Alternet: “The ‘Unfashionable’ Matt Damon, Mensch of the Year”

Well, what do you know. Matt Damon, whom we talked about here and here, has turned up in the pages of Alternet.

Damon breaks out of Hollywood and into serious activism, earning the respect of hard-working activists and progressive leaders alike.

… Usually stars dabble in activism for the publicity, and associate themselves with safe issues, so as not to rock the boat.

But not Matt Damon. Like many other progressives, Damon has grown weary of Democrats looking for phony centrism instead of standing up to a shockingly far-right Republican party. Against this backdrop, Damon’s principled and public stands do indeed make us sit up and pay attention. …

The Guardian mentioned Damon as a defender of teachers and public education. As a misguided establishment consensus has emerged around standardized testing, privatization and charter schools, Damon has made a full-throated and deeply personal defense of public education, teachers and even the much-maligned teachers’ unions. He gave a real barnburner speech at a recent pro-public education “Save Our Schools” rally.

Then the Guardian … mentioned Damon’s support of the Working Families Party (WFP), an independent grassroots party active in five or six states. WFP’s goal is to hold both Democrats and Republicans accountable to the needs of working and middle-class families.

As regular readers know, I’m now in the camp that says Obama needs a primary the way a blind man needs sight. (Note: Primary. I’m not in the 3rd-party camp; more on that in a future post.)

Given that, the ideal candidate is either (a) Someone who will, like Reagan in 1976, position himself as the next winning candidate of his party (Reagan in 1980) — or (b) Someone who has credibility, intelligence, integrity, and nothing to lose (like Eugene McCarthy in 1968).

I’m not yet endorsing a Damon run, but someone needs to do it. And more and more, Damon is starting to look like a decent (b) type candidate. He certainly has the intelligence — and nothing to lose.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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