Bruce: "Its just too big a battle to lay out of"


Geraldine Sealey
August 4, 2004 11:15PM (UTC)

Bruce Springsteen usually keeps away from partisan politics, backing one party or candidate over another, and interviews with journalists. Today, he breaks from his personal tradition on both fronts. There was the announcement this morning that he and the E Street Band will perform on the Vote for Change Tour, presented by MoveOn.org and benefitting America Coming Together, with the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Babyface, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Harper, Jurassic 5, My Morning Jacket, Keb' Mo' and Bright Eyes.

And tonight Nightline will talk to Bruce about his decision to stump/sing against Bush. Springsteen's Web site published the following statement by The Boss: "I felt like I couldn't have written the music I've written, and been on stage singing about the things that I've sung about for the last twenty five years and not take part in this particular election."

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But you don't have to wait for Nightline to hear what Springsteen has to say about his decision to advocate ousting Bush: He gave an interview to his fan magazine/Web site Backstreets the day after the Democratic convention ended, and he talks about what motivated him to take a stand on what he calls the most important election of his lifetime.

Springsteen: "I think that the government has drifted too far from American values. After 9/11, I was like everybody else -- I supported going into Afghanistan, and I felt tremendous unity in the country that I dont think Ive ever felt exactly like that before. It was a moment of great sadness, but also tremendous possibility. And I think that was dashed when we jumped headlong into the Iraq war, which I never understood, and I talked about that on the road. I never understood how or why we really ended up there. We offered up the lives of the best of our young people under circumstances that have been discredited. I had to live through that when I was young myself, and for any of us that lived through the Vietnam War, it was just very devastating."

"Along with that, the deficits, the squeezing of services like the after-school services for the kids who need it the most, the big windfall tax cuts, the division of wealth that has threatened our connection to one another over the past 20 years that is increasing. these are things that as the election time neared -- I couldnt really keep true to the ideas that Id written about for 30 years without weighing in on this one."

"I dont think Ive seen anything like it before in my lifetime. I think that the freedoms that weve taken for granted -- I spoke about this on the road a little bit, too -- they are slowly being eroded. In the past I've gotten involved in a lot of grassroots organizations that sort of expressed my views, and where I thought I could be of some small help. I guess Ive been doing that for about 20 years, and that was a way that I was very happy to work. I always believed that it was good for the artist to remain distant from the seat of power, to retain your independent voice, and that was the way I liked to conduct my work. But the stakes in this one are just too high. I felt like, given what Ive written about, the things that Ive wanted our band to stand for over the years, its just too big a battle to lay out of."

..."Myself, I like John Kerry a lot. I dont think he has all the answers, or that John Edwards has all the answers, but I think they have the experience, the life experience, and I think they have the sincerity to ask the hard questions about America and to try to search for honest solutions. I believe theyre going to do that. And I dont feel that way about the guys who are in there right now. I feel that trust has been broken, and theres no going back."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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