Last week, Buzzfeed.com posted an interview with actress/activist Sophia Bush. She gets the usual fawning treatment with zero tough questions. Look, I get it. She’s a talented, glamourous TV star who has also embarked on positive charitable endeavours – I’ve praised her for all of this myself – but as I’ve also noted in this space for almost 2 years now, there are legitimate reasons to be critical of her. Longtime readers know why.
But back to the interview. While generally reflecting upon her nine-year stint as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill, Bush said this:
“The biggest thing I learned from that time was to trust my gut instincts about people, both professionally and personally…There was a time in my life when I would see behavior I didn’t like and think, The universe put us together for a reason; obviously I should stick it out and try to make it work…I wish I’d known to trust my instincts more.”
She could be talking about her now regretted short-lived marriage to OTH co-star & possible biological son of David Caruso, Chad Michael Murray. But I wish she was talking about President Obama.
In fact, it’s rather curious that his name is not once mentioned in the interview. Buzzfeed reporter Jarett Wieselman apparently didn’t ask her about him. If he did, it certainly didn’t make the resulting article.
It’s a shame because when Bush talks about the President, she greatly embarrasses herself with either her incredible ignorance or steadfast denial of what he’s actually done while in office. For two straight federal elections, Bush publicly vouched for Obama, completely buying into his seemingly liberal “hope & change” rhetoric. (I supported his first campaign, as well.) But while many of us now see how petty, vindictive, torturous, murderous, secretive & dishonest he has turned out to be – a Dick Cheney Democrat – Bush hasn’t joined in with his growing chorus of critics. In fact, if anything, she has become curiously silent about the man altogether. No one should be surprised.
Oh yes, as I recall her telling me on Twitter last year, “…I have many more discussions with news outlets and friends around my dinner table alike than you will ever know.” In the Buzzfeed interview, she told Wieselman, “Whoever knows me knows I could talk to a wall all day; I wanna have five-hour dinners and drink wine with the people I love and dig into issues and get really deep with people. That is a quality I like about myself.”
How many of these epic get-togethers involve any actual, substantive criticism of the President? If only walls could talk. God knows this isn’t happening out in the public sphere.
Continuing her lament about not trusting her instincts in the OTH era, she further notes, “When a red flag comes up and you ignore it because you’re trying to be nice or keep things easy, I’ve learned not to do that. I’ve really realized I don’t need to be a people pleaser. I don’t need to give anyone else’s opinions more weight than my own. My opinions should matter the most because they’re mine. [emphasis mine] And if your opinions are formed from a place of genuine honesty and kindness for others, then your opinions are worth defending — and now I do.”
Sophia Bush doesn’t care if your opinions are more factual than hers. Her opinions “matter the most”, you see, because she’s Very Important. (“[my fans] love me for who I…really am… all my excitable, loud, messy, sensitive, courageous, badass tendencies.”) And she has a “presence” that doesn’t require talking! As for this business of her forming views “from a place of genuine honesty and kindness for others”, give us a fucking break.
As I’ve previously noted, Bush isn’t above name-calling. She just doesn’t like being called names herself. And forget about challenging her on any of her political bullshit. When you do, you’re a “petulant child” who needs to “grow up”.
Regarding “red flags” she used to “ignore”, where is her public outrage for Obama’s once secretive global mass surveillance state, his constant droning of innocent Muslims, his endless persecution of whistleblowers & journalists, his torturing of mostly innocent Gitmo detainees, his continued support for oil & gas drilling, his heartless record-setting deportation of mostly harmless Latinos, his protection of CIA torturers, military war criminals & Wall Street crooks? It’s nowhere to be found.
Bush’s problem isn’t that she used to be a people pleaser who refused to be assertive, it’s that she’s a moral coward who refuses to hold her own “hilarious” President accountable, both then and now.
In a terrific commentary for the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer writes about the startling transformation of human rights activists like Bush in the Obama era:
“Now, several decades after the human rights movement traded its outsider status for influence in Washington, it is clear that this has produced negative as well as positive results. The movement has become a global behemoth. Sometimes it functions as a handmaiden to the power it was once dedicated to combating.
The most appalling result of this process in the United States is that some human rights activists now regularly call for using force to resolve the world’s problems. At one time, ‘human rights’ implied opposition to war. Now some of the most outspoken warmongers in Washington are self-proclaimed human rights advocates.”
Sophia Bush is one of them. For 2 years now, she has supported the ongoing military mission to capture Ugandan LRA leader Joseph Kony, the man who was the subject of Invisible Children’s controversial Kony 2012 video. In 2011, she defended the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Regarding the murder of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that same year, on WhoSay she channelled noted political expert Keanu Reeves when she wrote, “Whoa. Heavy.” The country has since deteriorated since Obama’s unauthorized American invasion which Bush never talks about. Her silence speaks volumes.
As Kinser observes in the Globe, “This is a radical development in the history of the human rights movement. Once it was generals, defense contractors, and chest-thumping politicians who saw war as the best solution to global problems. Now human rights activists play that role. Some seem to have given up on diplomacy and statecraft. Instead they promote the steady militarization of American foreign policy.”
I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. supporting America’s assassination policies or kissing the military’s ass. Nor do I remember him remaining silent during a Democratic Presidency. In fact, despite the anger it would cause within the civil rights movement itself, he publicly came out against the Vietnam War in a famous 1967 speech declaring, “America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” a statement that remains true in 2014. Has “human rights activist” Sophia Bush said anything remotely similar about Obama’s treasured inheritance and institutionalizing of Bush/Cheney’s ruthlessly tactical War On Terror? Has she complained to her hero in person about the unforeseen dangers of weaponized drones like 16-year-old education activist Malala Youzasfai did herself when she visited the President in the White House? Of course not. She’s too busy laughing at his jokes at annual White House Correspondents Dinners.
“The world needs fearless truth-tellers, ” writes Kinzer. “Some human rights advocates are. Others have succumbed to the temptations of power. Their movement is in danger of losing its way.”
Sophia Bush lost hers the moment Barack Obama was sworn into office.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, May 27, 2014