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The Dangers of Hollowing out American Leadership; Two Koreas Meet in Pyongyan; "In Pieces," A New Memoir by Sally Field; My Life As An Undocumented Immigrant. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 22, 2018 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour."
As Americans in the United States and around the world celebrate Thanksgiving, we thought we'd dig in to our archive for some holiday fair.
So, here's what's coming up.
A slew of new books portray a reckless foreign policy, the Trump administration hollowing out American diplomacy. I get the real deal with
the veteran U.S. Diplomat, William Burns.
Then, as America's powerful reckon with the #MeToo tsunami, Sally Field, the Oscar winning actress, opens up about her own history of abuse.
Also, today, coming out as an illegal immigrant. Our Alicia Menendez talks to Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.
There were hugs and handshakes in Pyongyang today as the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, arrived there for his third summit with the North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The two Koreas are pushing ahead with their pursuit of peace on the peninsula amidst mixed messages from Washington and
facts on the ground that showed denuclearization talks are stalled and evidence that North Korea is still developing its nuclear weapons program.
Across all fronts from trade, to NATO, to the Middle East, American diplomacy under President Trump is unpredictable, to say the least. His
leader-to-leader personal negotiating style seems to be leaving some of his own senior staff scrambling and even undermining the president's promises.
Veteran diplomat William Burns says the hollowing out of U.S. leadership risks undermining the very institutions upon which the international order
rests. Now, after a distinguished career serving at the highest levels of the foreign service, Burns is now president of the Carnegie Endowment for
international peace. And William Burns is joining me now.
Welcome to the program.
WILLIAM BURNS, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: It's great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, I started by saying there's a whole slew of books, as you well know, I mean, from Bob Woodward and many around, the anonymous
article, a lot focusing on national security and the Trump global agenda.
Do you agree that it portrays sort of a recklessness and that fear, according to Trump himself, is the guiding foreign policy agenda here?
BURNS: Well, I think one of the broad themes in this administration has been kind of a reckless detachment from the kind of responsibilities that,
you know, we exercised for a long time and a dismissiveness of institutions.
You know, the president, last year, when he was asked about the number of vacancies in the State Department said, "Well, I'm the only one who
matters." And that's a diplomacy of narcissism, not a diplomacy of institutions and alliances and coalitions, which is where our real leverage
and strength lies in the world.
AMANPOUR: So, you have talked, and I mentioned, about the danger of hollowing out American leadership. So, it's not just foreign policy, it's
actually American leadership which is at stake. Do you really see that happening or is America still leading albeit in a way you don't think is
BURNS: Well, I think we are hollowing out. You know, what sets us apart from lonelier powers like China and Russia, and that's alliances and our
capacity to build coalitions. And I think we're also hollowing out institutions like professional diplomacy as well. And that, I think, comes
at a cost, at a moment on the international landscape when so many things are changing anyway and it's important for the United States to exercise
AMANPOUR: So, many, many people around the world praise President Trump for going the extra mile to meet with Kim Jong-un and to try to do
something that has failed American administrations today, and that is end the nuclearization of the peninsula, try to get Kim Jong-un back somewhere
around, you know, the community of nations.
Recently, there have been dueling comments from the president and his own senior staff, like National Security Adviser John Bolton about this.
President Trump praising Kim Jong-un, John Bolton casting doubts on his intentions. Let's just play a couple of soundbites.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I just came on stage and I was told that Kim Jong-un said some terrific things about me. He said, "I have faith in
President Trump." Think of this, you don't hear that from them. And just moments ago they put on that he said, very strongly, that we want to
denuclearize North Korea during President Trump's tenure. That's a nice -- he just said it.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We're still waiting for them. Now, the possibility of another meeting between the two presidents
obviously exists. But President Trump can't make the North Koreans walk through the door he's holding open. They're the ones that have to take the
steps to denuclearize, and that's what we're waiting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I wonder how you read that. Because on the one hand if you're North Korea and you get all these big promises from the leader of
the country, from the president himself, the leader of the free world. And on the other hand the much more hard line, hard core national security
adviser is seeking -- looking like he's putting the brakes on those promises, and we know he's very disappointed that the North Koreans are not
Is there daylight between President Trump and John Bolton?
BURNS: Well, there certainly appears to be, just an eclipse that just you ran. And the problem with that is that it allows you to be manipulated.
