Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Excerpt of an interview with James Cromwell

James Cromwell is playing Bush Sr., in W, the new movie from Oliver Stone. The movie is not the interesting part, this interview with James Cromwell is. (emphasis mine)

Ryan Stewart:
You've been politically active for quite a long time -- does the moment we're at right now parallel anything you've seen in the past?
James Cromwell:
Well, for those people who went through 1931, it would be incredibly reminiscent. I don't know of that, but I think this is unprecedented in its condemnation of...I don't know what to call it...it's not capitalism. When you say 'capitalism' to Americans they think 'My god, that's small businesses, that's working folk!' and I don't mean that at all. I mean that large, predatory, multinational capitalism and the markets it supposedly regulates -- or doesn't -- is now defunct.

A new system will have to be developed. Will we have the will? Has this ever happened? On the radio they were talking about Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War; the dilemma for Lincoln was profound, so much so that it made the topic of slavery secondary in his mind to maintaining the union. The union was at stake. I believe the survival of this country is definitely at stake, and not only with the economic crisis.

The pursuit of American empire -- the plan laid out by Cheney for American bases from the Tigris to the Euphrates because we basically have no friends and in order to maintain our supremacy we need to control the energy resources in that area of the world -- is a collision course with the rest of the world, which we'll ultimately lose. It'll either destroy us or the entire planet. It also takes away from the multitude of issues also involving the survivability of the planet, which we should be facing with every resource at our command. How do we shift this lifestyle of consuming the world's resources and spitting them out into the atmosphere as pollutants? We're watching the biosphere die in front of us.

So maybe not the best time for the media to be focusing on things like the Weather Underground, in your opinion?

Of course it's not the time. Listen, I understand they're gonna run that out. If you wanna talk about things I condemned the elder Bush for, that campaign against Dukakis and the use of Willie Horton and the tank ad are two prime examples of Atwater-Rove manipulation of media that we are now experiencing again. I understand that McCain's ads are now 100 percent negative, but that's only a minor thing that involves one candidate. The fact that Obama can stand up there and answer questions that have been screened in a debate forum controlled by both parties and under a contract that they will not release to the press, and that they will not include Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader...the issues have nothing to do with goddamn terrorists –– they have to do with the terrorists who run our country. They are not allowed to ask or answer those questions appropriately in this forum. That is the crisis of this country. Not only do we know that the last two elections were basically stolen, we're watching them being stolen again right from under our noses! No one says fuck all about it!

I don't know, there's a pretty healthy alternative media in this country for those who want it.

I totally agree. Bless our hearts, that is quite true, but when I say that no one says fuck all about it, the mainstream media that reaches the majority of the people.... as almost anybody who tends to agree with us says, they're asleep, they're shopping, they're numb, they're distracted, they're lazy, they're stupid, they're unwilling, they're uninformed. Those people don't know what we know. Those people don't hear the truth. Only those people are gonna make a difference. We have to move them to action!

Does the presumptive Obama victory in a few weeks give you any hope?

I have hope. The conditions are so bad from this administration that, much like the country that Roosevelt inherited, I hope that Obama is a big enough man to respond to the needs of ordinary American people, and that ordinary Americans learn that it is not our leaders who lead us. All substantive change in this country has come from the people, not the leaders. The leaders don't lead -- they follow.

Now, the question is will we abdicate the way we've abdicated for the last eight years and probably the last forty years? Will we abdicate to the money forces, the Wall Street forces, the multinationals and the military-industrial complex? Or will we finally say, "This is it!? This is our country. We are taking it back. We believe in habeas corpus. We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to maintain these rights, governments are instituted among men, who derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. That when these powers threaten these rights it is the duty and it is the obligation of the people to throw off this government."

I believe that. That's what this country is founded on and that is what we have to rediscover. Barack Obama? As the Black Panthers used to say, you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. He has the choice. If he wants to be part of the solution, he has to listen to more rational voices. He has to listen to more progressive voices. He has to listen to his heart. He has to listen to his wife. He has to listen to his children and all of our children and do the right thing. That's the key, he has to do the right thing.

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