[On his weekly "Kick Out the Jams" music/politics talk show on Sirius radio, my buddy Dave Marsh asked me what I thought of the rumor he had heard that Governor Corzine might ask Bruce Springsteen to fill his seat. My guess is that Dave thinks it's a horrible waste of Bruce's astounding talent. He's probably right, but I'm not a political junkie or a 30-year Springsteen fan for nothing, so my feeble brain began to race--to imagine what would happen if Bruce said yes, but then tried to change the rules of the game...]
An Open Letter to Bruce:
Yes, I know you don't really want to.
And yes, I know it's an idiotic waste of your talent under the normal rules of the game.
So what do you say, Bruce? Why not change the game?
The way you did with music.
Make it real again.
Imagine (as John would say): newly-elected New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine offers to appoint you, Bruce Springsteen, to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat.
What if you shocked everyone by saying yes?
What if you then filled your Senate office not with the usual allotment of legislative aides, but mostly with organizers? (And one skilled Senate parliamentarian, who could help you bring the place to a standstill whenever working people were about to be screwed over by the corporate big boys--sort of a Jesse Helms with decency...)
Working class America would finally have a U.S. Senator.
What if you, Bruce Springsteen, used your new Senate seat to travel the country firing up the street heat on your colleagues, signing up the young for community groups, talking about livable wages, raising money for candidates who would end the war in Iraq, pushing the issues of health care for all, affordable housing, renewable energy alternatives, an end to gas gouging?
What if you led town hall meetings with working families that have been hurt by globalized free trade?
What if Senator Springsteen gave concerts where admission was free if you signed up for a union?
What if Senator Springsteen held "hearings" in New Orleans with those displaced by the levee break? Or on Exxon's obscene record quarterly gas profits? Or on the fact that our public elections are privatized, and in control of secretive, partisan businesspeople with non-transparent vote-counting programs?
What if Bruce Springsteen told the people of New Jersey--look, I may miss some votes; and I may lose out on some highway pork here and there--but I'm not going to change. I'm still going to be Bruce Springsteen, working class tribune, only now I'm going to take my show into the Senate as well as out on the road.
I'm only going to serve one term, and I'm going to do it my way.
Because a working class hero is something to be...
Thunder Road. Tom Joad. It would be something to behold.
Steve (Austin '75 to D.C. '04)