While much of the world remains a smoldering pile of depressing reality, Dolly Parton continues to stand as a beacon of light. Over the past year, the 75-year-old singer-songwriter has continued to deliver good news at a time when the country needs it most. During a recent appearance on Today, Dolly Parton explained why she twice turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump without managing to invoke any notions of divisiveness or partisan rhetoric.
It turns out since his inauguration in January 2017, Trump twice tried to award Parton the country’s highest civilian honor. Unfortunately, Parton was unable to accept due to circumstances beyond her control both times.
“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,” she said.
Former President Barack Obama recently lamented that his biggest mistake while in office was neglecting to give Parton the award, and indicated that he may advise newly-installed President Joe Biden to right that wrong. However, Parton may still not be on board with that plan as she doesn’t want to inspire any notions that she is playing politics.
“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure,” Parton said. “But I don’t work for those awards. 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.”
If there ever was a musician who didn’t work for awards it would be Dolly Parton. Since 1995, Dolly’s Imagination Library has put free books in the hands of children from the time they are born until they are ready to start attending school. More recently, she also donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center back in April to help fund Moderna’s vaccine which is currently being distributed across the country.
Watch Dolly Parton practice her trademark modesty on the Today show while talking about the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Dolly Parton explains why she turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom