Springsteen's Cancellation In North Carolina Tonight Represents A Vital All-American Tradition
"If Woody Guthrie were alive today, he'd have a lot to write about: high times on Wall Street and hard times on Main Street," Springsteen told his Madison Square Garden audience in 2009 as he brought out Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello for a powerful rendition of "The Ghost of Tom Joad," a song Springsteen wrote in 1995. That's it above.
Tom Joad was a John Steinbeck character from The Grapes of Wrath (1939) about whom Woody Guthrie sang (below). There is a colossal battle for the soul of the Democratic Party raging right now. The music of Springsteen and Guthrie represents the progressive values of the 1930s and '40s, the anti-fascist values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt that built the American middle class and, for a while, slapped down the oligarchy and self-styled aristocrats of this country. That's the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren/Alan Grayson/Donna Edwards wing of the Democratic Party. Hillary's wing, the Wall Street, "free" trade, professional class, Blue Dog/New Dem wing is more appropriately represented, musically, by Kanye West and Barbra Streisand.
Friday Snopes looked into news reports that Springsteen had cancelled his North Carolina concert that was scheduled for tonight in Greensboro as a protest to the anti-gay legislation the North Carolina legislature had passed and right-wing Governor Pat McCrory had rushed to immediately signed into law. That's a 6-figure loss for the Greensboro Coliseum but another p.r. black eye for North Carolina, it's government's obsessive homophobia also causing it to lose a new PayPal facility-- with hundreds of middle class jobs-- in Charlotte. Apple, Google, the NBA and American Airlines are reassessing their business relationships in the state as well. And I'll guess Springsteen won't be playing in Mississippi any time soon either.
Although DC Establishment groups and rich people posing as part of the grassroots LGBT equality movement have rallied behind Hillary-- despite an ugly homophobic record of flip flops and demagoguery-- front line gay activists overwhelmingly back Bernie. Yesterday, The Blade reported that he intends to challenge the North Carolina and Mississippi laws when he's in the White House.
The Democratic presidential candidate made the remarks during an appearance on The Viewwhen co-host Raven-Symoné asked what he would say to LGBT people in the aftermath of passage of those laws.What Bernie isn't go to get into is the minutiae of the North Carolina and Mississippi debate over transgender bathroom use. It would be hard to imagine that a transgendered woman is anywhere near as likely to be guilty of misconduct in a public bathroom as a Republican legislator. In fact, Republican legislators are always getting caught in public toilets trying to have sex with people. The Daily Grind pointed out several a couple weeks ago. Daniela Costa wrote that stats show that no trans person has ever been arrested for sexual misconduct in a public bathroom-- never, not once, not in North Carolina, not in Mississippi, not anywhere in the U.S. I suppose those statistics would have to be revised if transgendered person started getting elected to office as Republicans. That's because, historically Republican elected officials have posed a threat to innocent bathroom goers in public places. Costa gave 3 high-profile examples of the dozens from recent years:
“Not only what I would say, as president of the United States, I would do everything I can to overturn these outrageous decisions by Mississippi and North Carolina, etc.,” Sanders said. “We have gone too far as a nation. God knows, we have seen so much discrimination in our history, right? Against the African-American community, against Latinos, against the Irish, the Italians, the Jews.”
Invoking the words of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., Sanders said, “You judge people on the character, not on the color of their skin, and I would add, too, not on their gender or their sexual orientation.”
Sanders also talked LGBT rights-- in particular his vote against the 1996 anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act-- when asked about controversial remarks he made earlier this week in which he said Clinton isn’t qualified to be president because of special interest money donated to her Super PAC.
Insisting those remarks were in response to comments she made about him “not being qualified,” Sanders said Clinton has made questionable judgements on things like her 2002 vote for the Iraq vote and her initial support for DOMA.
“She regrets a lot of things, and I don’t mean to be sarcastic,” Sanders said. “We all mistakes, but I regret less than she does because I had the courage to vote the right way even when it was not necessarily popular.”
Going into further detail on DOMA, Sanders drew attention to Clinton’s support for law through her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign and desire to repeal only Section 3 of the law during her 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013, Clinton came out for full marriage equality.
“Secretary Clinton supported DOMA, her husband supported DOMA, signed the bill as a matter of fact,” Sanders said. “I stood out against that. So the point is, sometimes you got to stand up even when it’s not necessarily popular.”
Jon Hinson, a Mississippi congressman, was arrested in 1981 for having oral sex in the House of Representatives’ bathroom with a Library of Congress clerk. It wasn’t his first brush with the law either. In 1976, he was arrested after exposing himself to an undercover agent at the Iwo Jima memorial. Still, he managed to get reelected in 1980 after blaming the incident on alcoholism. But after the bathroom mishap in 1981, he resigned. To his credit, Hinson came out as gay shortly after, living out the rest of his life as an LGBT activist. He passed away from AIDS-related illness at 53.And Canadian rock star Bryan Adams cancelled a show scheduled for this Thursday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, citing state's pro-discrimination law. Remember when musicians stopped playing in South Africa over apartheid?
You couldn’t get away from this news story back in 2007. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican senator, was arrested for lewd conduct in a men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig famously insisted he simply had a “wide stance” after an undercover officer accused him of trying to initiate a sexual liaison. Craig eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, but two months later he tried to withdraw his plea. What’s more, he reversed his decision to resign from the Senate. Craig would finish out his term before declining to run for re-election in 2008.
Apparently 2007 was a busy year. That’s the year Florida state Representative Bob Allen was arrested for allegedly agreeing to pay $20 so he could perform oral sex on an undercover cop. Where exactly? In the men’s room of a public park. Allen did resign later that year, but he insisted the only reason he was in the bathroom was because he was scared of the African-American men in the park. The arresting officer was one of these men. It just goes to show that for Republican politicians, it’s better to be thought of as a racist than as wanting to suck another man’s dick.
Republicans definitely have an issue with bathrooms, but it’s not the one they keep spouting off about.