Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Song Lyric of the Day (Bruce Springsteen, on How ‘Fear’s a Powerful Thing’)

“Fear’s a powerful thing
It can turn your heart black, you can trust
It’ll take your God-filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust.” —Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, “Devils and Dust,” from his CD of the same name (2005)

Fifteen years ago this week, Springsteen’s Devils and Dust CD was released. It was less anthemic than The Rising from three years before, more filled with quiet, unmistakable rage against the Iraq War.

At the time, the full dimensions of what would be a disastrous conflict had not yet come fully into view. But now, it is clear that fear did indeed distort American policy abroad. I am afraid that today, fear is once again clouding the vision of many citizens of this country—about their fellow men, even about the nature of truth itself. 

Even aside from a death toll that has already surpassed American casualties over 12 years in Vietnam (an even more misbegotten military misadventure than the Iraq War), the coronavirus has brought us to a more dangerous pass than The Boss could ever have imagined 15 years ago. We are miles away from FDR’s confident claim that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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