Photos of Blake Cooper Griffin by Benjo Arwas
In the middle of what’s already been a bizarre and historic election year, actor Blake Cooper Griffin insists Hillary Clinton is the candidate for this time and he’s personally helped campaign for her over the past 12 months.
Calling himself a “very faithful supporter” of Clinton, Griffin stood behind the former Secretary of State through a contentious primary and he believes some of the coverage of Clinton’s campaign has unfairly suggested there is a lack of enthusiasm.
“I completely respect and admire Bernie Sanders and his supporters and what they have been able to do. But there’s a lot of energy behind Hillary Clinton as well,” says Griffin, speaking with Variance in a new interview. “And I hope that as we get closer to November, we see Democrats and moderates and independents and clear-thinking Republicans unite and say, ‘This election is too important.’ Because the opposition is—terrifying.”
While most critics cede the historical context of Clinton’s candidacy as the first female nominated for President by a major party, many have also been quick to contrast her campaign with the frenzied supporters of Sanders, President Obama or even her Republican challenger Donald Trump, the latter of whom has previously had some of his press conferences censored for profanity and made discriminatory comments about Hispanics, Muslims, prisoners of war, disabled individuals, women and many others.
“I hear people say Bernie Sanders is authentic or Barack Obama inspires them or Trump speaks his mind,” Griffin explains. “I get it. But Hillary Clinton inspires me beyond belief. As someone who has devoted her life to public service, I do believe she’s authentic. And it inspires me that she was knocking on doors in Arkansas for the Children’s Defense Fund, helping get disabled children to school. What’s inspiring about Hillary Clinton is that she got 8 million children healthcare when she was First Lady. And that before there was Obamacare, there was Hillarycare. That she helped New York rebuild after 9/11. That she went to Geneva and championed LGBT rights.”
Now in 2016, as Clinton defends marriage equality while the GOP endorses widely debunked conversion therapy, Griffin co-stars in the independent film Love Is All You Need?, a Romeo and Juliet-esque story taking place in a world where homosexuality is predominant and heterosexuality is outside of the mainstream.
"We have to stop politicizing human rights ... It’s not about politics. It infuriates me that so many draw party lines around these issues."
“It’s a very human story,” says Griffin, explaining that recent progress doesn’t mean the issue is permanently settled. “It would be easy for us to say the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage was it, that the fight is over. But the work is just beginning. In this election cycle, there is such a negative culture, where you really do have a lot of people trying so hard to push different minority groups back, to keep them down. And it’s not just at the fringes, it’s big percentages of the population who now feel empowered to speak out or be ‘politically incorrect.’”
Pointing to Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision earlier this year to veto a controversial “religious liberty” bill deemed anti-LGBT, Griffin says it’s proof there is much more that unites Americans than divides us.
“I think it’s a sign that this shouldn’t be a political issue because it’s not,” Griffin says. “We have to stop politicizing human rights. When it comes to the LGBT community, women’s equality, equal pay, a woman’s right to chose what she does with her body, how we treat any minority in this country. It’s not about politics. It infuriates me that so many draw party lines around these issues.”
Oddly enough, Griffin, who has previously worked with the likes of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Hunt, plays the bigoted antagonist in Love Is All You Need?. His character, Bill Bradley, is a bully who is definitely not very tolerant.
Griffin says that by playing such a character, he’s been reminded that it’s not enough to embrace victims of bullying or the LGBT community or anyone else who feels helpless. “Yes, we need to make sure they don’t feel alone,” he says, while adding: “I also believe we need to address the Bill Bradleys of the world—the bullies, the people who don’t see eye-to-eye with us. We need honest conversations. We need to change hearts not just laws.”
Ultimately, Griffin acknowledges Clinton has a unique and complicated relationship with America. But he’s also confident, especially considering the opposition, the United States is also being presented with a unique decision which isn’t all that complicated.
“All of us need to be involved,” he says. “All of our voices add up and I don’t think we can take that for granted, especially not this time. I really believe this election is not about Democrat versus Republican or left versus right—it’s about America versus an unfathomable catastrophe.”