Democrats & Liberals Archives

Protest Songs

I am not a big fan of Oprah Winfrey. I believe the enormous amount of influence she has can be converted into viable political capital, and can bring about genuine change in this country. It is not enough for her to donate millions to good causes, as a moneyed figure as Bill Gates can do. It’s her preference to secretly donate money to political causes and political candidates, which angers me. Her refusal to reveal her more moderate to Liberal leanings is calculated, preferring to put her business and career interests first, and not in possible jeopardy. Which begs the question, how much money and fame is enough, to finally risk some of its principal to exact real change?

I previously thought the same of Bruce Springsteen. Being a music lover, it was not hard to deduce his political philosophy, as it was also reasonable to suspect it contrasted with a significant segment of his fan base. So, when the controversy surrounding the release of his single ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ erupted, I was more than curious as to how it would play out. What became perfectly clear, was that ‘the Boss’ was finally willing to risk what financial or public relation injury to his career, as it was more important to utilize his influence to shed light on an injustice.

Here’s where I’d use some appropriate Springsteen lyric in referring to his Op-Ed piece today in The New York Times. As eloquent is his argument, I hope the same of it’s influence, ten-fold. By now, you must know of the 34 dates in 28 Battleground state cities tour headlined by the Boss, including such artists as Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Dixie Chicks and Bonnie Raitt. But, you might not be aware of the Future Soundtrack for America Cd, a project to support, that features donated music from such artists as David Byrne, Chicago’s own Ok Go, R.E.M. (of course), the Flaming Lips and many more.

Just think, if the Republicans were to attempt such a tour and/or Cd, here is a partial list of ‘Musicians’ (that I know of) that are publicly supporting Bush/Cheney ’04: Hank Williams Jr., Toby Keith, Bruce Willis, Travis Tritt, Wynona Judd, Ted Nugent, Christian acts Third Day and Micheal W. Smith, Billy Ray Cyrus and Larry Gatlin. Of course, all that Confederate flag twangin’ and Jesus jingles could be offset by the comedy stylings of avowed Republicans’ Ben Stein and Kelsey Grammer, right?

Many on the Right are now trying to lump this band of musicians into their conveniently, pre-demonized group of the ‘Hollywood Elite’. However, the connection between a passionate, longtime fan of the group U2 differs greatly (and in much larger numbers), than the connection of a Whoopi Goldberg fan. More accurately, when an artist of Eric Clapton and Don Henley’s stature donate music to a documentary such as Outfoxed, this simple act could quite possibly sway a dedicated fan.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at August 10, 2004 12:01 AM