Legendary Liberal Norman Lear: ‘I Think of Myself as a Bleeding-Heart Conservative’

Legendary TV creator and prominent progressive Norman Lear must have shocked journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills this weekend when he declared himself to be a “total social conservative.”

The 93-year-old creator of television hits like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Good Times was on hand to promote an upcoming PBS documentary about his career when he unloaded with both barrels on politics, the state of America, and the importance of people.

“Everybody knows me to be a progressive or a liberal or lefty or whatever. I think of myself as a bleeding-heart conservative,” Lear said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “You will not f*** with my Bill of Rights, my Constitution, my guarantees of political justice for all. But does my heart bleed for those who need help and aren’t getting the justice that the country promises them and the equal opportunity the country promises? Yes. I’m a bleeding heart, but I think myself to be a total social conservative.”

Lear continued:

The people who are running just don’t seem to have America on their minds, not the America I think about. When I was a kid we were in love with America. As early as I can remember, there was a civics class in my public school. And I was in love with those things that guaranteed freedom before I learned that there were people who hated me because I was Jewish. I had a Bill of Rights and a Constitution, those words out of the Declaration that protected me. And I knew about that because we had civics in class. We don’t have that much in the country anymore. So before World War II or shortly after, we were in love with America because we understood what it was about and that’s what we were in love with. I believe everybody’s patriotic today. Everybody loves America. But I don’t need their flag plans to prove it. I’d like to go back to civics lessons.

Of course, Lear has long been a champion of progressive ideology; he created the left-wing People for the American Way in the 80s, helped fight to overturn California’s Prop 8 in 2012, and just this year presented an ACLU civil liberties award to liberal hero Elizabeth Warren.

At the TCA press tour, Lear also discussed American “excess,” calling it the country’s “greatest export.”

We are so excessive,” he said. “There is so much to watch, so much to buy, so much they’re selling. I wish they would sell the value of the country as hard as they sell the rest of it.”

Lear also touched on living in the moment and the current “Golden Age of television” during the interview. Check out the rest here.


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