The late Johnny Cash’s offspring spoke out against the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville because one of the white supremacists caught on film was sporting a Cash T-shirt.
In a passionate Facebook post on Rosanne Cash‘s page, Cash’s kids (Kathy, Cindy, Tara, and John Carter) said they were “sickened” to see their father’s name associated with those “spewing hatred and bile.”
“Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice,” the post says, citing his awards from the Jewish National Fund, B’nai Brith, and the United Nations.
“He championed the rights of Native Americans, protested the war in Vietnam, was a voice for the poor, the struggling and the disenfranchised, and an advocate for the rights of prisoners.”
And he did this in classic Cash fashion — through the power of song.
For an example of his support of Native Americans, we can look at “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” which is about a proud and peaceful Pima Indian.
He sung out against the Vietnam War in “Singing In Vietnam Talkin’ Blues” where he sings, “I hope that war’s over with and they all come back home to stay in peace.”
And then of course there’s “Folsom Prison,” which is a clear opposition to mass incarceration.
The Facebook post ended the way Johnny would want it to end.
“To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you,” it says.
“Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you. We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology. We Choose Love.”
Music is powerful and you can use it as a tool or a weapon, a bridge or a wall. Songwriters, please send good messages through your lyrics.
I first wrote a version of this article for SongLyrics.com