By Joe Delong / Art By Aaron Whitaker
In August 2011 on the Tonight Show, Roseanne Barr announced her intent to run for President. It would be easy to write this off as a publicity stunt to take advantage of the political season, but Barr sees it differently. “I think both parties are corrupt. Both of them suck. They’re owned by the same guys who are bankers and they don’t care, either of them, one bit about the American people. That’s why I’m running for President.”
Barr has never been afraid to say what she thinks, but most Americans are used to politicians using talking points instead of straight talk. “People think it’s a joke that someone would be honest in politics,” she says, “To me, that’s just the mirror I’m holding up to the American people to see who they are and what they choose because they really should take a look at it.” She adds, “I’ve always been political. I started doing a satirical thing with running for President and cutting off banker’s heads right after 9/11. The more I learned the more serious I go
“I think we’re at war with everything – starting with the war on drugs. That war allows them to take public money and put it into private hands building more prisons.”
In her stand up days she was called the Domestic Goddess. Throughout her comedy career and long running television show, Roseanne, she represented middle class America, people who struggled to pay their bills, raise their kids and do it with as little government interference in their choices as possible. She has never shied away from tackling tough subjects. In Roseanne, she brought such subjects into American living rooms long before political candidates would even touch them. In 1995, her show featured a wedding between two men. It would be seventeen years until the first American president “evolved” and publicly supported marriage equality.
“Everything’s upside down backwards twisted bullshit,” she says, ”everybody should have the same rights and opportunities under the law.” That includes the right to smoke marijuana. “I think we’re at war with everything starting with the war on drugs. That war allows them to take public money and put it into private hands building more prisons.” She believes legalizing marijuana will “immediately end the prison military industrial complex and its hold on the American population.”
Prison military industrial complex? This isn’t the Roseanne you remember. While she may have been off the public’s radar for a while she’s kept herself busy sharpening her verbal daggers for the names on the ballots and the ones who write the checks, “In order to get any money to fund your party you have to agree to certain things and I think it’s a deal with the devil,” she says, “I’m not for sale and neither is my campaign. My morals and my ethics are not for sale either.” Underscoring her biggest argument, that politicians can be bought, she adds, “The presidency shouldn’t be for sale but it is. Congress shouldn’t be for sale but it is. Their god is money and they’re very devout.”
This kind of talk isn’t something you normally hear from a politician. Says Barr, “The reason you don’t hear it is because it’s the truth. I have signed a truth pledge that I will never lie to the American people and I invite all other candidates to sign it too,” but she doesn’t believe anyone else will. “As soon as there’s a second signature,” she adds, ”I’ll alert the media.”
She is a strict non-interventionist, “If we weren’t occupying all these countries we probably wouldn’t have such a huge deficit. If we didn’t prop up dictators we’d probably have a lot more money for schools and such. If we weren’t out there agitating every single ethnic division in the world for profit, that might be good too,” she continues, “America’s only export now is war. That’s the great thing that both the Democrats and the Republicans have brought to our country.”
After more than a decade and thousands of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Barr’s feelings on these kinds of conflicts is clear, “We’re on the wrong road and it has an unhappy ending if it always has to end in some horrible strife and war and death. We’re choosing that because we’re so cynical in America. When I say the word ‘peace’ I see people roll their eyes because they’re so cynical.”
That cynicism isn’t stopping Barr from trying to take back control of our government from what she calls “thieves, lobbyists and whores.” She adds, “The biggest morons and psychopaths and liars in the world should not be in charge of our moral policy.” She certainly has her work cut out for her. While she is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, she often encounters people who say that voting for a third party is wasting your vote, “Any vote for Obama or Romney is a wasted vote,” she says, “The only vote that really matters is a vote for a third party so we can get away from this fake opponent thing, this good cop, bad cop game that they play on the American people.”
While Obama and Romney are working hard to differentiate themselves from each other, Barr doesn’t see much of a difference at all. “Republicrats.” is what she calls them. “They’re just hosing us,” she says, “They all play golf, they have the same lawyers, they all have dinner with the same contributors, the same bankers. It’s all just theater. It’s all bullshit. People in this country are completely addicted to bullshit and they’d rather have their bullshit than put food in their own kid’s mouth. That’s a strong drug, bullshit.”
While she has strong words for the establishment what about the other “others,” her fellow third party candidates? There’s Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. “Gary is bullshit,” she says, “He gets his money from the same place. He gets his money the same way they all get their money by backing privatized prisons and moving public money into private hands. That’s the corruption and Gary doesn’t oppose any of it. He flowers up the words.” As critical of him as she is, she does admit that they agree on ending the FED and the IRS. She adds, ”I have to say Gary Johnson is about 30% less bullshit than Obama or Romney but none of them care anything about the homelessness, the joblessness. None of them care anything about holding the bankers responsible for the financial terrorism they’ve unleashed on our country and the world.” She adds, “We all agree that there are problems, but where we differ is on the solutions.”
Her solutions may seem like common sense to some and radical to others but it’s hard to argue with wanting more peace and freedom. For Barr, what it comes down to is this, ”Once we start doing what we say we believe in, we’ll be a lot happier. We’ll be a lot less divided.”
And that’s no bullshit.