On Monday, country music legend Dolly Parton sat down for an interview with NBC’s “Today” show to talk about a variety of topics including her generous, $1 million donation to help fund a COVID vaccine and her excitement over the fact that she reworked her classic, ’80s hit, “9 to 5” as part of a new ad airing Sunday during the Super Bowl.
But one thing in particular stuck out — when she was asked if she would accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden, the short answer was no.
This wasn’t the first time the entertainment icon has turned down the prestigious honor from the White House. In fact, there were two times in recent memory she didn’t accept it, and she explained it had nothing to do with politics.
Dolly told co-hosts Jenna and Hoda:
“To be honest, in all fairness, I got offered the Freedom Award from the Trump administration.
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, because of circumstances beyond her control, she says, it puts her in a bind, since Joe Biden has offered it to her also. And the reason tells you everything about why she’s one of the most beloved people in the world. She said:
“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.
I don’t work for those awards. It would 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.”
Seeing genuine expressions of humility like this from public figures is so uncommon these days, that we sit up and notice when it appears in articles and interviews. There’s also the fact that, in the world outside politics, people make decisions based on what’s happening in their daily lives — not to curry favor with one constituency or another or to impress their friends by making a show of putting down Donald Trump or his supporters. Ask most people and they’ll let you in on a little secret: This is how most normal people engage with the world, and they find it refreshing to see from celebrities and others who often consider themselves our betters. Good for Dolly!
By the way, you don’t have to tune in to the Super Bowl to hear Dolly’s new version of “9 to 5,” now called “5 to 9.” Watch a sneak preview of the full ad, below: