Actor John Lithgow is not famed for his politics, but that’s what he discussed when he came to motivate canvassers for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in Athens and other areas of Ohio on Saturday.
Lithgow is known for his television work including High Commander alien Dick Solomon on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” and the trinity killer on Showtime’s “Dexter,” as well as a long movie career including, “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Terms of Endearment” and “Interstellar.”
Lithgow spoke to a group of about 30 door-knockers for the Clinton campaign at the Hillary for America field office in Athens Saturday. He said that he had done similar events in Columbus on Friday night, and had other events planned Saturday as well throughout Ohio.
Lithgow said he spent his teenage years in the Akron, Toledo and Cleveland areas, and expressed his love for the Buckeye State, his love of country, and his love of the idea of Clinton becoming the next president.
“I’ve always been a little bit uncomfortable with the notion of actors holding forth on politics,” he said. “I’ve always had my own deeply felt political convictions but I’ve always kept them private.”
But this year, Lithgow said, the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the next president has motivated him to get involved with the Clinton campaign.
“This doesn’t much resemble a political speech, but it’s the first political speech I’ve ever given. I’m making it up as I go along,” Lithgow confided to the canvassers. “(A Trump presidency would be) a true political catastrophe, and a terrible thing to happen to this country; I deeply believe that.”
He said that Trump “has no attention span” and “can’t endure any opposition.” Lithgow said he’s alienated half of the U.S. population with sexism, bigotry and racism, and that Trump has approached the campaign appealing to the basest parts of human nature.
Lithgow envisioned a Trump presidency where the incumbent is embroiled in a variety of civil litigation, where half of the country holds him in contempt, where the president “is discovering for the first time what our Constitution is all about; that it’s checks and balances; that presidents aren’t allowed to do anything they want,” and where the international community has turned their backs on America for electing such a man.
On the other hand, Lithgow praised the presidency of Barack Obama and said that while he had made progress, there is much more work to be done.
“Against incredible obstruction he’s been able to accomplish so much… but I think he’s frustrated that he wasn’t able to do more,” Lithgow said. “I think he’s hopeful that Hillary Clinton will pick up the baton and run with it.”
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s RouteFifty.com, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.