A Byrd of a different feather

Chris HillmanThis should be sufficiently irritating to the lefties — one of their counter-culture heroes has joined the other team.

The group played benefits for Robert Kennedy three months before his assassination in 1968. “He was probably the best of the Kennedy family,” Hillman said. “He was a fighter. He went after Hoffa and organized crime, and he was a principled man.”

Hillman maintains that Vietnam was a tragic mistake. “It was a bad, bad move because we didn’t learn from the French,” he said. “We didn’t see what was going on. We had no business there, but it was the mindset at the time.”

Civil rights, too, was a just cause, Hillman said. But today, he feels that a liberal agenda mutated King’s message, punctuated by the famous “I have a dream” speech.

“Did it really accomplish what it started out to?” Hillman asked. “I’m not sure, because the race card is constantly played and at this point in time, we should be colorblind.”

As for his political shift, Hillman quoted Reagan: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. It left me.”

Hillman voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. But he became “disillusioned” after Clinton made gays in the military a priority shortly after taking office.

.   .   .

… “Gay marriage? Get out of here. It’s not meant to be. Two dads? Two moms? It’s a mortal sin. I defend their right to do that, but don’t politicize it.”

Hillman has little patience for the practice of throwing taxpayer dollars at public schools and government social programs, saying it will not cure society’s ills. “All of that comes out of this liberal bent of ‘Everybody gets a fair deal,’ ” he said. “It just borders on bad socialism to me.”

He’s still a damn slow-growth advocate, though.

As for his new music, I had a chance to listen to his (and Herb Pedersen) new CD today. It’s probably the best thing he’s done in a decade or more. All of you “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”/Flying Burrito Brothers fans will be real, real pleased with it. It’s a keeper.

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