I recently sat down with SJP ahead of the premiere of her new HBO series, Divorce, and in the course of our conversation (which included thoughts on feminism, the legacy of Sex and the City and books—she reads a mind-boggling amount—talk turned to politics.
Be on the lookout for the full interview soon. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:
CS: I’m Jewish, and years ago, I read a book that was like...“Interviews with Jewish Celebrities...”
SJP: Abby [Abigail] Pogrebin’s book? [Editor's note: The book was Stars of David, by Abigail Pogrebin.]
CS: And you…
SJP: I identified as a cultural Jew.
CS: I remember you said something about how you and Matthew [Broderick] kind of had this, you said something like: "I think we’re kind of like past the point where like you know, any thing like the Holocaust could ever happen. Where Jews are going to be rounded up.... But I live with someone who disagrees." I definitely tend like toward the paranoid Jew. And I was curious, now, based on what’s happening in this country...I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on the election in general, if you would say the same thing now. [Editor's note: Parker's actual quote in the book is as follows: "I live with someone who can imagine that, I think. So I'm inclined to be able to imagine it myself. You often become the person you're married to or you live with; you just do. And I'm pretty influenced by his thinking often anyway. It wasn't so long ago that the Holocaust happened. It really did happen very recently. And so many denied it and couldn't bear the thought of it or weren't interested in the plight. So yes; it's not beyond imagining."]
SJP: I would totally not say the same thing now. I totally eat my words, I never thought in a million years that we would live…I don’t know, I sort of always get in trouble about… I kind of have a naiveté about politics and people’s bad intentions.
CS: That's a nice quality.
SJP: There is a large segment of our population who feels such vitriol and such real rage against a people who they feel are exploiting this country or they look foreign to them is so surprising to me and scary. The thing I keep saying is that even if Trump isn’t elected, and I say that meaning I really am, I’m terrified, and as fast as the summer went by, the election is a highway of molasses, it just is the slowest, I feel like it's killing us. But even if please God, he is not elected, I am afraid there is now a climate that has said in silence it is okay to hurt anybody that you not so secretly disagree with. Whether it's how they look or the lifestyle you think they’re leading or the color of their skin, or they’ve come here to, you know, take advantage of this country. I said to Matthew I feel like someone is just going to hit us. They’re just going to reach out and smack us or beat the shit out of us, or I don’t know, shoot us, shoot my friends. I’m not being dramatic when I think about this. I’m shocked. When I looked at the Times video, I’m sure you saw this, that reporters had been covering, about four or five weeks ago, the Times had on their digital issue and it stayed there for a long time just they put together, a 60-second piece of just images and audio of…
CS: I couldn’t watch it. People sent it to me and I couldn’t watch it.
SJP: I was like, I don’t understand. Why are you so angry? Because if you believe in the values and principles of this country then, you have to agree that tolerance is inferred, it's implied. First of all I will fight to the bitter end for you to go and vote for Mr. Trump.
CS: Which is like the most American thing.
SJP: Like go do it.
CS: For sure.
SJP: But you don’t have to hurt me to do it. And you don’t have to hate me to do it. I don’t hate you, I wish I understood you. But I am shocked by what has happened. I’m devastated by…I’m sad I always knew there was…we all know there’s this massive divide that exists. We do a pretty good job of sort of post-election, kind of all getting back, we get on and you know, but I feel like there is a civil war. There is an unspoken, undeclared civil war going on in this country and it really astounds me because, I don’t know, we’re all from somewhere. We’re literally all from somewhere.
CS: That's right, we’re all immigrants.
SJP: Like I don’t get it. I’ve never met anybody who didn’t want a job and didn’t want to be paid on the books. And didn’t want to be legal and would do anything to be considered an upstanding, out of the shadows, hard working, taking care of the people they love and feel responsible to and for. Who wouldn’t want that? By the way I’m not entirely convinced you want the job they’re willing to do.
CS: Well, for sure.
SJP: Do you really want that job? It's crazy, right?
CS: You’re assuming that everyone is as open-minded and the fact of the matter is that a lot of it is just racism. Or just xenophobia or just misogyny or just homophobia, and the thing I always say I get to live in this nice New York bubble...
CS: ...that I don’t really want to come out of ‘cause it terrifies me, but you have a really good point about, even if he’s not elected...what does that mean?
SJP: It's opened...I mean every…I mean Charles Blow, do you read him in the Times?
CS: A little bit, just a little bit.
SJP: I mean, I never can say as well or with as much pride of anger, like I’m terrified of Donald Trump, I’m like literally terrified to say something bad about him, because I don’t want to be the recipient, I want to be on the receiving end of his…I’m really stunned. I'm really stunned, I’m gobsmacked by what’s going on. And I’m really upset that people, reporters that I really admire have not held him down in a room and said, "Sir, with all due respect, I’m sorry can you be more clear about what policies the Secretary [Clinton] offered up that are bigoted, please sir." And if he says, ‘You just want her,", say, "No, no, no, no, no, I want your followers, I want Americans who are still undecided, I want all those independents that remain possibly in your corner to understand the policies that are bigoted sir." "She’s bigoted, bigoted, your policies are bigoted!" What are the policies that are bigoted? She has spent from the time she was 18 years old, basically working in public service. She has given her life, so I don’t know, why are men allowed to go and earn a million dollars after they leave public service? I mean I don’t get it. Is she a flawed candidate? Sure. I mean I don’t know what candidate isn’t a flawed candidate. What’s not a flawed candidate? A lot of people thought Obama was a flawed candidate, so I just wish people really, really held [Trump] accountable. And in a way that um, someone wrote today about, the Matt Lauer, it was like a review of them, I didn’t see, I can’t bear to watch it.
SJP: It's too upsetting. They said holding somebody responsible for their remarks does not make you biased.
CS: Right the Times I think wrote a critique of that.
SJP: Yeah and it's true. And I like Matt Lauer, I’ve always enjoyed the interviews. He’s not alone I think in not…why is everyone afraid of Donald Trump? Why am I afraid of Donald Trump? But I don’t have to deal with it, I’m just an American voter.
CS: But it's different for a journalist. It’s a journalist's job and I think what’s happened is that this whole ‘gotcha’ media thing that Fox News and Sarah Palin have wrought, has turned a journalist's job of asking probing questions, has turned into like you’re bullying someone, and I think this reaction….
SJP: Right, instead of bullying her…"You shouldn’t have to study foreign policy to"…this is our country, a most perilous time. A most dangerous time, I want you, I want you bloody on November 8th across that finish line. I want you exhausted, you should be exhausted, up every single night learning every bit. I want you to know, what are the cross streets in Aleppo?
CS: Or even know what Aleppo is.
SJP: But you know I, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Did you see the polls today? Quinnipiac poll? What do you think?
CS: No, I can’t. I truly bury my head in the sand....
SJP: I’m scared to watch the debate ’cause I’m scared he’s just going to be, "Crooked Hillary, crooked Hillary."
CS: Get a strong drink and, like, I don’t know...
SJP: We always have people over for election night, everybody does, its always scary and then later on you’re like, I can’t believe I was so scared of Mitt Romney...
CS: But at the time it was terrifying.
SJP: It was so scary to me. I’m scared again.
CS: Yeah, well hopefully we’ll figure something….
SJP: God I hope so.