Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Boss' Birthday

Bruce Springsteen turns 60 today.

It's hard to put into words what the man has meant to me, over the last several years, especially. I think moving to Chicago has made the meaning of his music that much more clear to me. Chicago is the "city of the big shoulders," we work for a living here. We have dreams, and sometimes those dreams don't come true, you may join up with the Big Man and "break the city in half," or you might walk out to the highway in the middle of the night and "find nothing but road." You don't get things handed to you, you have to work for them...

But you also get a fair shake. You get your fair shot to make those dreams come true.

A lot of people have taken Springsteen to task for his political stance in recent years, as if his leftist leanings were something new. I want to punch people who think "Born in the U.S.A." is some sort of jingoistic Regan-era anthem, if for no other reason than they're too damn stupid to listen to the fucking words. When Regan tried to appropriate it as such, Bruce denounced the whole administration from the stage.

What Springsteen wants is a fair shake for everyone. Not for everyone to have success handed to them, but for everyone to have the opportunity to carve out their little piece of the American Dream no matter where they started from. For, you see, there is a difference in how you are treated, the opportunities you get, depending if you're the son of a corporate CEO, the son of a New Jersey factory worker, or a black kid from the Chicago projects.

Anybody who can't see that is living in fantasy land. I'm sorry but it's true.

A completely free market is a wonderful idea, but, like Communism, it doesn't work worth a damn in practice. Why? Because people are no damn good, and there's always some dirt bag ready to take the system and squeeze it until it breaks.

Of course, we're all too busy defending our precious idealogical ground, and we've forgotten that the idea is to give everybody a fair shot. And, YES, the idea IS to give everyone a fair shot, not to prove your economic theory is superior, and MOST LIKELY that means something in the middle.

Because, "Nobody wins unless everybody wins."

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