Charlie Daniels speaks out

Note: This was an interview that took place at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, California. Charlie Daniels enjoys fishing and even talked briefly about his upcoming trip to Alaska, but during this interview, Daniels didn't talk about fishing. The viewpoints he expresses here are not necessarily the viewpoints of or their advertisers. We are simply relating the viewpoints of a legendary entertainer -- Mr. Charlie Daniels.

Charlie Daniels is hopping mad and he wants the world to know about it.

“I average 120 tour dates each year, but that doesn’t include the shows I put on for our troops. I have been to Iraq, Korea, Bosnia, Guantanamo and Southwest Asia. I have seen the good our troops are doing all over the world and it makes me mad when I hear people, especially those in politics, stand against what our country is doing,” said Daniels.

At 68-years-old, Charlie Daniels, known for such Southern Rock hits as “The South’s Going To Do It Again ,” and “Long-Haired Country Boy,” is on a tirade. He took a few minutes with The Madera Tribune to vent many of his frustrations. He talked about everything from the war in Iraq to problems facing California.

“When Senator Durbin (D-IL) compared the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay to the treatment of prisoners in Nazi Germany I thought that was completely irresponsible,” said Daniels. “I’d like to take him out and show him what’s really going on. I remember the Nazi regime. I remember seeing the newsreels showing hundreds of emaciated naked bodies being shoved into a mass grave. To compare Guantanamo to Nazi Germany or the Gulag, is completely out of line. Out troops are out there fighting for these people, to give them a freedom they have never enjoyed before. Our troops are in harm’s way and this kind of irresponsible action by a United States Senator hurts the men and women who are serving this country. The problem is; these guys have never been there and I want to take them.”

While performing in Iraq, Daniels’ flew around in a Blackhawk helicopter with some of the troops and learned first-hand, much of what is happening in the country.

“One day our helicopter was shot at, that was quite a ride,” said Charlie. “But, I want the world to know, despite what they hear in the media, we are winning this war. I don’t know why the media isn’t talking about the good things that are happening over there. Why can’t the truth be told? I want to know who is keeping the truth silent. We are winning this war. There are more people killed in Washington D.C. or Detroit each day than are killed in Iraq. This is a war and there are going to be casualties. War is a terrible thing and I hate it when we lose even one of our soldiers but this war is against terrorism and Al Qaida, and support they received from Iraq.”

Daniels feels strongly that party politics drives the dissension in Washington about the Iraq war.

“Party politics is part of what’s wrong with this country,” said Daniels. “Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Durbin are arguing against the war because we have a Republican president. I never vote for the party, I vote for the man, and usually I vote a spilt ticket. But our representatives are just voting with the party, and that means vote against anything the other party votes for.

“Ted Kennedy just needs to go home, but he is so ensconced in the politics of Massachusetts that he isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes I can’t believe the stupidity that comes out of his mouth. Kennedy and Durbin are great examples of what’s wrong with this country. I dare Ted Kennedy to come with me to Iraq. I dare him to fly with me over the country in a Blackhawk helicopter or a C-130 and see what our troops are doing. I dare him to join me to talk with the Iraqi people and learn how happy they are to have us there, delivering them from the oppression they have suffered at the hands of a madman like Sadaam Hussein. Then I want to ask him, ‘what do you think of our troops now?’ Ted Kennedy can’t drive a date across bridge and he’s telling us how to run the country. It’s ridiculous.”

The Charlie Daniels Band was playing at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino on Saturday and Daniels talked briefly about California.

“I’ve played California many times and I spend quite a bit of time here,” he said. “California has a lot of wonderful people. It’s a beautiful state with a lot to offer, but you have several problems here that need to be resolved – and quickly. I’ve seen many of these same problems in other states as well. There are a lot of problems facing the state of California,” Daniels continued. “Now you have Governor Schwarzenegger. I don’t know the man, he may be a complete jerk, but it seems every time he tries to get something done the state legislature is working to stop him. They have to learn to work together.”

The main problem, as Daniels sees it, is that the state suffers from he calls “welfare haven.”

“I am a charitable man. I believe in charity, helping others when they having a hard time,” said Daniels. “I am a hard-working man who believes that every able-bodied man should work. There are people who complain they have bad backs and collect welfare. Many of these people don’t have any more problems with their backs than I do. These people need to get out and get a job. They are depriving others who truly need the help. They need to be able to make a living wage. If more of these people went to work, they would pay income taxes, which would provide more money for those who are truly in need. A woman who has been widowed and left with three children could actually receive enough money to pay her bills and feed her children.

