You may have heard of the upcoming documentary on the Dixie Chicks, "Shut Up and Sing." The producers of the piece fancy it a commentary on the "sad state of freedom of speech in this country" or something asinine like that.
Let me explain something to those of you who have clearly never read the United States Constitution. It insists that (within certain boundaries I don't feel like enumerating, but it has to do with treason and shouting 'fire' in crowded buildings and things like that) the Government may not interfere with an individual's right to political protest and self-expression.
It has nothing to do whatever with how private citizens may or must react to the bitter ramblings of another private citizen. Contrary to popular belief (or at least the convictions of the Dixie Chicks) the United States Constitution does not compel me to buy their albums even if they piss me off. If the Dixie Chicks say that they are embarrassed by President Bush, the liberal democratic tradition does not insist that I must say, "Well, it's great they have an opinion!" It encourages me to say that the Dixie Chicks are unpatriotic and stupid, simply because I believe it.
The US Constitution does not compel their dwindling fan base not to be alienated by the foolish things they say. If the FBI knocked on their doors, we could talk about "freedom of speech" issues. But if they say something that's offensive to approximately 49% of the US population (and probably 99.56% of country-western fans) and they choose not to purchase their albums, this is not a "freedom of speech" issue. It's an issue of words and actions carrying consequences.
Anybody who uses the phrases "Dixie Chicks" and "freedom of expression" in the same sentence without irony or outright mockery is a moron who needs to take 9th grade civics again.