The great actor Robert Redford was recently seen lamenting that he “feels out of place” in the U.S.A. today because leftism is receding.
The Sting actor unleashed his lament on a blog post at the Sundance Institute website.
Right in the first paragraph, the actor said, “for the first time I can remember, I feel out of place in the country I was born into.”
He went on to say:
For weeks I’ve watched with sadness as our civil servants have failed us, turning toward bigotry, mean-spiritedness, and mockery as the now-normal tools of the trade.
One has to wonder if this man who has played make believe his whole life only now just started paying attention to politics. The left has been acting this way at least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The left has been engaging in the politics of personal destruction at least since Reagan.
But, I guess it was OK that Democrats and their cohorts have been making our politics low and coarse for decades because until the presidency of Donald Trump, it seemed as if liberalism was winning in every area. Suddenly, though, the left feels like it is losing. Hence, Redford’s lament.
Still, taken separate from Redford’s liberal politics, the actor does make some solid points.
Here is the meat of his message:
How can we expect the next generation to step up and serve, to be interested in public life, and to aspire to get involved when all we show them is how to spar, attack, and destroy each other?
It’s hard to blame young people for calling us out, and pointing to our conflicts between the values we declare, and those we stand behind only when it’s convenient to partisanship. Many people are rightly calling it a damn mess.
But I want to encourage you to dig deep for hope and civility right now—to try to make connections with people you disagree with, to be better than our politicians.
We don’t have to share the same motivations to want the same outcomes. Let’s focus on each other, and strengthening our communities, and reflecting on what’s happening. Let’s live in justice and respect and let others fight it out now to the bitter ends.
Redford does not cite any particular incident or politician in his missive, but it was posted just after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme court. Still, his last line hints to whom he was talking to…
“This is our country too. Every woman, man, and child in it, our American future. We’ve got work to do,” Redford concluded.
In other words, watch out white people, this country belongs to minorities, too. Not that any white person was actually saying that the country does not “also” belong to women and children, but, you know…
Still, if you can ignore the likelihood that Redford was speaking as a leftist who thinks it is white men who are destroying the country, the message of finding common ground is a solid one. But he needs to sell this message to liberals, not to conservatives because people on the right already want to seek compromise and common ground as Americans. It’s liberals that don’t want that.
Redford will next appear in The Old Man and the Gun, a real-life crime story about career criminal Forrest Tucker, a rake of a man who spent decades robbing banks and escaping from prisons. Redford insists that this will be his last film and that he will retire from acting and focus solely on directing.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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