Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Where's The Next Bob Hope?

Bob Hope, we need you now like never before.

When I read about the singers who are going to tour to protest the Iraq war and to do their best to elect John Kerry, I shake my head in sadness. All that celebrity attention, all that work and energy, so much enthusiasm, being poured into a project that will do nothing to help the morale of our troops in battle. How can they think that this is a good idea?

I can conclude only that some privileged people have been too rich and too famous for too long. They have forgotten everyday American life. They probably have body guards and security details for themselves and their families. Can they possibly be deluded into believing that their wealth and prestige somehow protects them from the terrorists that want Americans dead?

I shouldn't expect too much of these people. To the last person, they are, as Tony Curtis once identified himself in a movie, "a singer of songs." Good music-making skills, maybe, but very poor reasoning abilities. Couldn't their efforts be better spent entertaining our troops overseas? Wouldn't the U.S. service men and women appreciate some high profile support, especially from some of their favorite music stars? Why can't they light the candle of Bob Hope's legacy, instead of dredging up the darkness of political pique?

Toby Keith did a tour that included Iraq recently, and the troops went wild with enjoyment. What an emotional lift for our military! Now, I've never been much of a country music fan. But when I read about that tour, I went out and bought Toby's "Shock'N Y'All" CD. If he can support our troops, I can--and I should, and I did--support him.

I have almost all of Bruce Springsteen's albums. I have John Mellencamp's, too. It will be a long time before I can enjoy listening to them again. They will sit and gather dust on my shelf of CDs. I wonder if Bruce and John really believe that John Kerry will keep us safer. Maybe they think that all of their money and influence will somehow protect them against the terrorists. Think again, guys. And while you're thinking, take a moment to consider the fans you have alienated.

For what it's worth, I'm reasonably certain that Bob Hope would not be on your side. Judging by his actions over many decades of entertaining troops around the world, Bob Hope would want you to put our troops ahead of your own agendas. He'd want you to channel all your talent into bringing something good and joyful into the lives of the men and women who are putting their butts on the line every day to keep you fat, happy, rich, and safe. He'd want you to grow up and sing to encourage, not discourage.

Toby Keith understands where Bob Hope was coming from. Maybe someday, the rest of you will get a clue.