"I don't think it has made America safer . . . How many of our best young people are going to die? Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time....There is a long tradition of the artist being involved in the life of the nation. For me, it goes back to Woody Guthrie, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan . . . The artist is there to open up discourse, to get people thinking about American identity: Who are we? What do we fight for? What do we stand for? I view these things as a fundamental part of [the artist's] job."