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Springsteen: Trouble in the heartland

Bruce Springsteen has written a moving forward to a new book called Someplace Like America: Tales from the New Great Depression, by author Dale Maharidge and Washington Post photographer Michael S. Williamson. He notes than an earlier book by the pair inspired him a decade ago to write the song "Youngstown" (city shown above, song below). Today he writes:

It tells of the political failure of our representatives to stem this tide (when not outright abetting it), of their failure to steer our economy in a direction that might serve the majority of hard-working American citizens and of their allowing of an entire social system to be hijacked into the service of the elite. The stories allow you to feel the pounding destruction of purpose, identity and meaning in American life, sucked out by a plutocracy determined to eke out its last drops of tribute, no matter what the human cost. And yet it is not a story of defeat. It also details the family ties, inner strength, faith and too-tough-to-die resilience that carry our people forward when all is aligned against them.

When you read about workers today, they are discussed mainly in terms of statistics (the unemployed), trade (the need to eliminate and offshore their jobs in the name of increased profit) and unions (usually depicted as a purely negative drag on the economy). In reality, the lives of American workers, as well as those of the unemployed and the homeless, make up a critically important cornerstone of our country's story, past and pres­ent, and in that story, there is great honor.

When a word like "plutocracy" enters the lexicon of a Bruce Springstreen, that gives a sense of how much plutocracy is threatening this country.

What are we going to do about it?