|Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zack Brown |
at Veterans Day concert. (AP Photo by Carol Kaster)
Since Bruce Springsteen’s Veteran’s Day Concert for Valor performance — with Dave Grohl and Zack Brown — of John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son” in Washington, DC, the singer has remained silent over the uncalled-for ruckus it raised with some conservative voices.
Those who nitpicked about the three-minute segment, and questioned Springsteen’s sensitivity and good taste, are evidently blinded by the right — not to mention red, white and blue.
It is unnecessary for the New Jersey native to defend his song selection, since his crabby conservative critics are obviously uninformed about the extraordinary support that Bruce Springsteen has provided to veterans and related causes throughout his career.
Moreover, the song is an anti-war — NOT anti-troops — message that soundly condemns the process that sent soldiers off to an unpopular war. It does not impugn veterans, but, instead, attacks the undemocratic military draft that compelled many to serve overseas, while “fortunate sons” dodged the prospect of combat or played weekend warriors for a few years.
At the top of that elite heap are such right wing advocates as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and George Romney, who obtained deferments or exercised their religion to avoid possibly serving in Vietnam.
Fogerty’s lyrics make particular references to the draft’s inequitable playing field. Specifically: Some folks are born silver spoon in hand/Lord, don’t they help themselves.
In retrospect, the Vietnam War was a hopeless quagmire that is generally acknowledged as an abysmal blunder shaped by the government’s irresponsible policy.
Incidentally, earlier this year, the “Fortunate Son” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Not long after the concert, a Fox News talking head criticized Springsteen — but failed to refer to his singing partners. On the network’s site, “The Five” co-host Eric Bolling posted a patriotic rant calling Springsteen a fool “for singing an anti-war anthem” that “degrades” an audience made up mostly of vets, who “fight for our freedom,” and their families.
Fox News anchor Anna Kooiman called the performance “almost a slap in the face” to veterans. She then brought up another Bruce Springsteen-related misunderstanding. “… (He) has a history of doing this. If you think about ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ you think, ‘that's got to be an American anthem, right?’ Well, really, it’s critical of Vietnam.”
While campaigning for reelection, President Ronald Reagan mistook “Born in the USA,” the title song of his 1984 album, as a patriotic boost. The right wing idol was subsequently chastised by Springsteen for the misinterpretation. The song actually recounts the lack of economic and social opportunity for a disillusioned Vietnam veteran.
When the Veterans Day concert segment ended, the audience reaction was positive and lacked any perceptible jeering. The only disapproval came from conservatives, who were not at the show, but may have seen the live HBO simulcast or clips of the trio’s performance.
Springsteen’s critics’ heads are buried so deep in the sands of conservatism, they probably didn’t know that a week before the concert, the Friars Club Foundation announced it would present him with their first-ever “Entertainer Award.” In January, the veteran rocker will be among ten recipients to be honored with a Lincoln Award being bestowed “to those who improve the lives of veterans and their families.”
Whether or not you’re a Springsteen fan or don’t appreciate his music, you’ve have to admire the guy for his dogged support for the nation’s veterans, as well as other charitable causes he continues to support.