Skip to comments.Silence isn't golden for Silver (Support Actor Ron Silver)
Posted on 09/23/2005 3:41:09 PM PDT by FreedomSurge
NEW YORK Actor Ron Silver says he has had fewer movie offers and dinner invitations since he parted political company with his Hollywood colleagues and spoke at the Republican National Convention last year.
But he is sinking his teeth into his new role: conservative activist. Today, Silver will release a documentary on DVD called "Broken Promises," a scathing criticism of what Silver considers the failures of the United Nations on its 60th anniversary. It follows on the heels of a DVD retort last year by Silver to Michael Moore called "Fahren-hype 911," carefully named so it would be placed on video store shelves right next to Moore's anti-Bush documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
"Broken Promises" has at its root the betrayed vision of an idealistic youth from the Lower East Side. Silver grew up in a modest Jewish neighborhood, and his way to escape his parochial world, where everyone was defined by ethnicity and race, he says, was to go to the U.N. and just wander around.
"When I took that bus uptown and I saw those flags lined up on 1st Avenue, it opened up an entirely new world to me," he said. "There was such a sense of pride I felt."
But over the years, that pride turned to disappointment, even anger, as he witnessed the U.N. repeatedly fall short of its noble goals, he said. As an actor, Silver's impulse was to express it through film; as a political junkie who dines with ambassadors and sits on roundtables at the Council on Foreign Relations, he "wanted to be part of the conversation," he said.
The hourlong DVD begins with the U.N.'s creation of Israel in 1948 a seminal event that resonated in Silver's family and neighborhood but also had consequences far into the future.
The film reflects his conviction that the way the U.N. shifted from peacemaker to arbitrator, treating Arabs and Israelis as equals, foreshadows a fatal flaw in the organization's structure. The U.N. is afraid to take sides, the film says, and doesn't have the independence to intervene when vital.
The rest of the documentary is a greatest-hits reel of U.N. fiascos: the unfinished partition of Israel and Kashmir, allowing Pol Pot's killing fields in Cambodia, not intervening in the genocide in Rwanda, the failure to protect Muslims at a U.N. haven in Srebrenica and paralysis over reform demonstrated last week at the U.N.'s 60th anniversary World Summit.
"I wanted to give people some sort of historical context about how the U.N. came into being and to have a point of view about it, not a 'on the one hand, on the other hand' kind of thing," Silver said.
Funded in part by the Citizens United Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank, the documentary features interviews with the U.N.'s usual critics.
But it also gets down on the ground with the people who had to carry out the decisions made at the U.N.'s New York headquarters, or were the victims of them. The stories and even most of the characters in "Broken Promises" are already well known but still shocking.
There are interviews with peacekeepers on the failures of peacekeeping, including Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who wrote the famously ignored "genocide memo" months before nearly 1 million Rwandans were killed, in which he begged for reinforcements. Rwandan survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana appears 10 years later with the daughter she gave birth to in a container while hiding from machete-wielding Hutu killers. Former U.N. translator Hasan Nuhanovic describes how U.N. officers in Srebrenica ordered him to tell his family himself that they must leave the U.N. haven to face death by the Serbs.
One of the most stirring comments comes from Kenneth Cain, a civilian peacekeeper who co-wrote a book titled "Emergency Sex" about what Cain views as U.N. betrayals. It is liberals like him who should be most aggrieved, he says, because it is their ideals that have been most harshly sundered.
Cain's comments seem to echo Silver's undertone of personal affront at the injustices he sees as perpetrated by the institution meant to uphold justice and freedom. It is this sense that makes him, as he says, a "progressive conservative," or "a liberal who is just left of the right of center." Or, as someone who also believes in gay rights, healthcare and the right to choose, he would rather just dispense with labels altogether.
He crossed the political aisle, Silver says, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reawakened his belief that the United States must use its power to reinforce universal ideals. After being a vocal Democrat, he was suddenly the darling of the right, and in 2004 he spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of President Bush.
"It sounds like a conversion tale, but I was not reborn," Silver said. "It was fairly consistent with my views in the past. I've been a very aggressive liberal interventionist in my foreign policy feelings. I have felt for a long time that the withdrawal of American power was far more dangerous than getting involved."
But for someone who wants to be part of the conversation, he has found that being a backer of this administration leaves him out of other conversations and even movies.
"There have been a few occasions when people have said, 'I won't work with that S.O.B.' It has happened, but on an individual basis. It is not in any way, shape or form a blacklist," he said. "In this business, there are a million different reasons people don't want to work with you: You're too Jewish, you're not Jewish enough, they want a bigger star, they think you cost too much money. Most people are very economical with the truth out here, so it's very hard to determine cause and effect."
But his politics seem to overflow into his work anyway. His most recent film, "Red Mercury," is about three impeccably born and bred British youths who become jihadists and take seven people hostage with a dirty bomb. The film was shot last January, months before British jihadists with similar origins exploded bombs in London in July. The movie will be released early next year.
Silver is currently shooting episodes for the television series "The West Wing," in which his character, formerly a Democratic consultant, crosses the aisle to work for the Republican candidate played by Alan Alda.
"Just another case," he said with a laugh, "of art imitating life."
I remember when Ron Silver was a flaming leftist.
He's seen the light and now, he's a stand-up guy.
I saw it, and agree. Did you see "Celsius 41.11" from Citizens United? I did not.
OK, who's Ron Silver?
Caught Mr. Silver on Laura's show this week. He kind of ran circles around her - very smart and aware. He doesn't go for right-wing polemics; precise in his positions.
This means I'll have to watch the West Wing.
Oh well. For Silver I'll do even that. :-) Guess I better find out when it airs now....
He was great in a bad movie. Timecop sucked but Silvers dual role was great.
No I didn't see that one...
Bump for Silver!
He's an actor, but he doesn't fit the caricature of actors. Quite brilliant, imo. Reasoned. Even when I disagree with him I can hardly deny his argument is compelling, well documented by history and thought.
If the Left was represented by Silver, the Republican Party would be in a far tougher fight for supremacy. And I wouldn't mind it. Here we have someone that believes in his country and its defense, someone that will listen and actually debate positions (rather then name call) with respect. At times I have to cede some points to him when he is debating a conservative thought. I really wish he was representative of the Left aisle. It's better to have an opponent that challenges you to your best, rather than a Party that is right now trying to determine how to blame Rita on Bush.
The country would be better served, as conservatives we'd be better served by solid competition.
He was better in WISEGUY with Ken Wahl.
I remember when Ron Silver was a flaming leftist.
He's seen the light and now, he's a stand-up guy.
And the proof that Hollywood elitists are a bunch of Scum-Bags is the fact that Ron is finding it harder to get work, this is how they operate.
" Luv ya Baby! lets do Lunch"
" I'll have my people call your people"
Coked out loosers.
He's conservative on a lot of issues and I really like him, but socially he is still quite liberal from what I understand. I would love to be wrong about that, so if I am please correct me.
And the libs still complain about the Hollywood Blacklist of the 50's?
I hear he takes some consolation from Ann Coulter.
There have been two versions, one made in 1954 in the UK, and another for US TV in 1999, with the voices of Kelsey Grammer and others for the animals.
He did a movie with Jamie Lee Curtis that was pretty good, can't remember the name.
Ron is a true patriot.
As much as I admire Ron Silver for his courage in standing up to the far-left losers in Hollyweird, there is no way I will ever watch "The West Wing" or, as it is known in this household, "The Worst Wing." So Martin Sheen will go off into the sunset and probably be replaced by Alan Alda. That's just swapping one moonbat for another.
Besides, there is more to life than sitting in front of the dinosaur network idiot box.
He's that tall!
Silver has used his brain. Let's support him in his endeavors. He was so thrilled when Clinton was elected. That is a lot of change.
Hard to believe that this guy once played Alan Dershowitless in a movie.
You know, given the guy they got playing Lex Luthor's father on "Smallville", they could bring Silver on as, say, an uncle.
I doubt it.
A show for liberals, by liberals, and made for liberals isn't going to have a republican president (even if it is played by Alan Alda).
That said, he has dropped hints that he isn't giving up his movie career for TV.
I think at one point Ron Silver almost took a different turn in his career. After getting his masters degree (mind you much of Hollyweird these days barely got through high school), Ron could well have not gone back to Hollywood, but to Langley instead.
Silver came out admantly supporting Bush's re-election. He was and probably still is very liberal on social issues (pro-abort, gay marriage, expanding health care) but in the key moment (2004 election) he made those second priority to supporting a more aggressive war on terrorism and strengthening national defense.
I'd hope that eventually he'd come around on the social and human life issues but for just now glad he supports Bush.
The best show he was ever in was "Heat Vision and Jack"
I think he's a liberal that backs the war.
From the article: Or, as someone who also believes in gay rights, healthcare and the right to choose, he would rather just dispense with labels altogether.
And what jprinciple of behavior or politics would allow so out spoken a progressive to become a 'republican'? I am glad that I am a conservative.
Ping for later. I'll be glad to buy this.
He made a heck of a bad guy in timecop.
"Blue Steel," pretty good flick.
I'm not sure if Alda will be playing a GOP POTUS--I have never and will never watch that show. I do, however, love former GOP Senator Fred Thompson as the district atty on "Law & Order"--another very liberal show.
"He made a heck of a bad guy in timecop."
And a quisling junior senator. Personally I think that's a sign of a great actor, the ability to play very different roles in the same movie.
Van Damme movies: the supporting cast always outshines him - remember the Quest? The long forgotten Roger Moore was fantastic in that re-packaging of Bloodsport.
It's a sad commentary that so many of us on the Right are so eager to get a little approval from Hollyweird that we enthusiastically embrace liberals as our own if they're on the right side once in a blue moon.
I have to agree. I think it's because so few in Hollywood ever agree with any position embraced by the right. And they have an automatic and vocal soapbox that we don't have. True conservatives anywhere near Hollywood don't voice an opinion so if ANY of them agree with ANY Right opinion and say so, we get jubilant. Our side out there tends to be mute in order to keep working.
I guess so. And he was also a member on the Council on Foreign Relations if I'm not mistaken.
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