As Luke Cage‘s Alfre Woodard reflects on the 2016 presidential election, her hope is that the next generation will be able to fix the damage that has been done to the national conversation.
During the “Commanders-in-Chief: Playing the President” panel at the New Yorker Festival, Woodard, who played President Constance Payton in the short-lived NBC series State of Affairs, referred to the current election as stranger than fiction.
“I just texted a friend today saying, ‘If this campaign was a script, it would never get a greenlight,'” Woodard said at Sunday’s panel, two days after a video featuring Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump making graphic comments about women was released.
“We’re going to have a hard time cleaning up the atmosphere because what [Trump] has done is legitimize expressing your open hatred, things we should be very embarrassed about and very ashamed of, things that we would say in our dens or with our friends when we got really drunk or when you weren’t really drunk,” she said. “He’s legitimized it because a successful white man stood up and said it, so it’s like, ‘Well, then I’m not that bad.'”
But Woodard is optimistic that the next generation, noticeably more progressive than the last, will be strong and smart enough to fight the toxicity that has arisen out of the ongoing election.
“I don’t know how our children are going to absorb it, what they’re going to think. I hope they say, ‘You know what, those people are full of you-know-what. That generation, get your social security and be gone,'” she said.
The panel also included Independence Day‘s Bill Pullman and Scandal‘s Tony Goldwyn, who says the one good thing about this election is that it has revealed our nation’s demons and spurred plenty of activism. Goldwyn hopes that activist spirit continues in young people even after the election ends.
“In the generation I grew up in, activism was, like, boring and no one did it. My kids, who are Alfre’s kids’ age, consider it a personal responsibility to be activists, and that I find very exciting and encouraging,” Goldwyn said. “I just hope people now hold our leader’s feet to the fire and that the Black Lives Matter movement just gets stronger and people who feel that coal has left their district and their families don’t have jobs get active and engaged in the process, because I think that is what ultimately makes this country what this country is. It’s sometimes ugly and it’s messy, but that’s how we do. That’s how we get on. So that all I find discomforting, but also really encouraging.”