If you're Kim Jong-un, you want to focus on conversations with the president. I think the president prematurely declared mission accomplished
when he, you know, tweeted to Americans we don't have anything more to worry about, when, in fact, we're just at the beginning of a very hard
I've never thought the problem was talking to Kim Jong-un. It's not like the history of the last 25 years, you know, was filled with achievements
and Korea diplomacy. The problem is talking past one another and having much different views of what denuclearization is.
And the truth is, we haven't seen any meaningful concessions on either nuclear missile programs yet from North Korea.
AMANPOUR: Did you think as President Trump tweeted that it was significant that their 70th anniversary military parade, which was just held, that
didn't include the unusual ICBM drag past (ph) parade, do you think that was significant?
BURNS: I mean, I wouldn't dismiss it nor would I dismiss the fact you haven't had nuclear tests or long-range missile tests in recent months
either. But I think we have to operate without illusions. The tests here are significant concessions in rolling back North Korea's nuclear missile
programs and that we haven't seen yet.
And the danger is we'll see the Chinese in the midst of a trade war with the U.S. taking their foot off the pedal and enforcement of sanctions. The
South Koreans moving off on their own pathway toward (INAUDIBLE). The Japanese unnerved by all of this. And what's really at stake here is our
strategic alliances in Northeast Asia.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned something that is obviously front and center of everybody's minds and that is the tariffs on China and the Tit for Tat
tariffs from China, a whole new slew put on by President Trump last night. Hundreds of millions of dollars.
Where do you think that particular strategy in terms of geopolitics in that region is going to lead?
BURNS: Well, I mean, the president is right, as his predecessors have been right, to focus on the importance of improving access to the Chinese
economy, of ending the practice of forced transfer of technology. The question is how you go about pursuing those aims.
The transpacific partnership, the big trade agreement negotiated in the last administration would have been a big asset in knitting together lots
of players who share our concerns. In pushing back against the Chinese on those issues, we have natural partners in the European union and Japan who
share many of those concerns.
But, instead, we're embarking on second and third front trade wars with them. So, it's not the goals that I take issue with at all, it's how we're
going about pursuing them.
AMANPOUR: So, you're talking about second and third, you know, sort of trade wars with them, partly tariffs because of their exports, but also
particularly with regard to the Iran nuclear deal.
So, you know, Europeans stand to have sanctions put on them if they continue to do business under the deal with Iran and they're very concerned
about it. You were there at the creation when Iran was brought into the fold to make this deal.
Where do you think this I headed? I mean, President Trump doesn't want this deal, wants to collapse it, it seems.
BURNS: Well, I think it was a major mistake to abandon the deal for the United States to pull out and I think we have followed that step with what
I believe is a deeply flawed strategy.
I think, you know, the purpose of our policy, as I understand it, is not so much to produce a better deal, it's to cause the Iranian regime to implode
or to capitulate. And I think we're overestimating our ability to renew the kind of economic pressure that brought the Iranians to the table
seriously several years ago.
Simply because, again, in the midst of a trade war with China, it's hard to conceive that they're going to easily agree to cut their oil imports from
Iran as well. I think we're adding to fissures between us and our European allies, in a sense, doing Putin's work for him.
And I think, you know, we're adding to the risk of escalation in a part of the world that already has more than its share of instabilities and
AMANPOUR: Can I be provocative for a second and throw a devil's advocate question at you? Would I be correct in assuming and surmising that neither
the U.S. government nor the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu actually fear an Iranian nuclear program, because if they did, they
wouldn't have pulled out from this deal?
BURNS: Well, I think there's been a genuine concern that an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program is going to add to risk in the Middle East, and
that was what I thought was the advantage with pursuing the nuclear agreement of President Obama and John Kerry achieved.
So, I think there was a real risk there. There continuous to be a risk in terms of Iranian actions to threaten our interests, the interests of our
friends in the Middle East. I just think there's a smart way and a dumb way to go about pushing back against that behavior.
AMANPOUR: And this is a dumb way, why?
BURNS: Because I think what we've done is isolated ourselves rather than the Iranians, which is what we spent so many years trying to do. And I
think we have, in a sense, let the Iranians off the hook because I think it's going to be very hard to rebuild the kind of economic pressure we had
before, and I think there is collateral damage as well.
You know, by pursuing sanctions in the face of so many other countries, including our closest allies, we're going to increase their incentive along
with the Russians and Chinese to reduce their dependency on the dollar and the American financial system as well. And I already mentioned the problem
of, you know, adding to the fissures between us and the European allies.
