Last week, we got reminded that Susan Sarandon has opinions. Boy, are they opinions. Big old opinions. I know some folks think she’s one of the greatest truth-tellers, but to a lot of us, she’s a horrifyingly privileged woman whose attitude is more harmful than helpful. I’m one of those people who gets incredibly outraged at her. Part of the frustration is that there are people who don’t understand why we get so outraged. So let me explain as calmly as I can why she outrages us and why those of you who defend her do as well.
Let’s start with you, the die-hard Sarandon defender. Let's be clear, this has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yeah, she stumped for the presidential candidate and got a photo op with the congressional candidate, but no one else draws the level of hate and outrage Sarandon does — for a damn good reason. While most disadvantaged folks recognized the danger that Trump would do and ended up voting for Hillary Clinton, some decided they wouldn’t vote or decided to vote for Jill Stein. But those people who sat out the election or pulled the lever for Stein didn’t say, as Sarandon said, that a Trump victory would be a good thing for America because he would be so horrible it would galvanize people to rise up and “speed up the revolution.” Then, this month, she declared that Trump's presidency has inspired women to run for office. No, not Hillary, not Pelosi, not Maxine Waters, not Emma Gonzalez — Trump has inspired women, according to Sarandon.
“This is a revolution,” Sarandon told Variety. “Maybe things had to get so bad before real change actually could happen. We just have to stay awake.”
Cheering for Bernie is no big deal, sitting at home and not voting is frustrating, voting for Jill Stein is maddening, but saying that you want Trump to be so terrible that it harms the country and causes a radical reaction is outright offensive.
Meanwhile Sarandon was in England this summer getting tons of press about her outfit and giggling like a schoolgirl about meeting the Queen at a very exclusive polo match. Let's review some of the events happening in America at that time — the U.S. withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council, who also condemns Trump's detention of migrant children, 17 states sue Trump over family separation, Justice Anthony Kennedy retires, giving Trump his second SCOTUS pick, five journalists are killed in Maryland, and Trump’s Muslim ban is upheld by the Supreme Court. This is just two weeks of the Trump administration. This doesn’t include his stacking of the courts, his erosion of basic democracy and empowering of Nazis, the trade war he started, his attacks on women’s reproductive rights, his revoking of LGBT+ protections, and more.
You see, Sarandon, who is so gung-ho about bringing on the revolution for equality, socialism, and whatever, isn’t hurt by this revolution of hers. She’s still flying all over the world, wearing designer clothes, doing the talk show circuit, making movies and shows, and chilling with literal royalty. She’s not hurt by any of this. Oh sure, some may say that she goes out and marches against it and such, but you know, she wouldn’t have to if she didn’t get her wish for Trump.
I know the argument is how awful Hillary “would have been,” but I don’t think Hillary would have been defying court orders and torturing children. Hillary wouldn’t have appointed an attorney general who ignores police violence, disenfranchisement of minority voters, and more. She wouldn’t be running a white supremacist foreign and domestic policy. Oh, you might have an argument about how her aggressive foreign policy and how pro-business she would be, but our country wouldn’t be headed by a man surrounded by racists, who want to dismantle social services, destroy environmental regulations, our education system, job protections, and... Jesus, do I need to keep going? I mean, just Puerto Rico alone. Yes, relief and recovery would have been difficult on the island, but it wouldn’t have been a disgusting act of apathy that killed 3,000 people. I mean, we’re all outraged by it, but Susan’s defense of all this is, “Well, more women have been inspired to run for office!”
Lady, after Trump won, I went out and bought a gun because I’m a trans woman in Oklahoma, where just a few weeks ago, adults threatened to castrate and murder a transgender teen. These sorts of attitudes, the open racism, the aversion to basic truths, the torturing of children, these don’t inspire me to run for office. They make me want to flee the country.
You see, we aren’t shielded by wealth and privilege. We don’t have money to cushion us. We are victims. I know I have brought up how I am a veteran, and one thing that I, like many veterans, have noticed is how easily it is to want someone else to do the fighting and bleeding for what we want without having to get their hands dirty. It’s why I kind of support bringing back the draft; not because of patriotism, but because if everyone had to share the burden, we wouldn’t be so ready to fight wars we don’t even really think about. Susan is just like those people who love to cheer for the war but would do whatever they could to not fight it. They justify the harm, violence, and trauma by trying to find bright sides to the dark things they wanted.
So, when I see Sarandon standing next to Ocasio-Cortez, I get enraged. Not because of Ocasio-Cortez's politics (most of which I support) but how Susan so wants to be seen fighting the good fight but without any desire to get hurt. No, I don’t want her to give up her millions and quit her lifestyle, I want her to look all of us in the eye when we tell her what her little revolution is doing to us. We want her to understand real people are getting hurt, dying, and having their rights stripped away with no guarantee there’s going to be a brighter future. Revolutions fail all the time, lady. Quit telling us all of this is a good thing when you aren’t suffering in the slightest. This is a fight for people’s lives and you act like you see us as nothing more than cannon fodder promising us a victory we may not live to see.