Read Tim Grieve’s account in Salon.com of Bruce Springsteen’s rally for John Kerry in front of 80,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin. Here’s a snippet.
“I’ve been writing about America for 30 years,” [Springsteen] said. “I’ve tried to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. I believe that these essential ideals of American identity are what’s at stake on Nov. 2.”
Springsteen talked about the choice facing America on the recent “Vote for Change” tour benefiting America Coming Together, but this time he delivered his remarks with much more of the world watching. Hundreds of journalists from around the globe hung on Springsteen’s every word. And with people jammed through the streets leading to Wisconsin’s State Capitol, the city of Madison literally stood still to listen.
Quietly strumming his guitar as he spoke, Springsteen said Kerry understands that people are not infallible, that struggle and heartbreak are an inevitable part of the human experience. “That’s why we need each other,” he said. “That’s why ‘United We Stand’ … and ‘one nation indivisible’ aren’t just slogans. They need to remain the guiding principles of our public life.”
Springsteen called on the country to face “America’s hard truths, both the good and the bad.” “That’s where we find a deeper patriotism, that’s where we find a more complete view of who we are. That’s where we find a more authentic experience as citizens, and that’s where we find the power … to make our world a better and a safer place.”
As the huge crowd grew quiet, Springsteen quoted the late Sen. Paul Wellstone — “The future is for the passionate” — and he said the time to act is now. “That’s why I’m here today to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting.” When he was done, Springsteen reached for his guitar and leaned into “No Surrender,” the song that opens every Kerry campaign rally. As autumn leaves fell around him, Springsteen reinvented the song. The anthemic rock ‘n’ roll song became a meditation on promises made and hopes held tight, and he dedicated it to John Kerry.
We’re moving into that phase of the campaign where it takes on a life and a spirit of its own and all we can do now is just hold on tight and do whatever it takes to get the truth out there. Believe it.