Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
— Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.”
Am I the only one who finds it incredibly hypocritical that Bruce Springsteen is campaigning for John Kerry? In the past, Springsteen has refused numerous requests from political figures wanting to use his song “Born in the U.S.A.” for their campaigns because they didn’t understand what the song is about.
What is the song about? It is not an anthem of American pride, as many people believe, but a song about how horribly our military veterans were treated when they returned from Vietnam. As reviewer Barry Divola said, “… the song’s about a Vietnam vet coming home to America, not being able to get a job, being hated, being vilified and ending up destitute.”
Why were our Vietnam veterans “hated” and “vilified?” Yeah, you know where this is going. Because people like Jane Fonda and John Kerry publicly vilified our soldiers until many Americans did hate those veterans who went where they were told to go and fought against the oppression of communism.
You’ve seen this before, but it’s worth repeating a piece of Kerry’s 1971 congressional testimony.
They told stories that, at times, they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
Because of those words, millions of Americans came to think of United States soldiers as baby killers, rapists and monsters. Was it true? Of course not. Did those things happen? Probably so, but on a limited basis. As we know from the current war in Iraq, bad people will do bad things if the opportunity arises, and that opportunity comes more frequently in a theater of war. But anyone who thinks the majority of Vietnam vets did what Kerry described is horribly uninformed.
And now Springsteen is organizing a “Vote for Change” tour to promote a presidential candidate who was a primary instigator of the hatred he condemned in arguably his most popular song. But, if the Boss wants to publicly display his hypocrisy, that’s his business.
What truly concerns me is the thought that celebrity endorsements of political candidates and causes actually works. How vapid must a person be to vote for Kerry because Springsteen says to? “Oh, I liked that song ‘Born to Run’ and Bruce is a Kerry supporter, so Kerry must be the best candidate.”
Gimme a break. I’ve been a Ted Nugent fan for decades and am proud to know Nugent is one of the few conservative celebrities out there, but I’m not about to let the man influence my voting decisions.
And yet, judging from the success of television shows like “Entertainment Tonight” that gush over every celebrity fart aroma, it would seem that millions of people are influenced by the lives of stars.
Wake up! They are actors, singers, athletes, or whatever. Sure, they have the right to speak out on whatever issue they want, just like any other human, but their occupations don’t give them any secret or increased insight into political or social matters.
I’ll close this by talking about one more example of celebrity hypocrisy. My favorite example is Johnny Depp, who I think is one of the best actors working today, but who is a complete hypocrite.
In Sept. 2003 Depp told the German news magazine Stern that he liked living in France because, “America is dumb, it’s like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive.”
Yes, we are dumb. We keep letting this guy come back to a country he has no love for so he can make his movies, then we flock to the multiplexes to watch those films, filling his bank account with “dumb puppy” American dollars.
Unfortunately, for those Americans who lack the mental fortitude to study the issues for themselves and decide where they stand, celebrities like Springsteen and Depp will continue to suck cash from the American teat and defecate hypocrisy upon those who feed them.