As more Hollywood stars take up the role of anti-war activist, more citizens are throwing their support behind a grass-roots effort to counter the weight of the celebrities’ voices, and to the organizer of the effort that means exposing the stars’ hidden agenda.
Some 10,000 people have signed an online petition entitled “Citizens Against Celebrity ‘Pundits'” since it was posted by a North Carolina mother little more than a month ago.
“Anti-war activism is hip, but Sept. 11th was real,” said Bardsley. “On Sept. 11th, our children were threatened. We expect President Bush to take whatever measures necessary to keep us safe,” she added.
“We support President Bush in his efforts to defend our homeland, to defend democracy and to take any measures to end the threat of terrorism. We do not claim to know more than anyone, especially President Bush. We elect a president who we can trust to make proper decisions based on
facts available to him and not available to the rest of us,” reads Bardsley’s petition.
The 38-year-old mother of three told WND she was angered into action by the open letter signed by actors Mike Farrell, Martin Sheen and more than 100 other Tinsel Town pals asking President Bush to back down on Iraq.
Artists United To Win Without War declared in its letter: “A pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American national interests. Such a war will increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy, and undermine our moral standing in the world. It will make us
less, not more, secure. … The valid U.S. and U.N. objective of disarming Saddam Hussein can be achieved through legal diplomatic means. There is no need for war.”
Farrell, best known for his role of wise-cracking, martini-drinking M*A*S*H surgeon B.J. Hunnicut, co-founded the group. He describes the Bush administration’s stance against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as “the height of arrogance” because it implies the U.S. has determined itself to be “the chosen
people of the world who can determine for themselves who are good, who are bad, who are right, and who are wrong, and smite them when we choose.”
Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman became the latest actor to voice his opposition to war with Iraq, accusing Bush of manipulating the post-Sept. 11 events to justify war.
“For me as an American, the most painful aspect of this is that I believe that the administration has taken the events of Sept. 11 and has manipulated the grief of the country, and I think that’s reprehensible,” Hoffman said Wednesday after accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Empire Film Awards in London.
“I believe – though I may be wrong because I am no expert – that this war is about what most wars are about: hegemony, money, power and oil,” he continued.
As WND reported, Hoffman is
not the only Hollywood star traveling to foreign countries and bad-mouthing American foreign policy while away. In December, actor Danny Glover, known for his “Lethal Weapon” roles with Mel Gibson, and singer Harry Belafonte, sounded similar criticism while visiting a Cuban film festival. Belafonte
accused the Bush administration of using the Sept. 11 terror attacks “to extend its imperialist, economic and political domination all over the planet.”
Actor-director Sean Penn also made headlines in December by traveling to Baghdad to gain ”a deeper understanding of the conflict.”
“If there’s going to be blood on the hands of the United States, whether some people feel it’s justified or not, that blood is going to be on my hands, too. And I’m determined that it’s not going to be invisible blood,” Penn declared.
Appreciating the matinee idols’ First Amendment right of free speech, Bardsley told WND she welcomes their opinions and isn’t seeking to silence them. But she feels they don’t speak for most Americans.
“For so long celebrities have had an impact on our kids and society in general and we’ve given them too much time to control the message,” Bardsley told WND.
And that message is anti-conservative and anti-Republican, she says. Bardsley sees a hypocrisy in the fact
that these anti-war actors remained silent in 1999 when former President Bill Clinton ordered massive air strikes against Serbia.
But what goads Bardsley the most is that she sees the anti-war stance as a sham.
“I feel there’s an underlying pro-choice agenda behind this,” she said. “Even if … Bush baked a cake
and had tea with Saddam Hussein, the whole crisis ended successfully, the stock market soared and everybody was happy with the economy, they would still criticize Bush because he’s pro-life. There isn’t anything the man can do to make them happy.”
Bardsley pointed out that the attacks coming from the celluloid crowd are growing increasingly personal.
At the Hollywood news conference launching the open letter, Martin Sheen, who impersonates a U.S. president on “The West Wing,” said: “I think [Bush] would like to hand his father Saddam Hussein’s head and win his approval for what happened after the Gulf War.”
Bardsley also maintains that if you watch the interviews closely, the celebrities often wind up bringing up the “pro-choice” issue.
She cited the example of actor Ed Harris’ recent anti-Bush diatribe at a gathering celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
“Being a man, I’ve got to say that we’ve got this guy in the White House who thinks he is a man, you know, who projects himself as a man. Because he has a certain masculinity and he’s a good old boy and he used to drink and he knows how to shoot a gun and drive a pickup truck, et cetera, like that. That’s not the definition of a man, g——–.”
Why is Bardsley so concerned about what she sees as the hidden agenda behind the pacificism?
Bardsley admits having grown up heavily under the influence of Hollywood as a teen-ager and feels that influence taught her to view abortion as an acceptable form of birth control.
“I remember cheering in front of the television as I watched Gloria Steinem and her Hollywood friends march in D.C. for choice. It would be many years later that I would have three abortions in place of birth control and end up with complicated pregnancies as a result of my choice,” she said.
What turned Bardsley around was hearing the heartbeat of her fourth baby. Now, she’s committed to countering the Hollywood influence for her children.
Since WND’s article, Bardsley has conducted nearly a dozen interviews and has been flooded with e-mails, mostly from mothers as frustrated as herself. Bardsley said the response has been
“People don’t think they can make a difference, but they can,” she said.
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