Roseanne Barr calls both political parties prostitutes working for money
Roseanne Barr leveraged her comedic skills to become a household name, known for her biting humor, and some critically acclaimed acting in the film adaptation of Fay Weldon’s novel, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Barr’s life experiences also left her with an appreciation of just how hard it is to climb the ladder today.
A few weeks back, AlterNet interviewed Jill Stein, Barr’s primary opponent in the race (you can read that interview here). This week, Barr appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour for some equal time. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole show here).
Joshua Holland: Roseanne, I want to say that I’m a big fan. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you kind of remind me of my mother.
Roseanne Barr: Oh, I don’t take that wrong. I take that as a great compliment.
JH: She’s outspoken and she has overcome a lot of adversity, and is a good liberal.
RB: How old is she?
JH: If I say her age in public I’m going to get into a lot of trouble.
RB: I just wonder if she’s my age?
JH: She’s your generation, let’s put it that way.
RB: I would say so many people of your generation are telling me I remind them of their mother. It’s pretty widespread, and I take that as a compliment.
JH: Before we get to your campaign, just a quick point about the Roseanne show – I was a huge fan. Since it went off the air I feel like you’ve become more vocal about your politics. And it strikes me that “Roseanne” was one of a very small number of shows on TV that had characters who were good people struggling to pay their bills. Maybe “Good Times” was another one. I’m hard pressed to think of any others. In a sense, you offered a class analysis that’s almost entirely absent from any TV entertainment. Why do you think that is?
RB: Well, because that’s what I wanted to do.
JH: But why don’t we see more of that? I mean, so many families are struggling you would think that our culture would reflect that once in a while.
RB: I know. Since the success I had on the Roseanne show I have not been able to replicate that success anywhere. It just fell out of popularity and at the same time being an outspoken women and all that stuff fell out of popularity right around the same time.
JH: It’s a shame for our culture I think that we don’t see regular people dealing with the issues that regular people actually deal with.
RB: I don’t think that would be in the interest of the people who control what goes on here. It wouldn’t be in their interests. They kind of narrowed the field so they would get approval of all content that was shown over the people’s airwaves. That’s been coming since when the FCC was deregulated. That’s what happened.
JH: That’s the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
RB: Yes, that’s exactly what happened. They took control of all content, all context and all message. They think that the plight of the 99 percent of Americans isn’t worthy of being discussed in any media.
JH: And we’re probably the only advanced country that doesn’t have really any sense of class. We’re supposed to pretend that class difference don’t exist.
Let me move on to your candidacy. I asked Jill Stein whether she saw it as a disadvantage to her that you come into the race with very high name recognition, which would make a big difference if you were running for, say, Congress as a Democrat or a Republican. She said “No, it doesn’t make any difference because Green Party members are very engaged. They’re activists and they pay very close attention. Name recognition isn’t a big thing.”
I want to ask you if the reverse might be true. Do you think there might be a perception among Greens that you’re a celebrity coming into the party, but haven’t put in a ton of work to build the party over the years?
RB: Yeah, I think there is some of that, but I think the more people hear me speak and hear my platform, solutions and ideas for things to help the people of this country they kind of get smarter. They realize this isn’t about them at all; it isn’t even about the party. It isn’t about me and it isn’t about Jill Stein. It’s about the American people. I think that the more they hear me say that the more they understand that they’ve got to let go of it. This is a time in our country where we’ve got to move past politics and into something else. Every single day we lose ground. The people of this country lose ground every single day because of these factions and this infighting.
I formed my message over many years of reading and study. My message and my solutions I offer freely to all parties. I think they matter more than me or Jill Stein or anybody else. It’s imperative that Americans start voting for issues and solutions rather than parties and enriching the people who get rich on partisan politics. We need to move past all that. This is a new century and we need new methods, because the things even from the last election are no longer relevant in so many ways. We need to move into a whole new place now.
JH: Historically third parties have pushed issues into the mainstream that were ignored by the two major parties.
RB: That is the precise reason that I am running for president of the United States of America. The one thing that both parties forgot, and hopefully not the Greens, is the people who do all the work to make things go in this country. The taxpayers who support this huge and heavy pyramid, with about six guys at the top of it. My point is how do you marginalize 99 percent of a country? They have done that.
JH: Let’s talk about the issues that you’re trying to get more attention for. Obviously there’s massive inequality, and also the political inequality which follows. But as far as a few of the concrete issues that you’re running on — what are the top two or three issues that you think Roseanne Barr is running on?
RB: I think numbers 1-10 — number 1 counts as 10 things — is that first off we need to have free elections in this country. We do not have them. People need to be aware of the fact that we do not have a system of free elections. It takes $1 billion to lose an election. That means that everything is for sale. And that means everyone in Congress sits there, and they are not legislators or true representatives of the people. They are lobbyists. I would say that because of that fact we don’t have free elections.
Another reason why we don’t have free elections is a thing called the Electoral College. The Electoral College was this thing forced on the American people, just like the Fed was forced on the American people, that came after the Declaration of Independence.