AMANPOUR: The United States has done something, I mean, kind of incredible. It has withdrawn all its funding for civilian, humanitarian
programs that help the Palestinians, whether it's the U.N.-related ones or whether its to NGOs, that means non-governmental organizations, programs
like helping Palestinian and Israeli girls play soccer together, in other words, bridge building, tension reducing kinds of programs.
How is that going to help bring the Palestinians to the peace table or tamp down the real tensions in that area, because Jared Kushner, he believes
that punishing the Palestinian civilians will enable peace not stall it.
BURNS: Well, I just think that's flawed approach. I think it's politically counterproductive and I think it's morally bankrupt to cut the
kinds of assistance that you described before. I think it's based on the false premise that you can punish the Palestinians into accepting something
less than a real state.
And I think it's also based on a number of other notions that somehow, over time, you can rent the acquiescence of Palestinians by offering a sense of
economic possibilities to which the Saudis or others might contribute.
And as you know very well, that the court here has a sense of political dignity and I don't think Palestinians are going to be bought off. There's
also the flawed premise that somehow you can go over the headd of the Palestinians and at the Saudis and others in the Arab world who share
Israel's concern about Iran are going to make concessions with regard to Israeli/Arab peace and kind of ignore the Palestinians. I think that's
AMANPOUR: I mean, it does look and there's plenty of articles around it and plenty of evidence around it, that this particular Israeli government
sees a sort of a light-minded, a kindred spirit in Donald Trump and is doing a lot to push American foreign policy, which is pushing America out
of the role of honest broker.
Where do you come down on this? How much o4 an influence does Benjamin Netanyahu have when it comes to Iran policy or, obviously, Israel Palestine
policy, the Gulf policy, you know, American policy?
BURNS: Well, I think there's a confluence of interest, obviously, over Iran, over the Palestinian issue right now. But as someone who for a very
long time has been a very strong supporter of Israel, I think as friends, we need to be honest.
And what I fail to see is how Israel's long-term security interest, it's interest in sustaining what's so important, which is its existence and
health and prosperity as a Jewish democratic state can be preserved when Jews are in the minority in the land Israel controls from the Jordan river
to the Mediterranean. I just think, you know, demography and the politics that flows from that create realities we need to pay attention to.
AMANPOUR: And I guess the last question on this particular issue is, I assume that under international law, as an occupying power, Israel would be
forced to pony up to help the Palestinians with all of this international money or U.S. money being pulled out. Is that correct?
And I understand also that Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to the U.S. pulling out this humanitarian aid and civilian aid against the advice of
his own security operations.
BURNS: You know, what's striking is that in the past whenever in Congress movements would develop to cut off funding for UNRA or for economic or
humanitarian assistance for Palestinians, it was oftentimes the Israeli government quietly that would suggest this is a bad idea, which made a lot
And so, what's striking now is that you don't have that view being offered. And as I've said, I think it's both politically counterproductive and
AMANPOUR: And then, going back to Iran, because they believe this kind of, you know, hardline pressure on Iran would change its behavior. President
Trump said, "Iran's behavior has changed since I threatened or did pull the U.S out of the nuclear deal."
But has it really? Because right now, we're sitting on the brink of potentially a last offensive by Syria into the last sort of safe area,
which is Idlib and Iran, obviously, would be part of that, I guess, push. Do you see Iran having changed its activity in the region for the better?
BURNS: I don't. I mean, it's a healthy thing that Iran has continued to comply with the nuclear agreement. But in the region, I think their
behavior or their actions have continued to be threatening. And I think, in internal terms, what we've done, at least, in the short-term is
strengthen the hand of hardliners and the people like the supreme leader who have always been wanting to go say, "I told you so, you can trust the
AMANPOUR: And finally, diplomat to diplomat, current Secretary of State Pompeo has accused Former Secretary of State John Kerry of inappropriately
engaging with Iranian officials. Where do you come down on that?
BURNS: Oh, I disagree. I mean, I think there's lots of precedent for, you know, former senior officials, whether Republicans or Democrats or
professional diplomats, like me, continuing conversations with people with whom they worked.
I think the problem in our approach to Iran now is not about those contacts, it's about our policy.
AMANPOUR: And you, of course, have served many different administrations - -
BURNS: I have.
AMANPOUR: -- Republican and Democrat.
BURNS: I have.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Bill Burns, thank you for joining us.
BURNS: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, amidst those dramatic developments across the world, here at home, people are riveted by the drama that's playing out on Capitol Hill.
Brett Kavanaugh's fast track to confirmation as the next supreme court justice has stumbled on his own #MeToo moment, accusations, allegations
which he denies of sexual molestation dating from his high school days is the latest chapter in a public accounting that start this had time last
year in Hollywood and spread across the country and across the world.
Now, the celebrated actress, Sally Field, has come forward with traumatic stories from her own past. Field is one of Hollywood's best-known
actresses with a career that stretches from teen stardom to her award- winning work.
Take a look at this iconic moment from her Oscar-winning performance in the 1979 movie "Norma Ray." It's a bit hard to hear under the factory noise
but you'll definitely get the point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norma Ray --
SALLY FIELD, ACTRESS: Forget it. I I'm staying put right where I am. It's going to take you and the police department and the fire department
and the national guard to get me out of here. I'll wait for the sheriff to take me home and I'm not going to (INAUDIBLE) until he gets here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we'll get Sally Field to describe that in a moment. She has written a new memoir coming out today called "In Pieces" in which for the
very first time, Hollywood's all-American girl shares the dark secrets of her past.
Sally Field, welcome to the program.
FIELD: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, before I get to the body of your book --
AMANPOUR: -- which is really quite troubling, actually, and quite brave to recount, I just want you to remind us all of the drama of that moment in
"Norma Ray," because it's not only a great film performance but it was a real political, social and cultural moment.
FIELD: Made by a wonderful man who made films like that when they were done, Marty Ritt. It is the moment when she is willing to stand up for
what she really ultimately finally realizes she stands for, what she believes in, what she's willing to lose her life, her job for, and that is
for -- to be treated equally, to be treated fairly by management.
And she boldly stands up and refuses to be quiet. And slowly but surely, you see everyone shuts their machines down in support of her. And it
really it's as her slow growth into finding her own voice.
AMANPOUR: Well, it leads me right into you finding your own voice. Because for a long time you felt invisible, as you recount in this book.
But also, the book is being published today. And I read that even ahead publication you still were quite nervous about it coming out, wondering
whether you would be heard, whether you'd done the right thing. Tell me about that.
FIELD: Constantly. It took me seven years to write it. I was impelled to write it because when my mother passed I was so disquieted by something
that I couldn't find. I thought I had done all the right things. And there was this urgency in me growing that I had to understand something
that I couldn't see in front of me.
So, I had to lay out all the pieces to see if I could put them in place for myself and for no one else. But I had a woman to support me that I have
reached out to early on in New York, a literally agent, who, you know, wasn't sure I could do it but kept, you know, touching in and saying, "How
are you doing? How are you doing?" And I said to her, "Molly, I'm going to write this for myself but I don't know I'll ever have the guts to
publish it." And she said -- after she read 200 pages about three years ago, she said, "I'm going to be the one urging you to publish it."
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it is, as I said, really troubling but it's amazing that it comes out at this time when it seems like the world is
ready to hear these stories and ready to hold the, you know, perpetrators accountable. And you tell very, very painful stories about your
stepfather, known as Jocko, and we're going to show some pictures of you and your family when you were younger, and that you suffered sexual
molestation at his hands. Can you describe that?
You know what, I want you actually to read from your own book.
FIELD: Oh, boy.
AMANPOUR: And if it's too much, I'll read it for you.
FIELD: No, no. No. Okay. I walked on his back until he rolled over, commanding me to keep going, one foot in front of the other up his chest,
his hands slid over my legs then moved up. I walked on this much-loved nonfather of mine carefully trying to avoid where he was aiming my feet.
AMANPOUR: So, how did that affect you? What -- I mean, he did not rape you but he molested you. How did you cope with that as a kid?
FIELD: You know, it was my whole life and it, you know, grew and grew and grew into more kind of erotic play as I got older and older. And as a
child at 7 and 8 and 9 and 10, I knew that there was something inside me that wanted it to stop, but I didn't know it was any different than any
other child. I didn't know that it was something I had a right to scream about and that this feeling wasn't just because I was wrong.
And, you know, the complication of -- one of the complications of child abuse, whether it's, you know, sexual or physical or verbal, is that you --
the child is so complicated in its need to be loved. And certainly, I was mixed up in how much I adored him and how much he terrified me. And what
wired in my brain is that, therefore, what love was is that you have to also be terrified. You were seen and somehow valued but you were terrified
and deeply felt were you were in danger.
So, the patterns that get set in a child's mind then is that forever after you are looking to that kind of example is love? No. And I think as
adults, our whole lives we're trying to undo some of the webs that are holding on to us from childhood.
