I have long been a fan of John Cusack the actor as well as John Cusack the activist. I believe him to be an exceptional actor with a keen intellect.
That said, while Cusack is clearly bright and has a concern for the less fortunate, when he has spoken out on policy issues for most of his career, he has been a reliable echo chamber for the left, with often knee-jerk and sophomoric insults of Republican or conservative targets of the moment. I maintain that those who hope to improve the lives of the poor and disenfranchised in the United States or across the globe should — and must — reject all partisanship in favor of the cold, hard truth.
Cusack has just embraced some of that truth.
In a long message on X, the platform once known as Twitter, the actor wrote, “This is what liberals /neoliberals have never understood – or taken responsibility for – that they have played a major part in creating the precise conditions for fascism to flourish – Obama corporatist democrats – are to the right of Richard Nixon on domestic policy.” He then continued: “Don’t believe me – look it up – and dems have sold out the working class for decades – and this kind of bought and paid- for betrayal of principals, fairness – historical precedent -any sense of moral or intellectual honesty…”
Cusack is right to call out his own side. Just as he has been correct for years when assigning blame to the Republican entrenched elites who continually sell out working-class Americans. All credit to Cusack for calling all to task on that subject.
But, as bad as it may be for working-class Americans continually being sold out by the entrenched elite, it is much worse for the millions of men, women and children barely existing within our inner cities who have been totally abandoned by the political class, as well as society as a whole.
As a white child, I grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless. By the time I was 17 years old, I had been evicted from 34 homes. Many of those evictions had me landing in predominantly Black housing projects — a reality that became a true blessing for me as I discovered at a young age that Black America was a great America. My heroes became the single Black mothers working two or three jobs to support themselves while sacrificing their own happiness — women who remain my enduring role models.
Black lives do matter. All of them. And the fact is that many of our inner cities are majority Black.
Politics, partisanship or fear of giving the other side a talking point should play no role in speaking out for each and every American suffering in our inner cities today. They are begging for our help, and yet our nation has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to their misery.
As reported in the Chicago Tribune in 2018, during the course of the last six decades in that city, more than 40,000 men, women and children were murdered, with over 100,000 wounded. If one were to extrapolate that number across our major inner cities over that same time period, the number killed would likely exceed all American casualties during World War II.
That is not a statistic. It’s an atrocity.
Cusack and others with massive platforms and influence should be asking: Why are so many of our alleged “leaders” in government, the media, academia and the corporate world deliberately turning their backs on such unprecedented urban decay and hopelessness? Why have they forsaken some of the poorest among us who desperately seek shelter, safety, employment, education, food and the chance for a better life?
For the moment, this should not be about pointing fingers or assigning blame. Rather, it must be about acknowledging the greatest human rights failure of our time. An ongoing obscenity which tells us that millions of men, women and children within our inner cities have been disenfranchised, ignored, abandoned, forgotten and … betrayed.
Cusack closes out his much-needed rant by asking: “Wanna know the blowback when Corporatist dems sell us out for the 7000 time? When ‘hope’ and change is just another branded hustle. It’s savage. It’s here.”
Good point — but how about when it is not just “corporatist Dems” selling you out, but all the elites across the power spectrum?
Who will speak out in the defense of the innocent men, women and children abandoned, betrayed and forgotten by all within our inner cities? They need a champion — now.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.