. The statement led to a harsh backlash from country music fans who viewed the act of lashing out against a President on foreign soil prior to conflict as inappropriate. While the group produced albums since then, they were never accepted back into the country music fold, and have faded from prominence.
Country music superstar Tim McGraw seems poised to make a similar, potentially career-ending move, as he has announced plans to play a concert benefiting gun prohibitionist group Sandy Hook Promise:
Tim McGraw has announced that on Friday, July 17, at XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, he will hold a concert to benefit Sandy Hook Promise. One-hundred percent of the net proceeds of this event will support Sandy Hook Promise, founded in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, with a mission of protecting children from gun violence.
Featured performers will include current tourmates Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, along with special guests to be announced later.
Tickets, according to the Live Nation site, range from $31.35 to $71.25 ($43-$88.20 with fees).
“Out of this tragedy a group was formed that made a promise to honor the lives lost and turn it into a moment of transformation,” said Mr McGraw. “Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence. I want to be a part of that promise — as a father and as a friend.”
This decision is not going to be received well by McGraw’s country music fan base, which overwhelmingly supports gun rights, and views a concert benefiting Sandy Hook Promise as being a betrayal.
Sandy Hook Promise claims to “promote mental wellness, combat social isolation, and prevent gun violence,” but by far their strongest emphasis is on turning the public against the Second Amendment rights of Americans by subtly equating the support of gun rights with the murder of children, as their social media accounts clearly show.
A major push right now for the group is forcing the adoption of so-called “universal background checks,” which would prevent the private transfer or sale of firearms between friends and family members without a federal background check. The goal of such a system is to serve as de facto gun registry, and which serves no legitimate crime prevention purpose.
Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, opening acts for McGraw on his current tour, are also scheduled to play the show funding the gun control group.