I’m not going to enjoy writing this piece. You see, U2 is my second favorite band of all time. The musical stylings of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen were a prominent part of the soundtrack of my late teens and early 20’s.
The band has always inserted political messages into their music, but in their latest video, they devolved into mindless race baiting and alarmist rhetoric. I can’t say I’m surprised – our political discourse has been full of extreme hysteria ever since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, the left’s anointed one, in the 2016 election. However, U2’s decision to join in is disappointing nonetheless.
U2’s “Get Out of Your Own Way” Video
The song “Get Out of Your Own Way,” was released last December on the album “Songs of Experience.” It’s a catchy tune – reminiscent of the music they made in the early 2000’s. But the video features vivid political imagery and comes off as a blatant piece of propaganda.
It shows a line of Ku Klux Klansmen marching past the oval office with President Donald Trump looking at them out of his window. Afterwards, it shows the Klansmen riding the subway and arriving at home. It then shows the face of the statue of liberty cracking as lead singer Bono sings “the face of liberty is starting to crack.” Later in the video, the viewer sees the body of Alan Kurdi washing up on the Turkish shore.
The video was created by Israeli graffiti artists The Broken Fingaz Crew. They released a statement explaining the purpose of the video:
“The video addresses the current political situation: 2017 for us was the year fascists worldwide felt confident enough to raise their heads again, encouraged by Trump and other world leaders, who use people’s fear to build more walls and segregation.”
Of course, The Broken Fingaz Crew did not expound on their assertion that “fascists worldwide” were raising their heads again – probably because there are no fascists raising their heads again. Nevertheless, with a statement like this, it’s no surprise that they would create a video linking the Ku Klux Klan to President Trump.
In an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Bono criticized the president. “I don’t think there’s any evidence in his life that he has the people who are hardest hit in mind,” he said. “And that really saddens me, because I know he likes to see their faces in the crowd, but I don’t think he wants to know who they are when they go home.”
Bono’s statement is nothing more than thinly-veiled race baiting. It’s a nicer way of saying “Trump doesn’t care about black people.” Of course, the singer probably didn’t know that Trump’s policies so far are helping black people and other minorities. The black unemployment rate is the lowest it’s ever been – and if he continues enacting sound policies, it could fall farther. I’m pretty sure the KKK would be ashamed of him for that fact alone.
Other Artists Have Contracted Trump Derangement Syndrome
Unfortunately, U2 isn’t the only musical act to fall into political hysteria over President Trump. Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of the pop-punk band Green Day, stated that when he heard Trump was running for president, “the first thing I thought of was fascism.” He also said that the president is “not that much different from Saddam Hussein.” He ended by stating that Trump is “batshit crazy.”
Katy Perry and Lady Gaga were together when Trump won the election. Perry described the event as “traumatizing.” Then, after “downing drinks,” she reached out to Lady Gaga for support. Here is how she describes the moment: “Gaga and I just looking at each other, and being like, [expletive] it, we need to touch each other,” Ms. Perry said. And for a minute, two of the biggest pop stars in the world held hands.”
Can We Stop Bringing the Klan Into Political Discourse Please?
U2’s video is not a powerful rebuke of the president – it contains no thought-provoking message. It carries none of the heaviness of songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love).” Both of these songs were rallying cries that were designed to unite Americans against genuine evils that we could all oppose.
Unfortunately, “Get Out of Your Own Way” portrays an evil that doesn’t exist and asks the viewer to set aside nuanced thinking and replace it with the type of mindless race baiting demonization that has been dividing our society over the past couple years.
Let’s be real. President Trump is not affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. He does not want to bring back Jim Crow. He isn’t the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler. He doesn’t kick puppies – at least as far as I know.
The rhetoric on the left is rife with gross exaggeration and fiery hyperbole that is as far from accurate as CNN is from being objective. They are well aware of the fact that Trump isn’t a fascist bigot who wants to impose his will on the entire nation. Unfortunately, they also know that if they use the entertainment industry, the news media, and our universities to perpetuate this lie, people like Katy Perry, Billie Joe Armstrong, and the members of U2 will believe it.
Political Hysteria Doesn’t Help Anyone.
There are legitimate criticisms that can be made about President Trump. As with all presidents, he is not perfect. There are still individuals on the left with whose opinions conservatives would disagree, but at least they are not engaging in the over-the-top vitriol being promoted by others on the far left.
This type of “discussion” is not helpful to American political discourse. Indeed, it is yet another form of cultural totalitarianism that seeks to destroy legitimate debate. This reality is dividing Americans on both the left and the right – and it’s not good for the nation. Let’s have spirited arguments on the issues, but let’s refrain from portraying each other as monsters.
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