“I was asked to visit some of the kids in a juvenile detention center in Nashville. I couldn’t believe the number of troubled kids in there. I also can’t believe the number of children welfare families are having just to get more money from the government. The sad part is; those kids weren’t really wanted; they were just a way to get more money. The parents let them run wild on the streets; they get into dugs and a lot of trouble. Then they end up in juvenile halls, double-dipping into our taxes. We’ve paid families to have these children and then we pay to keep them in juvenile halls or prisons. It’s really sad because there is nothing as healing as having someone put their arms around a child. But these kids don’t get that, they are just a way to get more money.

“I know that when people talk about welfare control, or putting people to work, others immediately start calling them a racist but they don’t know what racism really is,” said Daniels. “I know racism; I grew up in the South and have seen racism first hand. I hate to admit this, but I practiced racism when I was young, that’s what I raised with. In time I learned racism is a terrible thing. I have learned I am no better than anyone else, no matter what race they are. Those people who yell about racism don’t know what they’re talking about. I know Jesus Christ died for all of us, not just one race. Jesus doesn’t see color, we are all his children. But, political correctness is hurting our country. The politicians don’t have the guts to say what they really mean.”

On his website, Daniels makes it clear how he feels about illegal immigration.

“It is a shame that every time somebody in this country says a derogatory statement concerning a minority, they are labeled a bigot. Even if the statement is meant to be helpful and constructive There is an element in the media and politics that literally can’t wait to scream "foul" at anybody with the gonads to point out the problems in the minority community. A case in point is the influx into this country of illegal immigrants from Mexico and goodness knows where else across our southern borders.”

Daniels feels the situation has gotten out of hand, “and it seems that few in Washington have the moxy to do anything but ignore it, and it grows more dangerous by the day.”

The trouble, as Daniels sees it, is that while we are doing a lot to protect our borders from allowing terrorists to enter our country, he asks, “Why should a terrorist even bother with going through immigration and customs, why put up with the hassle when they can just walk across the Mexican border any old night they want to? We are fighting a war on terrorism on the other side of the world and ignoring the imminent danger on our very doorstep.

“Think about this,” wrote Daniels, “just by the virtue of crossing illegally, these people are fugitives the minute they step across the international border. In other words, the first act they commit upon entering this country is a crime.

“Speaking for myself, I have nothing against honest, hard-working, law abiding people coming into this country to find a better life. In fact, it’s the American way, but if something isn’t done to stem the flow, America is going to reap a bitter harvest.”

How does Charlie Daniels feel the problem needs to be handled? He answers this in an article he wrote to the president and congress.

President Bush, members of congress, your main job as our leaders is to protect this nation from any and all threats against our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” he wrote. “Well, we are being threatened by the invasion from the south and you all seem to be the only ones in this country who aren’t extremely upset about it. For the sake of your children and grandchildren, please do something to stop this insanity. Stop the flow of illegal immigrants at the border and round up the ones already here and deport them. If they want to be a part of the American dream, let them do it legally, like everybody else has to do.”

Daniels also talked about what he believes are confusing messages we send to our young people.

“It amazes me; we tell our children to just say no to drugs, but then we turn the drug dealers loose after a short period in jail,” said Daniels. “That sends the wrong message to our children.”

During Daniels’ concert at Chukchansi Gold, he told the audience that he is probably the most politically incorrect person alive and then said, “I believe in two things; first, the lowest form of life on the planet is a child molester and second, the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.”

Charlie Daniels has been known throughout his career to be outspoken and very independent in his music. Recently a major record label wanted to sign him, but when he recorded a few songs for them they had a few problems with his music.

“They wanted to change the music because it didn’t sound like everyone else’s music,” said Daniels. “That’s not the way I do things. I play the music I like. We work very hard on our music and we really can’t label the music as one style or genre. I play country, bluegrass, blues, jazz, gospel – you name it, the Charlie Daniels Band plays it. I decided I didn’t need the big label and have just gone on to play our music, our way.”

The Charlie Daniels Band continues to perform and record music on their terms. And, Charlie Daniels will obviously continue to speak out on problems facing the nation he loves. Agree or disagree, Charlie Daniels is exercising his right as an American citizen to freedom of speech.

If you would like to learn more about Daniels’ stand on a variety of subjects, go to his website and click on Charlie’s Soapbox.