Rock icon Bruce Springsteen and his pal and collaborator, Joe Grushecky, whipped up a protest song about President Donald Trump. The song, released on April 19 on the Sirius-XM Radio channel E-Street, is called “That’s What Makes Us Great.” The lyrics take aim as the Trump administration’s immigration policy and is a play on the Trump campaign phrase, “Make America Great Again.”
It is no secret that Bruce Springsteen does not like Trump. At a concert in Australia in January, he declared himself and the E-Street band as the “new American resistance.” In 2016, during an interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “the republic is under siege by a moron.” In the thinly veiled and cautious reference, it is assumed he is referring to Donald Trump.
So, another celebrity has lashed out at President Trump, but for what reason? Celebrity statements and snide comments about the President have become commonplace. Nobody who reads the news or watches media believes there is any substantial support for President Trump in celebrity circles. So, what was the purpose of the song? Why did Grushecky, a lesser-known in the celebrity world, bother to write the song?
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Grushecky said he decided against Trump for President after Trump made fun of special needs people.
“[Trump] lost me the moment he started making fun of special needs people. How could a person like that be president of the United States? Regardless of all the other [stuff], that to me is appalling. I have special needs people in my family and in my neighborhood. I worked with special needs people my whole life and I was really offended by it.”
Interestingly, the song makes no mention of special needs people and doesn’t chastise Trump for his mocking of special needs people.
But what do the two artists plan for their piece of work? Do they believe that people will hear the song and cause them to take up a new point of view? Middle America, all those blue-collar towns that Bruce Springsteen has written songs about, overwhelmingly supported Trump during the election. The factory workers of Ohio, the farmers of Nebraska, and the coal miners of West Virginia voted for the President. In fact, a quick look at the election results map shows a swath of red straight up the center of the United States, extending from the tip of Florida up to the Canadian border, except for the island of blue formed by New Mexico and Colorado.
The song will certainly be a hit on the West Coast and the Northeast, the two strongest regions for Democrats and left-leaning centrists. They are people who already believe in the message of the song. There is no reason to “convert” them. They already don’t support Trump.
Public reaction to the song has been predictable. On social media, Trump supporters call Bruce an “aging star,” one even evoked the song “Youngstown,” saying the struggling economy of the town is one of the reasons Trump won the election.
Springsteen fans and anti-Trump critics call the song “awesome,” and Rolling Stone referred to the lyrics as “seething.”
Bruce Springsteen has nothing to lose by performing a song critical of the President. He is a pillar of the rock n’ roll community, and his impressive musical career could take care of him for several lifetimes. Bruce is currently on a yacht near Tahiti with former-President Obama and David Geffen. It is hard to see how he can connect with the millions of people is the mid-West who struggle with their more mundane, celebrity-free lifestyles.
It would appear Springsteen now plays to the two coasts and not to the people he had spent a lifetime chronicling with his songs. Instead of taking on the politicians of the past thirty years, the ones running the country as manufacturing and industrial job were shipped overseas or made obsolete, Bruce attacks the one person individuals in the mid-West have looked to for help.
[Featured Image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images]