The “Dallas Buyers Club” actor made waves last week when he appeared on Russell Brand’s podcast to discuss what he sees as the hypocrisy of asking conservatives to rally behind President-elect Joe Biden after four years of animosity toward President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Appearing virtually on Tuesday’s episode of “Good Morning Britain,” the star elaborated on his comments, noting that neither liberals nor conservatives are to blame for the country’s deep political divide, but rather extremists on both sides of the aisle.
“You need liberals. What I don’t think we need is the illiberals. And what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals,” McConaughey explained to hosts Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan. “Now there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair, that I don’t think are the right place to be. The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side, the liberal and conservative side, which we need in certain places. The two extremes illgeitimze those two sides. Or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no sense and that’s not fair when either side does that.”
In discussing how deeply divided America seems to be at the end of 2020, the actor also briefly touched upon cancel culture. He noted that everyone should be paying attention to see what the future holds for the concept of freedom of speech.
“Where the waterline is going to land on this freedom of speech and what we allow and what we don’t and where this cancel culture goes, where that waterline lands is a very interesting place that we are engaged in right now as a society that we’re trying to figure out because we haven’t found the right spot,” he explained.
Despite his calls for unity and understanding, the star noted that confrontation is still an essential part of any working society.
“You’ve got to have confrontation to have unity. That’s when a democracy works really well,” he said (via Deadline). “I would argue we don’t have true confrontation right now, confrontation that gives some validation and legitimizes the opposing point of view. We don’t give a legitimacy or validation to an opposing point of view, we make it persona non grata, and that’s unconstitutional.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the star said he believes a lot of the stress America seems to be going through right now can be directly blamed on the coronavirus pandemic causing uncertainty among Americans who may never have experienced it on this scale before.
“Limbo is the hardest part,” he said. “I think we all do better when we have a definitive yes or no or an understanding of when the ending is going to be of something, of some crisis. We haven’t had that for some time. So, it’s been sort of a one-way ticket to limbo.”
He continued: “Quite a few of us get that, what I call, anticipation fatigue. For the last eight months every night many people are going to bed thinking ‘maybe tomorrow it’s over’ and then the next day they’re let down, then they do it again, and they’re let down. Then you’re burning 30% or 40% of your energy because you’re thinking it may be over soon. It does look like we’ve got a way out of it now.”
Although he didn’t elaborate, McConaughey was likely referencing the coronavirus vaccines as “a way out of it.” On Monday, the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine were shipped out to Americans, with the first dose going to a Queens health care worker who spent the last 10 months on the front lines of the pandemic.