AMANPOUR: So, when you see what's going on right now today with Brett Kavanaugh and these allegations, which he denies --
AMANPOUR: -- but, you know, allegation that come from the 1970s or a long time ago when they were 17 years old.
AMANPOUR: And people say, "Oh, well, it was a long time ago and --"
FIELD: Yes. And it no longer counts, and that's not right. Trust me, it never goes away. It never goes away. Whether it's, you know, an abusive
stepfather that is throughout your childhood or it's in your young adulthood, when, you know, somebody believes they have rights that aren't
theirs, and it never goes away.
I believe that these women have lived with it and swallowed it and tried to submerge it and forget about it, you don't forget about it, and it colors
your relationships. Trust me, trust me, I trust no one, and that's the truth. I have a very difficult time really letting down and saying, "OK, I
AMANPOUR: Well, the book makes it very clear that you had very troubled personal relationships and you had a very difficult relationship with your
career as you moved from, you know, teen actress to then TV and films and all this. And finally, yes, you won two Oscars and it's brilliant. You
have great films to your name and you're iconic in America but the journey was very, very difficult for you. Yes?
FIELD: No. Yes, absolutely. And that, you know, what I also wanted to point out that journey, that handed down pattern in my life never went
away. So, it was hard for me to see any success. It just -- it never penetrated my mind.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know what, I mean, you write about that as well, about the difficulty in seeing the success. But first, I just want you to read a
little bit and then I promise I'll stop making you read. But one of the things that really, for want of a better word, saw your career soar to
great heights was "The Flying Nun." I saw it when I was a kid overseas. I mean, we loved it. And I was shocked to read how much you didn't love it
and how ridiculous you felt doing it.
FIELD: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: I mean, read that, because it is quite profound.
FIELD: I couldn't tell if "The Flying Nun" was the joke or I was. Couldn't distinguish between the bell of my past and the chimes of my
present. I felt deeply disgraced as if everyone was laughing at me. It was all gibberish, not inspired, comedic nonsense but meaningless twaddle
with nothing real to relate to.
AMANPOUR: How long did it take you to get over that feeling? Bout -- not just -- not "The Flying Nun" but everything, your work?
FIELD: I was lucky enough to be taken during "The Flying Nun," in the first year of "The Flying Nun" when I was terribly depressed by Natalie
Sherwood, who played mother superior, literally stuffed a note in my hand one day and said, "Meet me there Tuesday night. You have no excuse. I'll
see you there, the Actor Studio." And it began to transition my life, because I met and started working with Lee Strasberg, so that I then could
reach out for what I really wanted.
When I was 12 years old, it was the first time I stepped on a stage. And at that moment, something happened, it's the arts. And that's why the arts
should be in every school. For a troubled child, the bells rang, the fog cleared. I could hear myself, and then it was gone and I was still -- I
was just then a kid and didn't know what to do with their hands.
But I found at the Actor Studio, for the first time, I had -- there was a method that I could learn, techniques that I could learn to take me where I
wanted to go.
AMANPOUR: It is a remarkable transformation. And then, of course, you did, as I said, films that have stuck in our memories. I want to play a
little clip, fast forwarding many years after "The Flying Nun" of "Forrest Gump" where you were tom hanks' mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Well, I happen to believe you make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: What's my destiny, mom?
FIELD: You're going to have to figure that out for yourself. Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're going to get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's so cool. Life is a box of chocolates. Everybody quotes it.
FIELD: Yes, I know.
AMANPOUR: How do you feel seeing that? How do you enjoy that role?
FIELD: You know, it's funny, I see it right now and I never look at this - - because at the time when we were doing it and I was in my 40s, I guess, and I thought, boy, they really aged me. I just look so old. And I look
at it now, boy, do I look young. You know, now I could be doing it.
It was certainly a wonderful experience in my life to have the opportunity to play that character. And to age like that, it was, for an actor, to be
able to experiment starting with younger than what I was. And then, without prosthetics even to age some unknown age that when Momma Gump
leaves him and --
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, it's really sad and --
FIELD: -- to be with my Tom boy, you know, anytime.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Really quite poignant but it was such a great film. But, of course, you know, right now since Burt Reynolds died, the focus has been
very much on your relationship with him and, of course, with your book and you write about it, which is, again, really interesting.
I'm going to read this from your book about Burt Reynolds who you dated a long time. Burt started to fill me in about his life, the kind of thing
you do when you want someone to know who you are, and I started to tell my side. Little bits of me. I began to get subtle or not so subtle hints
that he didn't want to know. I had found someone to love, to pour my heart into, someone I felt frightened of, and I was seeking to be loved in the
only way I knew how, by disappearing. He died before this book came out.
