Bruce Springsteen is a man worthy of respect. In addition to the wonderful songs he has gifted the world he is an American who stands up for what is right. It is that simple. I think even Bush, Cheney or the Swift Boat Veterans for the Untruth would have trouble besmirching his patriotism.
Generally he keeps his opinions on politics to himself. However, like many Americans, he is evidently worried about the course this country is on and is participating in the "Vote for Change" tour of swing states being organized in support of John Kerry's candidacy. 47west63rd will be in the HOUSE at the Vote for Change Tour Finale in Washington DC on October 11 so expect a full review! The following is reproduced from a recent Rolling Stone interview (late September issue) given by Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen. Please direct your browser to http://rollingstone.com for the full interview.
Rolling Stone: This has obviously been on your mind for a while. How did you come to this decision?
Bruce Springsteen: I knew after we invaded Iraq that I was going to be involved in the election. It made me angry. We started to talk about it onstage. I take my three minutes a night for what I call my public-service announcement. We talked about it almost every night on our summer tour.
I felt we had been misled. I felt they had been fundamentally dishonest and had frightened and manipulated the American people into war. And as the saying goes, "The first casualty of war is truth." I felt that the Bush doctrine of pre-emption was dangerous foreign policy. I don't think it has made America safer.
Look at what is going on now: We are quickly closing in on what looks an awful lot like the Vietnamization of the Iraq war. John McCain is saying we could be there for ten or twenty years, and John Kerry says four years. How many of our best young people are going to die between now and that time, and what exactly for? Initially I thought I was going to take my acoustic guitar and play in some theaters, find some organizations to work for and do what I could. I was going to lend my voice for a change in the administration and a change in the direction of the country.
Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time. Not getting involved, just sort of maintaining my silence or being coy about it in some way, just wasn't going to work this time out. I felt that it was a very clear historical moment.
Rolling Stone: So there wasn't a moment of doubt in your mind about what the right thing to do was?
Bruce Springsteen: It was something that gestated over a period of time, and as events unfolded and the election got closer, it became clearer. I don't want to watch the country devolve into an oligarchy, watch the division of wealth increase and see another million people beneath the poverty line this year. These are all things that have been the subtext of so much of my music, and to see the country move so quickly to the right, so much further to the right than what the president campaigned on -- these are the things that removed whatever doubt I may have had about getting involved.
Rolling Stone: How much do you follow this election?
Bruce Springsteen: I think that Senator Kerry has long played it close to the vest, and that's his style. However, the presidency is like the heavyweight championship: They don't give it to you, you have to take it. He has a slow, deliberate style that may not make for an electrifying campaigner, but it may make for a very good president. But, of course, you have to get there.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this election is that the machinery for taking something that is a lie and making it feel true, or taking something that is true and making it feel like a lie -- the selling machinery has become very powerful. Senator Kerry has to make people pay attention to the man behind the curtain. He has to take the risk and rip the veil off the administration's deceptions. They are a hall of mirrors and a house of cards.
For Senator Kerry, the good news is he has the facts on his side. The bad news is that often in the current climate it can feel like that doesn't matter, and he has to make it matter.
Rolling Stone: What do you think of how the election is being covered and conducted through the press?
Bruce Springsteen: The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that. I think that Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power.
The Washington Post and New York Times apologies about their initial reporting about Iraq not being critical enough were very revealing. I am a dedicated Times reader, and I've found enormous sustenance from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd on the op-ed page. There has been great reporting, but there has also been some self-consciousness in some of the reporting about the policy differences in this election.
This is going to be an issue after the election. I don't know if it began with the Iraq War, but shortly thereafter there was an enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels. It was very disheartening. The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard.
The free press is supposed to be the lifeline and the blood of democracy. That is the position of responsibility that those institutions have. Those things are distorted by ratings and by money to where you're getting one hour of the political conventions. No matter how staged they are, I think they're a little more important than people eating bugs. I think that for those few nights, the political life of the nation should take priority, and the fact that it so casually does not means something is wrong. If you want to watch people eating bugs, that's fine, I can understand that, too, but let's do it on another night.
Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying facade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms. It should be gloriously presented to the people on a nightly basis. The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day.
Rolling Stone: Do you think the press is leading us away from a fair and objective reading of this election?
Bruce Springsteen: It's gotten very complicated, and I think it's blurred the truth. Whether you like the Michael Moore film or not, a big part of its value was that it showed how sanitized the war that we received on television at night is. The fact that the administration refused to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of returning dead, that the president hasn't shown up at a single military funeral for the young people who gave their lives for his policies, is disgraceful. You have the Swift-boat guys who have been pretty much discredited, but there is an atmosphere that is created by so much willing media exposure that it imparts them credibility.
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