The unusually silent anti-war Hollywood community is apparently apprehensive about or not organized enough to publicly criticize President Obama on his plan to bomb Syria. And this reluctance may even have a racial component.
That is the conclusion of seven-time Emmy Award winner (and George W. Bush foe) Ed Asner, perhaps best known for his role as gruff journalist Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show sitcom and its more dramatic spin-off, Lou Grant.
High-profile celebrities bitterly opposed most of the foreign policy (and domestic policy) initiatives of President Bush, Obama’s predecessor in office. Liberal Hollywood movers and shakers generally provide a lot of financial and other forms of support to Obama and the Democrats. For example, DreamWorks boss Jeffrey Katzenberg has just launched an all-out fundraising effort to unseat US Sen. Mitch McConnell (R – Ky.), the GOP minority leader in that chamber.
President Obama has condemned an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians by the Syrian government and called for a congressional vote on military intervention. The president is scheduled to address the nation Tuesday night in an attempt to drum up support for a unilateral airstrike against the Bashar Assad regime.
As far as the Syria missile strike is concerned, unlike the run-up to the Iraq War, “It will be a done deal before Hollywood is mobilized,” a discouraged Asner told Variety. “This country will either bomb the hell out of Syria or not before Hollywood gets off its ass.” Asner added of his formerly anti-Bush Hollywood colleagues, “A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama.”
The actor and progressive activist admitted that he is disillusioned with Obama. “I voted for him, but I’m not proud. He hasn’t thrown himself on the funeral pyre. I wanted him to sacrifice himself. Instead, he has proved himself to be a corporatist, and as long as he’s a corporatist, he’s not my president. A lot of people have lost hope — with the betrayals, the NSA spying… People aren’t getting active because ‘Who gives a shit?’ is essentially the bottom line.”
In the same Variety report, former M*A*S*H* star and peace activist Mike Farrell chimed in that “What [Obama] is talking about in Syria is a potential war crime. It will be illegal, and if citizens are killed it certainly could be considered a war crime.”
Ed Asner, 83, has appeared in dozens of film and TV roles throughout his long career, having even found fame among younger generations for his role as “Grandpa Smith” on Seth MacFarlane’s cartoon series American Dad! Asner is also the only actor to win an Emmy Award for a sitcom and a drama for the same role as Lou Grant.
[image credit: Angela George]