The fact that country singer Dolly Parton hasn’t won a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor for a civilian, has rubbed the internet the wrong way for years. Even former President Barack Obama said his failure to give country music singer and LGBTQ icon the Presidential Medal of Freedom was a “screw up” and that he would “call Biden” to fix it.
Parton has now admitted that former President Donald Trump offered her the honor twice and she turned him down. But now President Joe Biden has come calling.
Parton insisted that it wasn’t a political decision, noting “I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID.”
“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.”
Parton typically avoids politics but is a longstanding ally of the LGBTQ community and does engage on other progressive issues like education, reading programs, the social safety net, and civil rights.
“But I don’t work for those awards,” she continued. “It’d be nice but I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”
Parton recently made news when it was revealed that she gave a million dollars to help fund research behind one of the vaccines for the coronavirus. The potential vaccine has so far proven successful and could start being widely distributed by next month.
A Tennessee lawmaker has made a proposal to erect a statue of Parton at the state’s capitol. The proposal calls for the creation of a Dolly Parton fund to pay for the statue and would allow her fans, family, and supportive businesses to contribute to the landmark.
“At this point in history, is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is [a] kind, decent, passionate human being?” state Rep. John Windle (D) said after introducing the proposal.
This is not the first proposal to suggest giving the star entertainer and philanthropist recognition for her beloved image. In 2019, while discussions on replacing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest — a Confederate Army and Ku Klux Klan member — took place, Parton was suggested.
“How about getting a lady in there… what’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?” said state Rep. Jeremy Faison (R).
Ultimately, the bust of Forrest was voted for removal by the state House of Representatives, but the Tennessee Historical Commission still has the issue under consideration.