Bruce Springsteen’s boycott of North Carolina over anti-transgender legislation is a bully tactic? Compared to what?
In the wake of North Carolina’s passage of House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which forbids transgendered people from using the public bathroom marked for their preferred gender, that same state has been hammered by boycott after boycott.
In fact, on April 8, 2016, acclaimed rock and roll singer-songwriter and longtime progressive activist Bruce Springsteen announced in a letter to fans that he would cancel a concert in Greensboro scheduled to take place on April 10.
“As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the ‘bathroom’ law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.
“Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
Addressing the letter in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Mark Walker, a Southern Baptist pastor and U.S. Representative from North Carolina’s 6th congressional district, expressed his petulance toward the Boss:
“Bruce is known to be on the radical left and he’s got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic. It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”
Of course, Rep. Walker’s remarks are nothing but cheap, hollow blame-shifting. It’s also plain that he doesn’t take into account that Bruce Springsteen is certainly concerned with making sure that transgendered people who attend his concerts have the basic human right to use the bathroom safely and without hassle.
Moreover, Bruce Springsteen’s attitude is also correct in that no transgendered people have been arrested for committing sexual misconduct in a public restroom, but strangely enough, three Republican lawmakers have gotten busted for that exact sort of thing over the last forty years. Given those statistics, it isn’t worth the manpower or the tax dollars trying to prosecute transgendered people for doing nothing more than making effort toward a more tenable life. The boycotts arising because of people’s righteous disapproval to this unconstitutional abomination compounds the money drain, and the only ones to blame are the hateful, ignorant Republican politicians who would never get votes if they didn’t mark a scapegoat for their constituents.
So, stop whining, Mark Walker! You and your fellow delinquent Republicans caused this! Not the Boss!
Featured image: Bruce Springsteen (Wikimedia Commons).