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Uncle John's Bands

Superstars of the Sixties and Seventies Strum and Stump for Sen. Kerry

By Flora Tartakovsky, Special to The Crimson

BOSTON--The psychedelic sixties and everything the decade stood for came crashing down in FleetCenter Saturday night as a star-studded line-up of seasoned performers and the country's most famous baby boomer turned out for the Victory '96 Concert to support the re-election bid of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

With a little help from such notable friends as Whoopi Goldberg, Crosby, Stills and Nash; Don Henley, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joe Walsh and even President Bill Clinton, the Kerry campaign and Clinton's re-election effort raised more than $2 million from ticket sales, with seats ranging from $25 to $1,000.

Students from Wellesley, Boston University, Harvard and Brown also came to offer their support for the Democratic ticket.

Approximately 200 Harvard students attended the event, raising more than $5,000 for Kerry's campaign.

The money and publicity from the event come at a crucial time for Kerry, since current polls show him running neck and neck with Gov. William F. Weld '66.

Painting a portrait of himself as a champion of the working-class American, Kerry chided Weld's past policies on welfare, tax cuts and health care.

"My opponent doesn't believe that kids that don't get health care ought to get health care," Kerry said.

Kerry also praised Clinton and his efforts to create an ideological vision.

"This President has stood up for a vision of the future," Kerry said. "He wants to guarantee that no child, no person will be left behind."

For his part, Clinton tried to present himself as a leader to move the country into the future.

"Do we believe that we have to build a bridge across to the future that every American can walk across?" asked Clinton.

He clapped along to the music of the stars and laughed at their jokes throughout the night, but sat silently as Kerry's military service in Vietnam was praised.

Clinton faced criticism in the 1992 campaign for not serving in the Vietnam War.

But the mood of the evening wasn't all politics.

Time and time again, the audience heard entertainers from a generation past preaching for a simpler, more idealistic world, where hypocrisy is not tolerated.

Henley, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, reminded the audience of the efforts made by Kerry and Clinton to preserve wilderness areas in Utah and Walden, Mass.

Henley dedicated his next song, "It's Not Easy Being Green," to all amphibians and environmentalists.

The songs of other performers high-lighted how one-time political protesters have become establishment partisan advocates.

Singing "Blowin' in the Wind," a ballad they first performed three decades ago during the politically tumultuous 1960s, Peter, Paul and Mary urged the audience to reelect the incumbents.

"This is a strong country, this a country whose economy is stable at the moment--let it stay that way," Mary Travers said.

The trio also campaigned in the state in the 1994 elections on behalf of Robert K. Massie, a former Divinity School lecturer and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Goldberg used a mixture of humor and flattery to point out Kerry's attributes.

"John Kerry--okay, he gets it--he gets women; he gets old folk; and he gets better looking every year," Goldberg said.

On a more serious note, Goldberg called on those in the audience who were screaming they loved her to prove it by voting for Kerry and Clinton.

"Love who I love; vote for the right people; and we'll be fine," Goldberg said.

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