AMANPOUR: Are you pleased, not pleased, that he didn't get to read what you felt?
FIELDS: Probably, if I were to be really honest I would say I'm pleased he didn't read it, because I didn't -- it would have hurt him, probably, even
though I don't think that I paint an egregious picture of a terrible guy, I paint a picture of my own process and not being able to get out of it.
But it would have hurt him. Because he wanted to be a hero. And he was a human. And that's, I think, sometimes more important than being a hero or
maybe what I mean is that real humans and being able to be vulnerably wrongly flawed human is a hero.
AMANPOUR: You met on the set of "Smoky and the Bandit." And he's quoted as saying that, you know it was love at first sight. He said, "She's the
girl for me," I mean he says that he sort of fell head over heels for you. But you describe not just this paragraph, but in some of the roles you
chose, some of the awards ceremonies you wanted to go to, him not being supportive. Walk us through some of those.
FIELDS: You know, I think -- I describe it in the book, a relationship we just fell into, like we had known each other all of our lives, it was
preformed right in my road, literally. It was a pattern I was destined to just repeat and he, I just began to take care of him and look out after him
as if he were much more important than anything I had to do. And so if he needed me, then it meant drop everything that I valued so that I could be
there and be kind of diminished.
And in reality, I was kind of asking to be diminished because I was diminishing myself.
AMANPOUR: And he didn't believe in the "Norma Rae" script, did he? He didn't think that you could do it, that it would be any good and then you
got a lot of kudos.
FIELDS: It wasn't -- he never said he thought I couldn't do it. He just thought it was a piece of trash. And thought it was, you know, that I would
be playing a whore, which she isn't, and I honestly think he didn't -- and I'm speaking for him, and he can't speak for himself, he didn't want to
lose this little help mate that I was with unconditionally loving him.
I needed nothing in return. I was asking for nothing and just doing -- being everything he needed me to be. Because somehow that's what I was
taught to be. So I think he didn't want to lose that little help mate.
But the one part of me that I would not tamper with was that part of me. And when that got threatened, when he insulted Norma, I stood up for Norma
and not myself.
AMANPOUR: And then, Norma, you, Sally Field, won an Oscar for that role.
AMANPOUR: And it was remarkable. And then you won another Oscar for "Places in the Heart" in 1985. And that was when your Oscar speech went
viral if it could have gone viral in those days, these amazing pictures of you just exultant and we're not allowed to play it because we have
restrictions from Oscar films, but I can say, "I haven't had an orthodox career," you said, "And I've wanted more than anything to have your
respect," you told the audience. "The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can't deny the fact that you like me right now,
you like me."
AMANPOUR: How did you feel at that time when people thought you had gone over the top?
FIELDS: You know, I think I did -- I had a survival system that, you know, my childhood both harmed me with and helped me with in the profession I
chose. Because I have an ability to dive into a fog bank where I just choose not to see what overwhelms me. And it is what I learned to do as a
child. And I think it is what I'm probably doing right now in my life.
But I think I did it then. I just said, well, I didn't -- it is not even a conscious thought. I feel overwhelmed with something. And I then just
sort of fog everything out. Also, you know you read it so accurately of what I said. It is that it immediately categorized it and misquoted it.
And to say that I had said something I hadn't said --
AMANPOUR: Which is what?
FIELDS: They always said that I said, "You like me, you like me, you really like me." And I never did.
AMANPOUR: No you didn't. We just read exactly what you said ...
FIELDS: I didn't say that. I sad, "Right now you -- I can't deny that right now you like me." Meaning, this could leave tomorrow. But I want to
own this second because these are fleeting moments for anybody in the arts, they're fleeting moments and right now I own this.
AMANPOUR: But you know what, reading your book, I fully understand why you said that. Even without the clarification. Because you had gone
through such hell on the way to that point, and you had such little confidence in yourself that it seems to me it was just this amazing
FIELDS: It wasn't that I had a lot of confidence in myself in reality. There was a part of me that felt unstoppable. But they were the -- I had
warring factions in myself. Pieces of myself that were not connected to each other. So one part was terribly confident, it would not be stopped.
And the other part wanted to hide.
AMANPOUR: Well, the warring factions appear in your book by the absences because you've dodged the good bit so to speak of your life in your book.
You've written, "Why is it easier for me to write about the times in my life that felt humiliating or shameful? Is it because those are the things
that haunt me? Do I hold on to those dark times as a badge of honor? Are they my identity?"
