Robert Redford On Shutdown: Racism, Fear Fueling 'Paralyzed' Political Environment

Speaking candidly about the government shutdown during an interview with CNN, film legend Robert Redford slammed what he sees as the bigoted, "narrow-minded" actions of some members of the GOP and lamented the "decrepit" state of Washington politics.

Redford, whose upcoming film "All Is Lost" will hit U.S. theaters next week, said he believes that racism, fear of change and an insatiable desire to undermine President Barack Obama have been some of the driving forces behind the current political quagmire.

"I was trying to figure out, why are these people behaving so stupidly? Why are they behaving so horribly that it's crippling our whole country?" Redford said. "I think it has to do with fear. I think it's a group of people that are so afraid of change, and they're so narrow-minded that some people -- when they see change coming -- get so threatened by change, they get angry and they get terrorized, and then they get vicious."

Bemoaning the current political environment, the 77-year-old Oscar winner later told CNN:

There is a body of congressional people that wants to paralyze the system. I think what sits underneath it, unfortunately, is there's probably some racism involved, which is really awful. ... I think just the idea of giving credit to this President, giving him credit for anything, is abhorrent to them, so they'll go against it.

Redford, a vocal environmental activist, has never been timid about entering the political fray.

During his speech at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the actor criticized politicians who prefer big-budget studios that adhere to conservative standards.

"For years and years and years, you've all experienced what we had to live with, the fact that other countries are far more supportive of their artists than we are," said Redford. "When you have congressional narrow-minded people, people who are afraid of change when change is the only thing that succeeds, the only thing we know is going to happen is that things are going to change."



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