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For some reason I had alwyas thought that Bruce Springsteen was more of a Republican, but apparetly not (or at least no more?).
The stakes are too high to sit this out

Bruce Springsteen

Friday August 6, 2004 "The Guardian" -- A nation's artists and musicians have a particular place in its social and political life. Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticise our failures.
These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfilment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet for ever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way towards honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.

People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I've tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, REM, the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like after-school programmes. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1% (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible".

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

© New York Times


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2004 06:43 am (UTC)
I think people often (I'm not saying this is necessarily the case with you) base their entire image of Springsteen on "Born in the USA" which they then mistake for a right-wing patriotic anthem. But if you look at the lyrics...

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said "Son don't you understand"

I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a little girl in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

...it doesn't sound at all right-wing. It's actually (well this is how it seems to me) much more of a left-wing protest song bemoaning the fact that while all Americans might be theoretically equal, if often doesn't pan out that way. (i.e. the protagonist of the song is saying, "Dammit! I was born in the USA! I'm an American! I thought that was supposed to mean something!")
Aug. 9th, 2004 11:48 am (UTC)
Have you ever heard the acoustic version he played in recent years? The meaning becomes much more apparent then.
He played it during the soundcheck at Crystal Palace last year but sadly not during the main gig.
Aug. 7th, 2004 06:56 am (UTC)
Erm, that's a common misconception of people who don't know his music very well, mainly due to another idiot, former actor and President, namely Reagan, who praised "Born in the U.S.A" as a patriotic song. Have you ever listened to it properly? It's pretty much the opposite. Springsteen was quite outraged at this and always protested against this misconception. I need to read it up in the biography I have (yes, fanboy, I know) but I seem to remember Reagan wanted to use the song for his campaign and never got the rights.
His earlier lyrics might not have been politcally inspired but in recent years they've become quite harsh. Just listen to "Land of Hope and Dreams" and especially "41 Shots".
He's always been up for charity and protest gigs, starting with the "No Nukes" one in the eighties and several others.

If I could (or wanted to) afford 500 quid for a journey and costs plus ticket, I'd fly over to catch one of the Vote for Change gigs.
Aug. 9th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC)
It's not so much that Springsteen is Republican or Democrat but he is fervently against American troops fighting overseas. It comes from his youth where many of the kids he knew growing up in Jersey went off to Vietnam, and either didn't come back, or didn't come back the same. I've actually seen Bruce live a few times over the years, and the big tihng about his concerts is the way in which he tells stories which give a background to his songs. It really does help the audience connect with him and his selection of songs for a gig. In 1985 I saw the 'Born in the USA' tour and it was evident from that show that he disagreed with Vietnam. This was under the Raegan years so it was again uncertain times. The message he gave out from the stage was "Blind faith in your leaders, will get you killed". From that he went into a cover of the 60's classic 'War'. It doesn't surprise me that Bruce would come out like this. Kids are getting killed and and it's all for a few men on a hill to get rich. It is interesting that he has picked this election to come out and be counted. He is quite evidently as scared as the rest of us what another term of that bastard Bush would do.
Aug. 9th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC)
I actually found out about Springsteens politics over the weekend as a couple of other friends were telling me about it. Apparently he is a very strong Union supporter and more left-wing than the Democrats (which isn't a surprise with the Democrats) but is throwing his weight behind them this year because of this time round the better of the two evils is just so much better it can't be ignored (or rather the greater evil is so much greater...).
Aug. 9th, 2004 07:09 am (UTC)
Yeah Unionist is a good word to describe Bruce. He has always been the Jersey Boy, a simple blue collar boy who learned how to make a guitar talk. I don't know how much of a difference the tour will make but it does look as though a voice is getting louder in oit's opposition to Bush. Hell if they decided to bring the tour to the UK, Id go and pay top dollar if it was going to go to the democrat campaign.

it's also made me think a lot about Raegan's funeral a few months ago. All these republicans who were probably too young to actually remember the bastard, saluting him and holding him up as a hero of the cold war. Remembering those years now, it really makes me angry because the real hero was Gorbachev, Raegan was a bit part player who successfully messed up the economy for a year. Its still the same cronies from those years that are sitting on Bush Jr shoulder. Damn but this shit makes me angry.
Aug. 9th, 2004 11:55 am (UTC)
*envious glare*
I couldn't make the '85 tour as my parents wouldn't drive me down to Munich, let alone let go on a train alone. :o(
Have seen him three times now: '89 (Tunnel of Love tour), '94 (the Human Touch/Lucky Town tour) and last year which was the best as the E Street Band was complete again.

And that from a proto-goth. I'm impressed. ;o)
Aug. 9th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
Speaking of which...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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