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Letters to the Editor: Country music, like the GOP, has fallen far since the 1970s

Country music star Aaron Lewis performs in Louisville, Ky., in 2019.
Aaron Lewis performs in 2019 in Louisville, Ky.
(Amy Harris / Invision / Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg cites songs back to 1969 to support his contention that country singer Aaron Lewis’ bawdy, banal, demagogic lyrics in “Am I the Only One” reflect a “long, conservative country music tradition.” How about going back a year earlier?

In 1968, a hit song by Jeannie C. Riley dwelt on repulsive hypocrisy rampant in reliably conservative southern towns. In Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA,” her southern-accented vocals tell how she, as a single mom, drew the ire of other school parents for her drinking, dating and wearing miniskirts.

The song concluded with her publicly citing examples of PTA board members’ own alcoholism and promiscuity, and deeming them all “Harper Valley hypocrites.”

In these ultra-polarized times, it may be hard to fathom how the song topped the country and pop charts. But six years later, most conservatives were fine with ousting President Nixon.

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How far Republicans — and country music — have fallen.

Edgar M. Martinez, Orcutt

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To the editor: Goldberg may have provided the first half of solving the anti-vaxxer problem in America.

Since southern right-wingers have such an affinity for country western stars, we might very well be able to end this pandemic if Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks offered to sign vaccine-verification cards in certain Republican states.

Russ Woody, Studio City

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To the editor: Yes, we need to cut Aaron Lewis some slack and defend his right to speak, but we need to remember we’ve heard his “love it or leave it” refrain before. Our answer to his silly lyrics and the anthem for the next GOP convention is, why run?

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Our founders hoped each generation would create a more perfect union and, as James Madison argued, “In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce.”

Keith Ensminger, Merced, Calif.


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