AMANPOUR: Do you know the answer?
FIELDS: Yes, I question it. I think I try to answer my own question in there because I think to a degree they have been. I think I talk in one
point how I became my own lore to myself, like my own fatal, you know this is who I am. And having to write this and forcing myself to go to the
places I didn't want to go, just as an actor, and really trying to do a character, I would go to places I didn't really want to go and unearth
And so I think it forced me to look at the places I had been -- I had been culpable in really harmful activities.
AMANPOUR: And finally, your life forced you to confront your mother as she was dying and you had all of these horrendous feelings about the abuse
that you had suffered and her role in at least -- I mean, not only --
FIELDS: Or not knowing what it ever was.
AMANPOUR: So tell me, how did you make peace with that?
FIELDS: Well, the tail end of the book, I think the real reason I wrote it is to put all of that together, which culminates with the last
conversation that I have with her, the last real conversation where I tell her, and, you know, things that she had mentioned that I throughout the
years that I wrote in my journal that I kept journals for 40 years and immediately erased from my mind that I had gone back because I was writing
this book to uncover things I didn't know. But I asked her, I told her what had happened, and ultimately what she did in return is simply triumphant.
AMANPOUR: What did she do?
FIELDS: Well, if i tell you that, it spoils the end. You'll know who'd done it.
AMANPOUR: All right, Sally Field. I'll let people read it. But it's a really compelling book and it is clearly taken a lot out of you and a lot
of years. Thank you.
FIELDS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much.
FIELDS: Thank you so much, Christiane. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now we turn to the immigration crisis that continues to tear at America's soul. The US government is now holding a record number
of immigrant children in custody, 12,800 to be precise. This broken system is unsparing from the most vulnerable children to those closest to power.
Jose Antonio Vargas was already an accomplished journalist when he wrote a blockbuster essay for the "New York Times." "My life as an undocumented
immigrant." He's now the founder of the nonprofit Define American, trying to reframe the conversation and even the terms we use. And he's author of a
new book "Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen." He told our Alicia Menendez his amazing story. She teamed up with him to start that
organization Define American. Here is their conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ALICIA MENENDEZ, AMERICAN TELEVISION COMMENTATOR: What I remember most about your coming out was that you were very prepared for what those who
were anti-immigrant would say.
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, FOUNDER, DEFINE AMERICAN: Very prepared.
MENENDEZ: Less so prepared for what members of the immigrant rights community would think about you.
VARGAS: And progressives in general. Because as a journalist, I never identified as either. I'm gay, I'm undocumented, I'm Filipino. I mean,
for some people that would just automatically mean I'm a progressive, but since I never have voted, I just -- I never really claimed a party in that
way. So being thrust into this immigrant rights racial justice progressive movement was really new to me. Especially on the other side, right.
MENENDEZ: Well, it was new to you and there were people who were very resentful about the fact you had not shown up sooner.
VARGAS: Yes, they were like -- we had been protesting since we were in high school. You know, while you were lying and making money, you know, at
"The Washington Post," and "The Chronicle" and all these other places that you were working at, right? There was a lot of not only resentment, but I
think just uncertainty about what is he going to do?
MENENDEZ: Was that fair?
VARGAS: You know, look, was it fair? I don't -- no, personally for me it wasn't. People cling on to what they fear because it is a lot easier. And
in college, I majored in African-American Studies and Political Science and so, like, so much of what I learned about America was from kind of the
perspective of people who had always were challenging America.
So I was coming from this place of no, we're actually challenging the definition of it. This is not some blind patriotism. Right. And
patriotism -- what is wrong with patriotism? There is nothing wrong with saying, I think, right, that I am proud to be an American. I am proud of
it. But I think with that pride comes the criticisms and the fact that this country is not only imperfect, right, but we're living in a crisis.
Our democracy is in crisis. I think those two things can co-exist.
MENENDEZ: Bill O'Reilly called you the most famous illegal in America. Despite the juxtaposition of words. How has your notoriety though
VARGAS: Oh, I'm sure it's protected me. I'm definitely sure of that. I think the guilt that I carry because of that, right, you know, in the book,
I write for the first time about what happened when I was arrested in Texas, summer of 2014, and how I got out. Right, I was detained for eight
hours in McAllen, the same place where the kids are being caged and locked up with families, well, separated from families, and I got out after eight
hours. And I didn't really want to know how I got out. But in writing the book I had to figure out who we called and why and all of that.
MENENDEZ: Because of the guilt?
