By Kyle Smith
April 1, 2016
Susan Sarandon listens as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appears on stage during a campaign appearance in Mason City, Iowa. Photograph: Eugene Garcia/EPA
Some liberal celebrities are threatening to leave the country if Donald Trump becomes president. Samuel L. Jackson proposes moving to South Africa, though if Jackson is worried about xenophobia, South Africa is not a great place to avoid it.
Miley Cyrus vows, “I am moving if this is my president! I don’t say things I don’t mean,” and Jon Stewart topped them all by saying he would leave the planet if Trump is elected, but Stewart is having a hard time getting attention these days, so let’s discount that as hyperbole, although he’s probably rich enough to build his own space station.
Other liberals take a more nuanced view of the rise of Trump. What if a President Trump were to cause so much anger that a number of Americans simply rejected the results of the ballot box and took up arms against his administration? That would be kind of cool, wouldn’t it?
So argues Susan Sarandon, a Bernie Sanders supporter whose second choice appears to be Trump. Sarandonista’s goal is to turn the United States into a socialist wonderland, and since Hillary Clinton is, according to the actress, little interested in that, voting Trump might be a paradoxically effective way to bring some hammer-and-sickle mojo to the United States at last.
“Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in,” said the Oscar winner. “Then things will really, you know, explode.” Which, she made clear, is a worthy goal.
When asked whether advocacy of mass political violence is at all a “dangerous” idea, Sarandon said that, on the contrary, it’s the status quo that ought to really make us blanch with fear.
“The status quo is not working, and I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights, and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”
It turns out that Sarandon recently had an opportunity to choose sides between those fascists in law enforcement and a band of merry men who sought merely to redistribute some of the wealth held by a super-rich individual. Sarandon, whose assets are valued at $50 million, wasn’t home when one or more freelance revolutionaries carried out an exercise in easing income inequality by breaking into Sarandon’s apartment and making off with a few trinkets.
Sarandon promptly called those “militarized police” rather than hailing the proto-revolutionary action of the wealth-redistributors.
“Inequality will not go away on its own,” Sarandon once tweeted. True, but how are revolutions supposed to gain any momentum when even petty criminals risk being pursued by paramilitary police forces for striking a blow against one-percenters?
Sarandon doesn’t seem to understand how revolutions work. Maybe she should step away from Twitter, pick up a pitchfork and brandish it at the nearest millionaire, perhaps herself. That seems to be the solution proposed by Donald Sutherland, who has said he hopes his Hunger Games movies will lead to a revolution.
“I hope that they will take action because it’s getting drastic in this country.”
Sutherland continued, “You know the young people of this society have not moved in the last 30 years. . . . They have been consumed with telephones . . . tweeting.” He added, “Hopefully they will see this film and the next film and the next film and then maybe organize. Stand up.”
His interlocutor added that Sutherland was “quite serious about the call to arms” but couldn’t resist mentioning wryly, “We are high up in a Four Seasons hotel overlooking Beverly Hills, sunlight glinting off mansions and boutiques below.”
Admittedly, working out the exact parameters of the Revolution can be tricky, as actor Russell Brand confessed in an interview in which he called for “a socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations, and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment.”
When pressed for details, Brand complained, “Don’t ask me to sit here in an interview with you, in a bloody hotel room, and devise a global utopian system.” Brand produced a book called “Revolution,” which The Atlantic declared “wasn’t about revolution” and was, moreover, “unreadable.”
Brand bristled at suggestions that, with a net worth in the tens of millions, he was ill-equipped to make the case that some people are unacceptably wealthy. The chauffeur-driven limousine in which he films revolutionary rants is, he has said, “the anesthetic of privilege, the prison of comfort.”
Looks like 2016 is going to be yet another frustratingly revolution-free year in America. At least celebrities can continue deluding themselves in their prisons of comfort.