Hank Williams Jr., Paul Ryan, and what the heck is happening at the Iowa State Fair

“We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S., and we hate him!” HWJ, on stage at the Iowa State Fair; August 17, 2012

As a native Iowan (although I call Florida home today),  I took particular note of the words of Hank Williams Jr., who used his performance at the Iowa State Fair this year to take aim (figuratively of course) at President Obama. It is no secret, of course, that Mr. Williams is no fan of the prez. Remember how his lucrative contract with Monday Night Football was cancelled in the wake of a Fox News Interview in which Williams compared the President to Hitler. I mean really, anything that could possibly be said after those remarks has got to be downright complementary in comparison.

Of course the Monday Night Football gig was a position that Williams could well afford to lose. Maybe he really believes his own crapola, or maybe he only half believes it and is using it to whip up the Republican faithful in preparation for the November election. I don’t know – I hate to sit anyone next to Ted Nuggent on the crazy train, but he has certainly bought the ticket (sorry Ozzy).

As the son of famed country music legend Hank Williams Sr., Junior has amassed great wealth in his own right with hit after hit, and is indeed a man who needs little introduction. I confess to owning a couple of HWJ CDs, but I won’t be playing them. Was it because of his remarks at the Iowa State Fair? Yes it was. Will I be taking them out and backing over them in a mall parking lot with my pickup truck (yes, I am a liberal that owns a pickup truck), the answer is NO. Maybe after the election, should Obama be reelected, I shall be happy to put William’s classic “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down” on as I drive my RV south toward the Conch Republic this winter (yes, I am a liberal with an RV).

*

In other Iowa State Fair news, Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan was hustled offstage after ‘rowdy’ protesters tried to rush the stage. In the August 13th incident, which Ryan blew off, telling ABC News that being from Wisconsin had prepared him for hecklers, was nonetheless almost as disturbing to me as HWJ’s onstage fightin’ words.

Being from Iowa, the Iowa State Fair was, in my youth,  a one of a kind event. When I think Iowa State Fair, I think of 4-H livestock exhibitions, tractor pulls, Bill Riley’s talent scouts, farm implement displays, seed corn salesmen, corn dogs on a stick, ice cold lemonade, the only horse race (no gambling allowed back then) this side of Omaha’s Ak Sar Ben track, midway carnival rides (the only ones many of us ever knew, and heat, heat heat. The event was held at the end of August and it was always hot. That is what I remember of the Iowa State Fair. Political candidates always campaigned there, but I don’t recall any getting heckled, or anyone  stirring up a crowd with inflammatory words. Politicians came to shake hands and entertainers came to entertain. It was simple back then.

And oh, I will not be voting for Paul Ryan or Mr. Romney. But I detest Mr. Ryan’s treatment.

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