Henry Rollins, former lead singer with BLACK FLAG and current spoken-word performer, actor and “punk” journalist, was interviewed last month by Stephen Sackur of BBC’s television progam “HARDtalk”. You can watch clips of his appearance on the show below.
Asked how he feels about the continued success in the polls of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, despite the fact that the billionaire mogul has voiced “views that many outside America see as ego-driven and bizarre,” Rollins said: “It speaks of an America, of a systematic dumbing down of a people, who do not question, who are not scientifically inclined, who do not travel; they don’t have a passport. They won’t go to India and see how a vastly different culture does its thing. And they want their information on bumper-sticker-sized bits of information. And I’m not putting these people down.”
He continued: “Why do they need little bits of news? ‘Cause they’re working two jobs. They’re getting up at 4:30, feeding the kids, going to the cubicle in the car that they hope doesn’t break down. And when someone says, ‘We’re gonna build a wall. And no more of those damn Muslims.’ Someone goes, ‘Well, yeah.’ And it’s an easy way to move people to your side with tough talk when economic times are bad. Historically, that’s how you can convince some people to do some unspeakable things, if you look at the last hundred and fifty years of world history.”
Asked if he feels he can be an agent of change, Rollins said: “All I can do is shoot my mouth off and speak what I think is the truth.”
He continued: “Just my personal opinion, if America really wanted to, if you put the money that you put into defense and you put it into education, in about a hundred years you might have less crime, more middle-class mobility. ‘Cause more people would have an option; they would have more intellect, more stuff in there, and maybe there would be some options.”
Rollins added: “I was raised with an option. I’m a white male, raised middle class. The nature of the color of my skin and my gender, in America, sadly, opens doors for me. It shouldn’t be that way — I should be judged on what I do — but that’s not how it works.”