BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S COMMENTS FROM THE STAGE AT CLEVELAND'S VOTE FOR CHANGE RALLY
November 2, 2008
It's great to be here today among friends. I'd like to thank Senator Obama and his folks for inviting me. I've been here many times since 1973, but never on a day as glorious as this one. We are at the crossroads.
I've spent 35 years writing about America and its people. What does it mean to be an American? What are our duties, our responsibilities, our reasonable expectations when we live in a free society? I saw myself less as a partisan for any particular political party, than as an advocate for a set of ideas. Economic and social justice, America as a positive influence around the world. Truth, transparency and integrity in government. The right of every American to a job, a living wage, to be educated in a decent school, to a life filled with the dignity of work, promise, and the sanctity of home. These are the things that make a life, that build and define a society. These are the things we think of on the deepest level, when we refer to our freedoms. Today those freedoms have been damaged, and curtailed by eight years of a thoughtless, reckless, and morally adrift administration.
I spent most of my life as a musician measuring the distance between the American dream and American reality. For many Americans who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no health care, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities, the distance between that dream and their reality has never been greater or more painful. I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and work. I believe he understands in his heart the cost of that distance in blood and suffering in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president he would work to bring that dream back to life, and into the lives of many of our fellow Americans, who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning.
In my job, I travel around the world, and occasionally play in big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I continue to find everywhere I go that America remains a repository for people's hopes and desires. That despite the terrible erosion of our standing around the world, for many we remain a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down. That is something only we can do, and we're not going to let that happen.
This administration will be leaving office, dumping in our laps the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis. Our house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power, influence or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, pragmatism, toughness and faith. But most of all it needs us. You and me. All a nation has that keeps it from coming apart is the social contract between its' citizens. Whatever grace God has deemed to impart to us resides in our connections with one another, in honoring the life, the hopes, the dreams, of the man or woman up the street, or across town. That's where we make our small claim upon heaven. In recent years that contract has been shredded and as we look around today, it is shredding before our eyes. But today we are at the crossroads.
I'm honored to be here on the same stage as Senator Obama. From the beginning, there has been something in Senator Obama that has called upon our better angels, I suspect, because he has had a life where he has so often had to call upon his. We're going to need all the angels we can get on the hard road ahead. Senator Obama helped us rebuild our house big enough for the dreams of all our citizens. For how well we accomplish this task will tell us what it means to be an American in the new century, what's at stake, and what it means to live in a free society. So I don't know about you, but I want my country back, I want my dream back, I want my America back. Now is the time to stand together with Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the millions of Americans that are hungry for a new day, roll up our sleeves and come on up for the rising.