Veteran Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid is best known for his roles in movies like The Right Stuff, The Parent Trap, and The Rookie, but his latest project has him portraying a fellow actor-turned-politician in Ronald Reagan. Quaid is playing the fortieth president in the forthcoming biopic, which has given him an interesting perspective on the cultural and political climate in the United States today.
On Tuesday’s show, Quaid, who recently released the gospel album “Fallen: A Gospel Record for Sinners,” joined Megyn to discuss patriotism and politics in the U.S. and why he believes there is still reason for optimism.
Patriotism on the Decline
A recent Gallup poll found just 18 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 are “extremely proud to be American.” That is an alarming drop compared to 2013 findings in which 85 percent of the same cohort said they were “extremely” or “very proud” of their U.S. citizenship.
Megyn pointed to the behavior of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) during the playing of the national anthem at the 2023 World Cup as one example of how those stats are manifesting. Only a handful of the players have been putting their hand over their heart and even fewer sing along to the “Star Spangled Banner” during the pre-match ceremonies. “They don’t feel prideful when they’re out there even though they’re representing the United States of America,” Megyn lamented.
That is hard to fathom, she continued, when you consider the sacrifice that has been made for our freedom. On Saturday, a video went viral of a member of the 3rd Infantry Regiment on watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia as winds gusted over 80 mph and downpours swept through the D.C. area. “This is why we salute, this is why we put the hand on the hearts, and why we are singing,” Megyn said of the clip. “It’s… to honor guys like whoever is in that unknown tomb.”
Quaid saw the video as a metaphor of our current cultural and political landscape. “Keep the faith, you know, because that’s us out there in the storm,” he noted. “Just stay with it and the storm will pass – it always does.”
That is why he remains optimistic. “I have faith that people are going to come together, and I think the pendulum has already started to swing back,” Quaid said. He noted that patriotism has “always ebbed and flowed,” and that is what makes the U.S. so resilient. “It’s part of the strength of this country is to be able to bend and snap back,” he explained. “And I really have faith in this country that it is going to come back.”
Politics in Hollywood
The Reagan star considers himself an independent and said he has voted for candidates on both sides of the aisle. The first president he ever voted for was Jimmy Carter, followed by Reagan. He admitted he “avoids” discussing politics “like the plague” in Hollywood, but he said he respects everyone’s point of view – something, he noted, we need to “get back to as a country.”
When it comes to the current political climate, Quaid said he believes “that whoever is president in the United States really is a reflection of what is going on with the American people at the time.” As such, “we get the president we deserve in a sense because it is a reflection of what is happening,” he explained. At the moment, “there is so much divisiveness, which is built up in political correctness,” Quaid added.
He fondly reflected on the days in the which the “adults in the room” that represented the center-right and center-left seemed to be in charge. “We used to have liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats somewhere in the middle there,” he recalled. “We weren’t that far apart.” While those days may appear to be in the rearview mirror, he believes it is all part of the process. “It seems to be very polarized right now,” he admitted. “But our country is an experiment… [and] sometimes an experiment goes awry.”
Ultimately, all is not lost. “Like I said, I think the pendulum is swinging back,” he concluded. “We’ve gotten back together in the past and we will now.”
You can check out Megyn’s full conversation with Quaid by tuning in to episode 599 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.