After all, it's just a song.

But the timing was crucial. When the late, great Tammy Wynette's anthem "Stand by Your Man" plopped into this country's troubled waters back in 1968, ripples spread that still have not entirely ebbed.Like a handful of songs from World War II and the Vietnam era, it distilled so many emotions in so few words. It pushed buttons, pro and con. And its "real message" was almost immediately interpreted and argued, derided and defended, depending upon one's point of view at the time.

Some said it meant that real women stick, no matter how bad things get, while some said that it was actually a chicken-fried stake through the faithless hearts of fatally flawed menfolk.

Either way, it symbolized forces tugging women toward and away from "traditional family values" as phrases like "finding myself" and "changing the system" became feminist mantras.

It was no coincidence that, three years after "Stand by Your Man" won a Grammy in 1969, Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)" was the hit clasped to the newly unbridled bosom of the women's movement.

Chasms gaped and debates erupted at the time over seemingly little things. Like should women keep their "own" names? Should newspapers use Ms. or Mrs.?

The rhetoric on both sides swung to extremes as some predicted that equal rights spelled doom and others declared that marriage was dead.

Following Wynette's death at 55, Hillary Rodham Clinton was among the many who sent tributes to the woman who will always be known by that signature song.

Maybe she and Wynette had more in common than they thought.