I have a little brand. I can pretty much write or say whatever I want. If I assume the (political) position, I’ll get a few hate emails and it’s a drag to lose readers, but the numbers are small. The risk is miniscule.
Bruce Springsteen has a big brand. When he makes a decision to stand up to unfair laws in North Carolina or appear at a Hillary Clinton event on election eve, he knows he’ll lose a lot of fans and a considerable amount of revenue; he knows he’s alienating and frustrating millions of those who considered themselves ardent fans.
Springsteen could greatly reduce the potential hit to his audience share by providing his support on the down low; playing private fundraisers, donating capital. But he chooses to play the big get-out-the vote events.
A lot of times we write off celebrity involvement in politics. We question their right to voice an opinion just because they’re famous. But there’s something here to be lauded. Many times, these folks are putting half their careers on the line.
When my kids were little, I used to sing them to sleep with Springsteen songs every night. The characters in the songs gradually became characters in an ongoing story. The highway patrolman with a brother gone bad. Johnny 99 out in front of the Club Tip Top. A lot of conversations about Mary getting pregnant.
Tonight I showed them Springsteen in Philly walking the walk for a candidate who was born to run, and we talked about what it means to be an artist with the courage of his convictions. Sometimes, the poets down here don’t just stand back and let it all be.
These days, my kids are too old to put up with my singing at bedtime. Luckily, the dogs still seem to dig it.