Larry Gatlin is the lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning Gatlin Brothers group. He packs a lot of wisdom into his brief Wall Street Journal column this morning:
Since Bruce Springsteen is about to “Rock the Vote” for John Kerry, I’d be only too happy to start booking my motel rooms to hit the road for George W. Bush. With my brothers Steve and Rudy, my buddies the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and any number of other country music artists who get their support from the Heartland, I’m going to find the time, come fall, to tell America that we’re playing, and praying, for President Bush.
Musicians can be political, and when the right time comes — and the right cause — they will be. But while I respect Bruce Springsteen’s artistry and even his opinions on the current political situation (as expressed not long back in the New York Times), I see the world differently. Here’s my take.
The intel on Iraq that President Bush saw raised red flags to some analysts and doubt in others. Some said there was an imminent threat, some said there was not. I believe that if one of Mr. Springsteen’s friends were to swear to him that his house was on fire and another that it was not, he, or anybody, would surely check it out.
Well, our house was on fire. President Bush and an army of “the good guys and the good gals” checked it out. Big Time. And as a result, the bad guys have not been able to set our house on fire again.
To say, as John Kerry has, that “If attacked I will respond decisively” is not enough in today’s world. Good Lord, Senator Kerry — Barney Fife would respond decisively if we were attacked again! President Bush had the strength of will and courage to preemptively take out those who would attack us. I say “Rock on, Mr. President” (you too, Bruce). Keep checking out the bad guys and let Barney keep peace in Mayberry (a little humor in the middle of a very serious situation).
My gratitude to the president isn’t confined to his role in keeping us safe. His tax cuts have helped all Americans who pay federal income taxes and have jump-started an economy that was in recession through no fault of President Bush. Those who refuse to see that have their heads in the sand and a “Kerry for President” bumper sticker on their SUVs. (I’d say the former condition is pretty much a prerequisite for the latter.) I’m no economist, but I do know two things for sure: I never got a job from a poor man; and the more money people have in their pockets, the more jobs they create by spending that money.
President Bush’s attempts at education reform have been thwarted at every turn for fear that vouchers might actually work. (Imagine that, Ted Kennedy!) His faith-based initiatives tried to help those who can’t help themselves, only to be “shot down” for fear that someone might get well and that God might have something to do with it. I was lucky. I had the money for my little “28-day vacation in pajamas” 20 years ago. There are millions out there who are not so lucky. So they die in the back streets of America for want of help. God only knows how many. (But there’s the rub — we can’t say God and government on the same page.)
In closing, I’d say this to Bruce Springsteen: We do have something in common — we were both “Born in the USA.” From the bottom of my heart I say, Thank God.