One of the ways I've noted that our current president is historically awful is that he inspires people to do things they normally wouldn't do, simply because Bush needs to be stopped. I'm a good example: I don't usually vote for Democrats, but I'll be casting my ballot for John Kerry in the fall, and I've given some money to Democratic candidates across the country, simply because Bush needs to be stopped.
Now comes the latest and in some ways most startling example so far. Bruce Springsteen is going to be playing a series of concerts as part of the Vote for Change tour. Bruce has been an advocate for various political causes in his day, to be sure ... he has often spoken out from the stage about issues that concern him, and one of his most famously bootlegged shows comes from a benefit he played for the leftist Christic Institute. But Bruce has mostly stayed away from explicit public endorsements of presidential candidates. He chastised Reagan for trying to co-opt "Born in the USA," but didn't come out for Mondale in the process, for instance.
Now, though ... "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."
It's no surprise, by the way, that the roster of artists who will be appearing at the Vote of Change concerts are conspicuous in their lack of hip-hop artists. The MoveOn website announcing the tour lists 17 artists, of which only two have some connection to hip-hop (Jurassic 5 and Babyface). Keb' Mo' and Ben Harper are also onboard, but this is gonna be a pretty white group, to put it bluntly. A pretty old group, too ... the Dixie Chicks and Jurassic 5 are as young as it gets. All props to the artists who are participating, but you'd think the list of performers could skew a little younger and a little more hip-hoppish.