Good Will Calling

Citizen Extraordinaire Matt Damon

Freaking Matt Damon. I’ve never been a fan of Matt Damon. Sure, he’s been in some movies I liked. The Bourne trilogy, Good Will Hunting, a good contretemps to Ed Norton in Rounders and a couple of other notable roles but by and large I don’t consider his body of work on par with say, a Daniel Day Lewis or a Sir Anthony Hopkins. Damon is a reasonably good character actor. Plus, I’ve noticed that he does some political and environmental activism. Which, if I were in his position, I would utilize my fame to do similar stuff as well. On the whole, my perception of Damon is neutral.

But then he shows up this past weekend at the Save Our Schools March in Washington DC and gave a performance so selfless and convincing that I am now a Matt Damon fan. I mean, he took time off from filming in Vancouver, BC to go to this itty bitty conference of educators, opens his mouth on camera, and winds up hitting the populist rage out of the park. One reporter with a presumptuous chip on her shoulder asked Damon what he thought about all these whiny deadbeat teachers. Damon (politely) handed her ass back to her. The exchange went like this:

Reporter: In acting there isn’t job security so you have incentive to work hard to stay employed so why isn’t it like that for teachers?

Damon: (after a brief pause of incredulity) You think job insecurity is what makes me work hard? See, that’s the problem with the education policy right now. It’s the intrinsic paternalistic view of problems that are much more complex than that. It’s like saying that teachers are going to become lazy when they get tenure. A teacher just wants to teach. I mean why else would you take a shitty salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really love to do it?

As a teacher, I can confirm this. There is little monetary reward for passing on information. The rewards are less tangible but far more satisfying. Damon didn’t stop there. He went on to criticize the income disparity in America.

I didn’t go start a small business with my tax break, and I don’t know anyone else who did. No, everybody’s socking their money away. I was against those [Bush] tax cuts. I thought they were ridiculous. So little is asked of the upper class anyway. I mean, what percent of them or their kids are fighting in any of these wars? What percent of their day is occupied by the fact that there are men and women in positions over the world, risking their lives. If you walk down 5th Avenue, there’s no sense of shared sacrifice.

Damon kept on going taking exception with Tea Party policy.

The wealthy are paying less than they paid at any time else, certainly in my lifetime, and probably in the last century, I don’t know what we were paying in the roaring 20’s; it’s criminal that so little is asked of people who are getting so much. I don’t mind paying more. I really don’t mind paying more taxes. I’d rather pay for taxes than cut ‘Reading is Fundamental’ or Head Start or some of these programs that are really helping kids. This is the greatest country in the world; is it really that much worse if you pay 6% more in taxes? Give me a break. Look at what you get for it: you get to be American.

Damon has also been vocal about the attack on unions to the point of getting involved in the recall on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Mr. Damon, I may have been lukewarm about your acting career but as a citizen, you are outstanding. If you ever want to run for office, I’m your campaign manager. Consider this article my submission for that job. Well played, sir.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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1 Response to Good Will Calling

  1. Pingback: Don’t Mess with Teachers–or Matt Damon’s Mom!! | writewireless

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