by Patricia Grandjean
Oct 15, 2010
10:39 AMBox Office
Q & A/Web Exclusive: Susan Saint James Ebersol
(page 4 of 4)
Now, the focus is to get back the middle class, to give more people the chance to own a home. And they say that's where Fannie and Freddie got into trouble, but they had the right intentions. The money went away because of what happened on Wall Street. I believe that. I don't believe it was Fannie and Freddie; I believe it was right to give people the chance to own a home.
It feels like we're demonizing the wrong people.
Exactly. But I said to Valerie Jarrett—she came to the Olympics in Vancouver—I keep expecting Mr. Obama to come out and go, "Hey, Michelle and I say thanks, we loved it, but you know what? We're leaving." And Valerie said, "Don't feel sorry for him. He absolutely loves that job. He loves being President of the United States, and he's up to it. He keeps that vision, and it's not easy because they'll make your vision look like muck if you don't watch it." I hate all the divisiveness, but if you talk to a historian they'll tell you it was just as bad with Jefferson and Adams. This is nothing new.
I understand that when you were younger, you attended Black Panther meetings.
I did. They were doing community breakfasts for the poor in Watts at the time. That was at a time when black leadership was saying, "Why do we have to be the loser, drug-dealing, bad image people?" Let's build our image and take care of our own." It would be like us not giving aid to Pakistan, just letting the Taliban do it. Who are the people gonna love? They're certainly not going to love the people who are shooting their relatives in Afghanistan and them not doing a thing about the flooding. It was the same thing in Watts. I went to a meeting where Angela Davis spoke. She was an amazing, powerful, strong woman. It began to turn, and made me nervous—I and others with me weren't as welcome. And then they just slaughtered these kids, shot them in the heads. They just got rid of them—it was horrible. So that just polarized everybody again.
I was working with Marlo Thomas and Donna Reed at the time on "Another Mother for Peace." We were these working actresses playiing these all-American, good-looking women, and we were against the Vietnam War because of the boys, and the lies we were being told. When Donna Reed got involved, that movement became much more mainstream. I never wound up in the headlines, but I was in the trenches of that war a lot. I worked for the USO, visited the wounded in hospitals. I think the people who should be most ashamed were the people in the military who didn't welcome these boys back from the war. They couldn't get into veterans' bars, they couldn't drink there, nobody treated them well. They didn't give them any G.I. Bill or put them through college. Those were the people who sent them over there, and didn't welcome them home.
To finish up, do you have any other plans in the pipeline?
Not really. As I mentioned, I'm taking care of my mother, which is a privilege and an honor; she's absolutely got all of her faculties and is spectacular fun. But she's not that mobile anymore. I'm sort of being groomed as the future matriarch of the family. I travel a ton with Dick. One of my siblings is very sick with cancer; so I'm going to be a part of that.
I think I should write a book. I should produce a TV show that I have an idea for. I should produce a movie from this book that I love. And then I think, "No, I should be doing what I am doing right now." When I was a kid my dad used to say, "if you can conceive it, you can do it. And now my philosophy is, "Just because you can conceive it doesn't mean you have to do it." If I did everything I had a thought about, I wouldn't have a friend. I'd just be going all the time.