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Friday, October 23, 2009

Bono: U.S. more polarized 



AP music writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody writes today about U2:
Charismatic front man Bono, in a reflective mood as U2 closes the North American leg of its "360" tour, notes the different, more polarized atmosphere in the United States since the band performed its anthem, "City of Blinding Lights," at President Obama's inauguration in January.

"I didn't think it could come to this so quickly, after the joyous occasion of that election," Bono says in an interview on board the band's plane, as they jet to another stop on the tour. "I thought America was looking good. ... Things are getting a little rough now."
(Emphasis added)

Unless I am misunderstanding the reporter, Bono is saying that in the 9 months and 3 days since President Obama was inaugurated, he perceives that there has been an increase in the degree of polarization in the U.S. While it is certainly true that President Obama's honeymoon has come to its natural conclusion (as would be the case with all new presidents), and his popularity has declined from the stratosphere to the levels inhabited by mere mortal politicians, I am not sure how that equates to more polarization.

Frankly, the country does not seem any more polarized now in October 2009 than it has been at any point over the past 5 years, but perhaps what Bono is picking up on is the new forums that conservatives have used to vent, now that they are out of power in the executive branch and have large majorities against them in the legislative branch. I also believe it is important to distinguish between the normal rough and tumble discourse that takes place in a republic with a strong tradition of free speech, and actual polarity -- meaning that the political extremes dominate the discussion, which can lead to longer term instability.

I do not believe that Bono meant his remark as an indirect slap at President Obama, who, after all, campaigned with the theme of changing politics as usual, and becoming the first post-partisan President (clearly, that has not happened). Well, at least Bono is trying to, er, elevate the discussion. He would have been a worthy Nobel Peace Prize recipient this year.


12 Comments:

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Sat Oct 24, 02:39:00 AM:

Do we really need to waste any time over the political musings of vapid international pop music stars?  

By Blogger Donald Douglas, at Sat Oct 24, 03:39:00 AM:

Actually, Bono's been one of the less abrasive media/rock personalities. REM joined the campaign to close Gitmo, so that's actually contributing to the polarization. It's to the point that it hard just listening to music these days.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Oct 24, 06:50:00 AM:

Bono is not vapid. I think he is interesting. And he has done a lot of good for the world's most tragic continent.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat Oct 24, 07:01:00 AM:

Bono and the media interviewer, sitting in the corporate jet, probably sipping some chateaux de neuf, dark glasses on at night...commenting on the polarity in the US.

I think I liked him better when he confined his comments to Irish politics...but I agree that he's a more balanced voice than Greenday or the Dixie Chicks.


I don't thenk that makes him admirable, unless you compare him to any number of empty suits we have in Washington...in which case he dies indeed deserve the Nobel Prize.  

By Blogger davod, at Sat Oct 24, 09:04:00 AM:

"I do not believe that Bono meant his remark as an indirect slap at President Obama, who, after all, campaigned with the theme of changing politics as usual, and becoming the first post-partisan President (clearly, that has not happened)."

Obama has been divisive since he took office.  

By Blogger TOF, at Sat Oct 24, 09:47:00 AM:

Obama did not campaign on changing politics as usual. He campaigned on a platform of constitutional change and "spreading the wealth." Most people just brushed that off as campaign rhetoric  

By Blogger buck smith, at Sat Oct 24, 09:55:00 AM:

This comment has been removed by the author.  

By Blogger buck smith, at Sat Oct 24, 09:56:00 AM:

He would have been a worthy Nobel Peace Prize recipient this year.

I am gagging on this statement. In his African activist role Bono never really speaks truth to power with the African [post-colonial] political leaders. They are the reason Africa is f*d up. The is why the appeal for more money from western taxpayers makes me so nauseous. I will admit Bono is a more valid Nobel Peace Prize recipient than Obama.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Sat Oct 24, 11:49:00 AM:

Bono still has one of the biggest egos in music, even if he does work for Africa and is generally a good guy.

Matthew Bellamy from Muse is a conspiracy theorist, so he doesn't particularly help de-polarize the discourse.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Oct 24, 12:26:00 PM:

Oh come now. "[J]oyous occasion of that election?" Really? His boy won by a whole 2% majority.

Typical limousine liberal worldview. Political and even polite opposition to the ambitious domestic agenda of the liberal messiah is evidence of 'not-good' polarization, yet personal, nasty, and occasionally violent opposition to the Bushitler was par for the course.

Illustrative anecdote, in which Bono insulted Bush in public and was then congratulated for it by then Senator Obama.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sat Oct 24, 03:05:00 PM:

You can't fix Africa until you fix the kleptocratic regimes that constantly bleed it dry.

Giving "aid" simply enables those in power to keep stealing and running thugocracies.

Quite a few of the African intelligentsia have finally realized this and are saying the west should stop sending aid as it just makes thing worse and creates dependency.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Oct 24, 08:45:00 PM:

Bono lost me entirely when he moved his company out of Ireland so he could avoid paying taxes. Tax money which could have been used to help those less fortunate. Then he got on a plane and came to the US to lecture us about doing more for Africa.

His brand of liberalism is what allows the kleptocracies to thrive in Africa.  

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