Commentary

Country Music Group Gets Booted From State Fair Lineup ... Because Of Their Name

When does political correctness run off the rails, and the culture of constantly being offended go too far?

It definitely looks like we may have reached that point, at least if a situation in Illinois is any sign.

According to WSIL News, a musical group was just removed from the lineup at a state fair. Their “crime?” Having the word “confederate” in the name of the band.

“Confederate Railroad will no longer perform on August 27,” that outlet reported — ironically — on Independence Day. “Confederate Railroad was scheduled to perform with country artists Shenandoah and Restless Heart, who will still perform.”

The southern country-rock group, which AllMusic describes as “a cross between Alabama and Lynyrd Skynyrd,” may not be a household name, but it’s certainly a successful band by most standards. They’ve been around since the 1980’s and released their first album in 1992.

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More recently, the group has signed record deals with Sony Music, a major label.

In other words, Confederate Railroad isn’t some fly-by-night garage band. And there’s no indication that their name has any political undertones besides as tip of the hat to the southern roots of their music genre.

“I signed a deal with Atlantic Records as a solo act, and cut the first album as a solo act,” band member Danny Shirley explained to Duke FM.

“[Later] we decided, let’s put this out as a band. And then a songwriter friend of mine came up with the name Confederate Railroad. Some people see it as totally different than what it’s meant to be … as far as being proud to be from the south,” Shirley continued. “And to me that’s all that is.”

But it seems that simply being proud of the American south and putting the name “Confederate” in a rock band some 150 years after the end of the Civil War is now verboten. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which is involved in running the state fair, has nixed the band with a flimsy excuse.

“While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all of the people in our state,” fair manager Josh Gross said.

Apparently you have a right to free expression unless you express something the state doesn’t like. Then you’re dropped faster than a hot potato, if your bank accounts and social media pages haven’t been shut down already.

The kerfuffle would be just a minor issue, except it’s part of a much larger trend.

Should this group be allowed to play at the fair?
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There is an increasing assault on both language and history. Say something that the wrong group doesn’t like or even reference a major part of American history, and your career could be on the line.

From the ridiculous outrage over the Betsy Ross flag to the literal tearing down of historic statues, political correctness is getting worse. In the “woke” era, it seems nothing is safe from being singled out and turned into a controversy.

For all the talk about “tolerance” and “diversity,” it seems that many people aren’t actually interested in having a country with diverse music, different points of view, or anything that rocks the boat.

Everything must be rubber-stamped by committee and politically sterilized, leaving only the bland and the pre-approved.

That isn’t very American, it isn’t very diverse, and it should alarm anyone who values freedom and the arts, even if they aren’t fans of southern rock.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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