Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey appeared on Russell Brand’s “Under the Skin” podcast recently and levied extensive criticism for what he described as elite leftists who routinely “condescend, patronize and are arrogant” working class Trump supporters.
“On the far left, there is a lot on that illiberal left that absolutely condescend, patronize and are arrogant towards that other 50%,” the actor said. “Many people in our industry, when Trump was voted in four years ago, they were in denial that it was real. Well now you’ve got the right that’s in denial, they’re saying it’s fake news – and I understand, they’ve been fed fake news! No one knows who the hell to believe, right? So they’re putting down their last bastion of defense.”
Host Russell Brand had set up the topic by explaining how he is not a fan of this dismissive attitude towards the right. He said there’s “A kind of offhandedness, like, ‘Oh, they’re dumb, they’re voting for Brexit, they’re voting for Trump.’” This is a posture the thoughtful comedian says he’s not a fan of. “I don’t like it, and I don’t like to hear it,” he said.
McConaughey was discussing at length how he’d like to see the country make a move towards the center of the political aisle, and see those with differing opinions extend an arm to “meet you in the middle” wherever possible. This idea, the actor explained, has been met with resistance.
Describing a conversation with a friend about this topic, the actor relays what the person told him about being a centrist. “You know what’s in the middle of the road, McConaughey? Yellow lines and dead armadillos.”
But McConaughey rejected that notion. “I said, ‘let me tell you something, bud. I’m walking down the yellow line right now and the armadillos are running free having a great time. You want to know why? The two vehicles on either side of the political aisle are so far apart their (expletive) tires aren’t even on the pavement anymore. So trust me, it’s free over here. There’s plenty of room.'”
Undeterred by the traditional view of centrists as being weak and essentiall afraid to take a stand, McConaughey argues it’s time for America to look at it differently. “Let’s get aggressively centric,” he said, arguing the position should be framed with more visceral, bold language.
McConaughey went on to explain where he feels the left “misses it” when it comes to “marketeering” to the American public. “When you say, ‘hey we want to get out the vote. We want people to be able to go vote. We’re going to do a campaign to let people vote.’ I’m like 100%, yes! Everyone – is there anyone who would say no to that? That’s universal. You have 100% of the audience going ‘I’m in! That’s a constitutional right as an American, I’m in, yes.’ And then they can’t help themselves, at the very end of it they go, ‘So… we don’t let those criminal bas$#%!@ get back in office!’ You’re like, no! Don’t say the last part! You lost 50% of your audience. And that’s part of why so much of the nation of that 50% looks at us Hollywood as like, going ‘oh yeah, another celebrity over there on the west coasters and the elite in the northeast.”
Of course, political action groups often behind such “get out the vote” drives are not interested in simply getting people out to vote. They’re interested in getting people out to vote — for their guy.
Only time will tell if McConaughey’s push to reduce the divide in America will gain any traction. But in a time where trust is at an all-time low and people are more skeptical and angry, one thing is for certain: something needs to change or things will get a lot worse before they get better.