August 18, 2008
Rosanne Cash has issued a statement regarding recent use of her father’s name for political purposes:
It is appalling to me that people still want to invoke my father’s name, five years after his death, to ascribe beliefs, ideals, values and loyalties to him that cannot possibly be determined, and to try to further their own agendas by doing so. I knew my father pretty well, at least better than some of those who entitle themselves to his legacy and his supposed ideals, and even I would not presume to say publicly what I ‘know’ he thought or felt. This is especially dangerous in the case of political affiliation. It is unfair and presumptuous to use him to bolster any platform. I would ask that my father not be co-opted in this election for either side, since he is clearly not here to defend or state his own allegiance.
Her dignified response might be in regards to this statement by John Rich while performing at a John McCain rally:
Somebody’s got to walk the line in the country. They’ve got to walk it unapologetically. And I’m sure Johnny Cash would have been a John McCain supporter if he was still around.
I think that Rosanne’s response strikes the perfect tone, since it doesn’t name names and appeals to both sides of the political aisle to refrain from speaking on her father’s behalf. It’s dehumanizing to use him as a prop, a cheap attempt to give your point of view more credibility.
It reminds me of the old saying: “You can safely assume a man has recreated God in his own image when it turns out God hates all the same people he does.” Cash the father and Cash the daughter are both worthy of emulating. Rich should be trying to learn from them rather than putting his own words in Johnny Cash’s mouth.