Shire Network News #158 has been released. The feature interview is with former Muslim, Adil Zeshan talking about the recent incident in Luton in which returning soldiers were abused in the streets of Luton by Muslim protesters. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.
Below is the text of my commentary. It’s a little longer than the actual segment, since I cut out the quote from Ron Silver’s article because of time constraints.
Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"
Ron Silver, actor and political activist, died last week of cancer at 62. Ron was a TV, movie and theater actor in the U.S. From the late 70s sitcom "Rhoda" to playing Bruno Gianelli on "The West Wing", to movies like "Ali", "Silkwood", "Kissinger and Nixon" and "Timecop", Silver was certainly not one to be typecast. But that resistance to being easily pigeon-holed extended to more than just his acting roles.
The phrase that I said earlier, "actor and political activist", usually connotes a person who has devoted their life to unwavering support of liberal causes. Indeed, Silver did found the liberal lobby group Creative Coalition with the likes of Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin. He went on the stump for Bill Clinton. He was in favor of abortion rights and gun control. What do you call a guy like that?
In Hollywood, they call you a "libertarian" or a "neo-con". No, really, that’s what he’s been called. Why is that?
Well, there was a seminal event a bit over 7 years ago that caused Ron Silver to change the label he used for his political alignment. You might have heard of it; it was in all the papers, and I mean all of them. After that event, he called himself "a 9/11 Republican". You know the type; we have several on staff here at SNN. The events of that day caused him to re-evaluate some of his views, and in an article he wrote in December of 2007, he explained why he took the terrorists seriously.
International Affairs 101 looks at intentions and capabilities. If my five-year-old son declares the United States his enemy and he intends to destroy it, call me crazy but I take it with a grain of salt. (Although I will monitor more closely what he’s watching on TV and check the parental controls on the computer.) If a group of people have the same intention as my son but they may represent the feelings of hundreds of thousands or more likely millions upon millions of people I take the threat more seriously. And when these folks have successfully attacked our military, our diplomats, and our cities and civilian population, well yeah, I take them at their word. Perhaps I didn’t when they officially declared war on us more than 10 years ago, but they’ve certainly got my attention now.
Silver didn’t think his fellow Democrats took this threat seriously, so he switched to the GOP. He came out in support of President George W. Bush in this regard. He narrated the film "Fahrenhype 9/11", the rebuttal to Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11". He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention. And continuing in his rethinking of liberal dogma he had unquestioningly believed, he produced a film questioning whether the United Nations was actually fulfilling it’s ideals.
While filming episodes of "The West Wing", this change of heart, on these few issues, got him greeted on the set with chants of "Ron, Ron, the neo-con", which, while he acknowledged it was said in fun, still "had an edge". Alec Baldwin, commenting on this change while writing about Silver’s passing, labeled him a "libertarian". Never mind all the other issues with which he lined up with them; he failed the orthodoxy test and thus had a scarlet "GOP" sewed to his garments.
By the way, there was another member of "The West Wing" cast that agree with Ron’s position. However, Ron said, "he was smarter than me. He donated to the Democrats and made sure his vote for Bush stayed quiet.” Y’know, somewhere, Senator Joe McCarthy is lying in his grave watching the Irony Meter go off the scale.
So let the passing of Ron Silver give us some lessons. The Hollywood liberal elite is lockstep liberal and very elite. Stick a pinky toe off the line and prepare to be marginalized, even after you’re dead. And remember this when these folks talk about their support for the First Amendment. "I’ll defend your right to say it (but then it’s open season, baby)." When they sit in front of Congress trying to push their pet project of the month, remember Ron Silver, and consider this.