He was paid $14,000 in advance, but on the day of the show, the show promoter only had $4,000 cash, and the Knights of Columbus were going to pay the rest by check. But rather than accept the $18k and the check, he walked, despite the fact that the show was already going on and people were waiting to see him. What an asshole.
Apparently, there were 800 to 900 people in attendance, who paid $20 each. So presumably, the promoters were paying more to Greenwood than they received. But as they say in the entertainment industry, the show must be cash; so Greenwood left almost a thousand fans down, out of concern that the K of C's check might bounce. If the email at Snopes is to be believed, it looks like the audience has learned a lesson from Mr. Greenwood: He's an asshole. But don't worry. Greenwood says he felt bad for the audience. Just not bad enough to take a check.
As the Rocky Mountain News said, Greenwood performed at a Mitt Romney event a few days later. He also supported Bush in 2004. I guess someone's realized his songs sell better when Americans die.
While reading about Greenwood, I came across this Snopes entry suggesting that Mr. Patriot Greenwood dodged the Vietnam draft by heading to Canada. But apparently, that's not true. Mr. Greenwood had a kid and a promising music career in Vegas and so he wasn't called up to serve his country.
As he said:
It angers me when I hear this. I never served in the military because I had children at the age of 17. I was given the classification 3A. The draft never got to that #. If it had, like my father, I would have left my wife and children (for I know they would have understood) to fight and die if necessary for my country.
And as he said in his uber-patriotic song:
And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
But the thing is, I don't give a damn about draft dodging. Is it really that important whether you got called up and avoided going, or if you got lucky and decided not to go? Sure, one of those options was illegal, but they amount to the same thing: You didn't go. And if his family would have understood, why didn't he go? Did he not realize he could volunteer? Did he imagine it was a draft-only war?
Of course not. He didn't volunteer because he didn't want to go. So what the hell difference does it make if his draft classification didn't come up? No wonder it angers him when people bring this up. He must find it quite embarrassing.
And would it really kill any of these dudes to admit that they were cowardly in their younger days and just didn't want to fight? They always make it sound like there was some mysterious force holding them back. They'd have fought...if only their kid, or cushy guard duty, or anal cyst hadn't stopped them. But as I said before, it all amounts to the same thing: They didn't want to fight, so they didn't. And now they've got their excuses and they're sticking with them.
I've always thought that if you support a war, you should go. And if you don't support it, you should probably be allowed to stay; though that naturally depends on how badly we need them. But for god's sake, you don't get to proudly support a war while refusing to actually put yourself on the line. Sure, you can do that, but that just makes you a schmuck. So what else can we conclude than to say that Greenwood had no interest in protecting the freedoms he touts so strongly in his only famous song. We could all be speaking Vietnamese, for all he cares.
So sure, Lee's proud to be an American. Just as long as it's someone else's kid who doesn't get to have his dad tuck him in at night. Some sucker who was dumb enough to volunteer to serve his country. Something Greenwood would like to have done, if only his country had volunteered him. Or perhaps his problem is that Uncle Sam doesn't pay cash.