I’ve been asked what I think of Bruce Springsteen encouraging the crowd to “shout a little louder if you want the president impeached”.
I don’t think much of it. Just as I don’t really take the political opinions of Janeane Garofalo, Madonna, or the Dixie Chicks any more seriously just because they have the spotlight on them. Neither do I really put much stock in Ted Nugent when he rails on about the war, or when Charlie Daniels or Tim Robbins speak out in favor of what’s going on. These folks are certainly entitled to their opinion, even when they’re wrong, but just because they have access to microphones doesn’t mean I’m listening.
During the presidential election campaigns of 1984, both Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale tried to use Bruce Springsteen and his “Born in the USA” in their speeches as an example of patriotism and the new American spirit. Bruce was miffed and just laughed, mostly because the song is a Vietnam veteran’s anthem of disillusionment and regret, not a “rah-rah America” theme. The politicians didn’t “get” his music then, and I doubt they “get” it now.
But he expects everyone to just assume that he “gets” the issues he speaks out about.
According to an article in the Asbury Park Press:
Throughout the current leg of “The Rising” tour, which ends with Saturday’s show at Shea, Springsteen has used the stage as a platform to urge fans to question authority — specifically, to demand answers from the president about the reasons that led the United States into war with Iraq. He has tempered his remarks by saying that this is not a partisan issue, that both political parties lie, and that voters need to extract the truth from whomever is in charge.
If that’s really what Bruce is saying, I’m all for it. As he says in a monologue before “War” on the “Live: 1975-85” album, “Blind faith in your leaders, or in anyone, will get you killed.” Let’s ask the questions. Let’s listen to the answers. Let’s look at the facts. I think most of what we’ll see and hear support what we’re doing. But encouraging impeachment isn’t a non-partisan questioning of authority. At all.
Bruce is no idiot. In fact, I think he’s probably one of the smarter, more insightful rock stars out there. But his call for impeachment is really just plain silly and illustrates the fact that he’s better at writing and singing songs than he is at foreign policy or at leading the nation.