In Mexico's La Jornada, David Brooks (not THAT David Brooks) wrote a year end piece for his column "American Curios"which he began this way (my translation):
"You can finish the year by repeating again [the news about] political fights, killings, hurricanes, fiscal cliffs, unemployment and hunger, about useless and obscene wars, or maybe about all the disasters. But there are other sounds as important, or possibly even more so. There are two such people this year of 2012. They are not presidents or leaders; they are not the most successful, nor, by a long shot, the newest. They are two masters who hurl the past towards the future with a fury, a collective fury which is always just under the surface (for good or for ill). But they also insist on making order out of chaos, on loving, on facing their demons and finally on inviting everyone to join in song and dance together.
"The first of these masters is Bruce Springsteen, the expression of blue collar America's conscience in his recent album (the seventeenth) which, if you listen well and with care, you will hear how, as a 'nobody' he crystallizes the immediate moment for the nobodies, from the nobodies. Perhap no other expression summarizes so clearly the great crisis through which this country is living....[The second is Buddy Guy about whom Brook also writes movingly in the same column. You can read that in Spanish by following the "American Curios" link above.]
"We Are Alive", on his latest CD Wrecking Ball deals with the sweat and the struggle of workers and civil right movements starting in the nineteenth century and includes the struggles of Mexican immigrants. As he sings, 'We are alive/and though our bodies lie alone here in the dark/our spirits rise to carry the fire and light the spark/to stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart/A voice cried out, I was killed in Maryland in 1877/When the railroad worker made thier stand/Well, I was killed in 1963 one Sunday morning in Birmingham/Well, I died last year crossing the southern desert/my children left behind in San Pablo/Well, they have left our bodies here to rot/Ay, please let them know we are alive/Oh, and though we lie here alone in the dark/Our souls will rise to carry the fire and light the spark/to fight shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart.' [Lyrics are from the Springteen original].
"Springsteen is 'the most influenctial musical voice in the United States," says Rolling Stone. It was for this reason that President Barack Obama called upon him for the final stage of the election (thus a confession that the person who had greater moral authority and criedibililty among workers and "common people" was not the Democratic candidate but rather The Boss). And while he was doing this, he undertook a national television telethon to collect funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy which had devastated the coast of his home state, New Jersey, and he began to organize a megaconcert with the same message that he brought to fruition this month in New York and that was transmitted to the entire world. At sixty three, Springsteen, at the time, offered some of the best (and longest) concerts of his carreer.
"His musical explorations have brought him through history, through music he heard as a youngster, discovering heroes like Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seger, rebels of folk music, or more accurately, of common people. Some say that hs music is an exploration of the weave of American life, of pleasure and redemption, of its dreams and disasters, and hope in everything.
"he is also a pure rock-and-roller or, as he says, a pastor of the majesty, the mystery and the ministry of rock and roll....[He says] I can't promise eternal life, but I can promis you life right now."
This may only have a brief reference to Mexicans, but it expresses much sympathy for the plight of migrants. I am happy that Springsteen is recognized in La Jornada. He courses through the blood of a lot of Americans, and as an easterner, whenever I hear him, he brings me back, with passion, to my roots. I believe he also speaks a language Mexicans are moved by: not only migrants, but workers, campesinos, crowds rushing through the cities who can hardly make ends meet.