The haters came out hard after Bruce Springsteen canceled his Sunday-night Greensboro appearance just 48 hours or so before it was supposed to go down.
The right-wing mud machine accused the Boss of using the unpopular legislation as an excuse to hide poor ticket sales — false, as it turns out. Ticket-holders contorted themselves into a position that both acknowledged Springsteen’s long-established position against authoritative overreach and also insisted that playing the coliseum would have been the right thing to do.
But that’s crap. Springsteen’s hardline stance against the abuses of our state legislation is exactly what we needed. Had he played Sunday night — even if he had donated all proceeds to an area LGBTQ organization, even if he had railed against the law and its authors from the stage, even if he wore an “Equality NC” guitar strap — it would have barely cast a ripple. But his sensational absence instead launched a thousand “open letters” on social media.
Springsteen knows what’s up: It’s time to take sides, people. We’ve got a war going on between those who would create a class of second-tier citizens, ineligible for the advantages and rights afforded those behind gated walls, and the rest of us — who, it seems, they’re picking off one by one.
That’s why the Boss didn’t show on Sunday. And that’s why PayPal pulled back from its plans to build a facility in Charlotte, why Deutsche Bank is halting its NC expansion, why conventions are being relocated and why Charles Barkley says the NBA should move the 2017 All-Star Game from the Queen City. Anything less would just be business as usual.
HB 2 — which has little to do with bathrooms, really — was a calculated gamble by the state GOP, its elected officials and the ALEC think tank that inspired the legislation, who believed that anti-gay sentiment would cloak the more nefarious aspects of the bill (which it largely has) and would enable easy passage of the bill, like the marriage amendment before it.
The big corporations — not to mention Baby Boomer arena rockers — sat the last one out. But not this time. And it’s starting to hurt.
The coliseum’s losses after Springsteen’s cancellation, according to a News & Record article, was about $100,000, but at our estimate of $20 per spot they would have taken in more than that on parking alone — which, at the coliseum, is strictly a cash transaction.
And it’s forcing acknowledgement among the legions of Springsteen’s fans, some of whom might have supported HB 2 before the Boss took his stand, that theirs is an unpopular and backwards position, especially in the Old North State.