*giggle*

I admire his spunk, but he's kind of dim. He still thinks democracy exists in the US.

By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
February 17, 2006

(CNSNews.com) - Richard Dreyfuss, the actor who starred in movies ranging from "Jaws" to "Mr. Holland's Opus," told an audience in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that "there are causes worth fighting for," and one of those is the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

"There are causes worth fighting for even if you know that you will lose," Dreyfuss said during a speech at the National Press Club. "Unless you are willing to accept torture as part of a normal American political lexicon, unless you are willing to accept that leaving the Geneva Convention is fine and dandy, if you accept the expansion of wiretapping as business as usual, the only way to express this now is to embrace the difficult and perhaps embarrassing process of impeachment." See Video

Noting that the process was established by the country's "founders, who we revere to check executive abuse with congressional balance," Dreyfuss said impeachment "is a statement that we refuse to endorse bad behavior."

"If we refuse to debate the appropriateness of the process of impeachment, we endorse that behavior, and we approve the enlargement of executive power," regardless of whoever may occupy the White House in the future, he said.

"And don't kid yourselves: No one ever gives up power, ever," Dreyfuss added.

"Now, it is not your job as the press to impeach George Bush," the actor stated. However, people in the media should "maintain the integrity of that debate" by not dismissing the topic out of hand as partisan or unpatriotic.

During his address on the subject of Hollywood's view of contemporary news media, Dreyfuss said he is not a cynic or a liberal, but is instead a "'libo-conservo-middle-of-the-roado,' and I have been for many years."

"I'm deeply in love with my country," he added. "As a matter of fact, I'm deeply in love with the country that I was taught about in school, the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Nevertheless, Dreyfuss charged that "people can sometimes be pretty thoughtless, pretty terrified and do some pretty impressive damage" when they are wrong or "are the victims of political hypnosis."

In the past, "time and distance played an amazing part in keeping the human race from killing itself," the actor noted. The need for revenge after an attack "inevitably weakened because it took a lot of time to get men into ships and move them to the right battlefield. Only those truly staunch of heart and truly zealous could keep up that hatred.

"But now, people in Kansas see the [Twin] Towers fall at the exact instant as people in Nigeria or Cairo," he said. "Instantaneous knowledge leads to instantaneous reaction, which creates a demand for an instantaneous, reflexive response."

Dreyfuss blamed part of that reaction on television newscasters, who "fill the air with the same terrible clips, the same blaring intro music, the same screaming fonts, and then the same clips again and the same screaming fonts again and again to fill up these news cycles."

"Television did this. Television created the sound bite and then shrunk it," the actor said. "Television replaced words with images so that people make extraordinary decisions based not on prose or any attempt at analysis," but on pictures instead.

The actor saved his harshest tone for those who accuse critics of the government and its officials of having a more serious motive.

"Watch me lose my sense of humor if people accuse me of treason," Dreyfuss said before mocking two of the Fox News Channel's most popular hosts. "'That's not very O'Reilly of you, Mister Smarty-Pants,' or 'What would Sean Hannity have to say about that, Mister Too-Complex-for-Your-Own-Good?'"

However, "none of this happened because of any conspiracy," he stated. "This happened because we have not paid attention to the new rules of the electronic media."

To restore true American values, the actor called for children to be taught "the tools of debate and dissent," as well as a return to the principle of civility, which he called "the oxygen that democracies require else they become poisoned and die, as this democracy will."