I woke up at 5:30 this morning like it was Christmas, and went to download Bruce Springsteen's "Magic" before going to the gym. I didn't notice that two friends had already sent it to me, but I was happy to pay for it. It's even better than I'd heard.
I listened to it while reading the New York Times' Blackwater coverage, and it was an eerily fitting soundtrack. I've spent my morning ever since in a bizarre state of sublime outrage, and focus. We have to have hit bottom as a country, right? A private mercenary army defended by counsel Kenneth Starr is killing Iraqis in cold blood, and Republicans in Congress are embracing it, insisting "Blackwater is our team"? It's finally, belatedly clear to me that the Bush administration has found the best war strategy for everyone: outsourcing whole chunks of it. Republican cronies like Erik Prince make a profit, and the party doesn't have to bother with the messy business of instituting a draft, which would stop the war, and kill the GOP's future, in about a half-day, flat. We are finally going to wake up, aren't we?
One trick to being alive today is figuring out how not to let the awful straits our country is in ruin our limited time on this wonderful, threatened planet. Springsteen helps. I feel blessed having grown up with him; I look forward to growing old together. The political subtext of "Magic" has been well explored, but that's not what's staying with me this morning. I can't get "Your Own Worst Enemy" out of my head; "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" is equally haunting.
For some reason, with all the "Magic" coverage I've read, one quote stood out to me, and it has nothing (directly) to do with politics. He told the Sunday Times: "Not only is our band still together, but -- and this is one of the things I'm proudest of -- all my guys are alive. It's not an accident. I've stood next to [Steve Van Zandt] since we were 16. I can't think of another band where all of the original members are still living, and on stage together and enjoying it. We had all the ups and downs that other bands have had, but we really took care of one another. I think when I was young, I felt the tug of chaos in my house, so I wanted a stable life. I like that long chain of experience." I do too. On this otherwise awful day, as Republicans rally around Blackwater and Rush Limbaugh's slurs against antiwar soldiers, there's another new Bruce Springsteen album, his best in many years. That's one for our team.