In a recent interview, Bono, the lead singer of the iconic band U2, opted not to mention the name of former President Donald Trump, stating, “We don’t use the T words.” This decision was accompanied by implications that Trump and his supporters bear responsibility for democracy facing an “existential crisis.” Bono’s bandmate and U2’s guitarist, The Edge, also weighed in, accusing a “substantial group of people” in America of “second-guessing the principles of inclusion and freedom.”
The interview took place as part of the band’s promotional efforts for their three-month Las Vegas residency at the Sphere, a cutting-edge venue featuring an immersive AI-driven concert experience. Ticket prices for the 25 scheduled U2 concerts at the Sphere range from $400 to over $1000 for the 18,600-seat venue.
Channel 4 correspondent Siobhan Kennedy conducted the interview, seeking to delve into the band’s political perspectives and concerns. Bono responded passionately, expressing his astonishment that the concept of freedom itself seems to be on trial in today’s world. He noted that, for most of his adult life, the world had been progressing towards greater freedom, and it’s disheartening to witness a reversal of this trend. He touched upon various aspects of societal progress, such as sexual politics, gender politics, and racial relations, all of which he believed were undergoing an existential crisis.
The Edge echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that democracy itself was facing an existential crisis. He highlighted the difficulty in advocating against authoritarianism, both domestically and internationally, when a substantial group of people, particularly in America, seemed to be questioning the very principles of inclusion and freedom.
Despite these challenges, Bono remained optimistic about America’s potential, calling it “the best idea.” He expressed his attraction to the concept of freedom and the importance of demonstrating to the world what freedom truly means. Bono firmly believed that America could bounce back from its present state of decline.
When asked if the situation would worsen if Trump were to return to office, Bono humorously responded by avoiding the use of Trump’s name, reiterating, “We don’t use the T words.”
In addition to discussing politics, the interview also touched on environmental concerns. Kennedy inquired about the energy consumption associated with U2’s residency at the Sphere. The Edge revealed the band’s commitment to “drawing down” carbon rather than relying solely on offsets, with the goal of potentially storing more carbon than the event emits.
Kennedy: “You’ve been a band that’s obviously been very political about ‘global injustice’, just what keeps you up at night at the moment, what do you worry about now?”
Bono: “Who’d have thought the word freedom and would, would be up on trial. It’s, it’s a really interesting moment. All of our life, all of our adult life the world was getting more free. Sorry, since I’m, since we were born basically and, and for the first time it’s in, it’s, it’s going in reverse. We always thought you know, sexual politics were improving, gender politics, you know, race relate, everything like that, so we’re definitely at some kind of existential crisis there too.”
The Edge: “Democracy is having the existential crisis. I mean it’s very hard to imagine argument against authoritarianism both at home and abroad when this is substantial group of people, particularly in America, who are actually second guessing the principles of inclusion and freedom. But I think…”
Bono: “America is still the best idea. It just is the best idea. It just hasn’t happened yet. I’m attracted to, to freedom. I think it’s important that we demonstrate to the world what freedom looks like, what freedom acts like, so I’m I’ll bet on freedom and, and I’m, and I bet that America comes back from what from this, uh, rather low ebb it is out of presently.”
Kennedy: “Do we get lower if Trump gets in again?”
Bono: “I hope–we don’t use the T words, okay?
Bono: “Um, we don’t use the T words, he’s in enough headlines.”
Furthermore, it was mentioned that Bono had been a guest of First Lady Jill Biden at that year’s State of the Union address.