Rosanne Cash just delivered a fiery new op-ed in the New York Times calling on country and Americana musicians to "stand up to the N.R.A." The National Rifle Association is one of the most polarizing and influential organizations in the United States. It routinely spends millions of dollars lobbying politicians to keep gun laws lax.
As Cash explains in the piece, she's advocated for gun control to curb gun violence for 20 years. And that's in spite of the insults and threats. "Every time I speak out on the need for stricter gun laws, I get a new profusion of threats," she says. "There's always plenty of the garden-variety "your dad would be ashamed of you" sexist nonsense, along with the much more menacing threats to my family and personal safety."
But those don't stop her. And this time, she's directly addressing the community she loves. The N.R.A., she argues, "nurtured an alliance with country music artists and their fans." She points out the N.R.A. Country branding, which basically promises to promote people in country music who at some point said nice things about the organization. Their website lists people like Storme Warren, who narrowly survived the Las Vegas shooting as MC of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Cash offers a blistering sentiment, warning artists not to let the N.R.A.'s seemingly harmless "lifestyle" angle fool them. "There is no other way to say this," Cash says. "The N.R.A. funds domestic terrorism."
Gun violence just hit the country music community in a very public, very graphic way. And Cash wants artists to stand up to the powerful lobby behind it. "It is no longer enough to separate yourself quietly," she says. "The laws the N.R.A. would pass are a threat to you, your fans, and to the concerts and festivals we enjoy."
Don't fear the backlash, she adds. And there will be a backlash.
"Not everyone will like you for taking a stand," she says. "Let it roll off your back. Some people may burn your records or ask for refunds for tickets to your concerts. Whatever. Find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will. Don't let them bully you into silence."
The Josh Abbott Band's Caleb Keeter then surely made Cash proud. He made waves yesterday in a powerful post disavowing his previous pro-gun stance and calling for gun control.