VARGAS: The guilt about I get arrested, it is breaking news on CNN, right, and people care. People are getting arrested and detained every day.
MENENDEZ: Where a mom gets her kid ripper from her at the border and she's anonymous.
VARGAS: She's anonymous and I think we're getting at a point now in this country where I don't know about you, but it's just so much that I can't
process everything and yet, I have to keep looking at it. I have to keep reading it. I have to keep watching. We should not be desensitized from
it, right? So that has been hard.
When Bill O'Reilly said that, I think at the same interview he said to me that I don't deserve to be in America. Right, which gets us to this
question of wait a second, like, you know, what does Bill O'Reilly -- what has he done to deserve to be in America, too? I think that's, you know,
just kind of flipping the question around.
So when I wrote that, I really wanted to pose the question to really the readers and the audience about this process of earning and what that is
about. Like, you're a US citizen because you're born here, right? So is that it? Congratulations. The accident of birth? And then we're telling
people all across this country that, you know, they have to earn their citizenship while we talk about them like they're insects off our backs and
we treat them like criminals. What are we doing? I have three questions, where did you come from, how did you get here, who paid? If you can't
answer those three questions, you have no right to talk to anyone about what borders they cross, right. Or what laws they're breaking.
MENENDEZ: To really break it down for people. You're 12 years old, your mom takes you to the airport in the Philippines, and she puts you on a
plane. Why were you not able to come to the United States legally?
VARGAS: Because my grandparents could not petition me, so it is not considered a close enough of a relationship for my grandpa or my grandma
even though they are US citizens to petition a grandson, right.
MENENDEZ: Do we know how much your mother paid that smuggler to take you on that plane?
VARGAS: My mother couldn't pay. It was my grandfather, right. It was $4,500.00.
MENENDEZ: How did he get that money?
VARGAS: Saved. Can you imagine? Can you imagine how much time was spent trying to save that money? When I think back on it now, I'm trying to
understand, like, how long they had planned it. And how much my mother who didn't have the money really understood what she was doing.
Like when she said, yeah, he can come, did she really know what that meant? I don't know. Like, you know, my grandmother was a food server. She made
maybe $4.50 an hour when I first got here, $5.00 maybe. My grandfather was a security guard, he made a little more, like $6.00 or $7.00 an hour. And
so I -- it was really interesting when you add it up, the fact that they had to take care of a family here including me and then at the same time
provide for a family back in the Philippines, which, again, is the reality for so many immigrants in this country, right?
And then the kind of cycle of dependency that gets created, that they take care of my mom so now I take care of my mom and then the cycle goes on and
on and on.
MENENDEZ: How long did it take before you realized she was never coming?
VARGAS: Oh, I didn't realize that until I found out I was here illegally, which was four years later when I tried to apply for a driver's license.
VARGAS: Which is, like, is there anything more American than driving? So I was 16. My friend are Arvin Murthy was like, I'm getting tired of
driving you around, in the nicest possible way he said that, and then that's when all the lies that I had been told started kind of unraveling.
That's why for me, in writing the book, there are 11 million undocumented people in this country, though I would argue that there is far more than 11
I think if we counted all the undocumented white people and the undocumented black people and undocumented Asian people that we rarely talk
about, I think it is more than 11 million people. But in writing the book, I really struggle to try to figure out how do I write this in such a way
that other people who may not share my specific circumstances, right, could relate to it.
And so coming up with this idea would matter or actually that these phases that we live through, which is we lie, we pass, we try to pass, and we
hide. So --
MENENDEZ: But up until 16, you're not lying. You're in the dark and I think that there are people who will watch and say, but Jose, you're very
smart. How did you make it to 16 and not put all the pieces together?
VARGAS: How could I -- at that the point, that was four years of probably the most innocent time I had for myself. Like, when I look back at that
time, you know, I mean, I was a sponge. I just absorbed everything. And I -- no one around me was undocumented. And mind you, at that time, there
was no social media, there was no internet, whenever anybody said anybody was quote/unquote "illegal" or whenever anybody talked about the wall or
the border or immigration, it was always about Mexican people. And so this was never -- I just never thought of it as quote unquote "my problem."
MENENDEZ: You came out, there was response from those who were anti- immigrant, the response from the progressive movement and there was a response from your peers, your journalist peers, and that the fundamental
question was can you write about politics? Can you write about immigration when you have such a personal story that is at the heart of the issue.
VARGAS: That was certainly the question back in 2011, originally my coming out essay was supposed to come in the "The Washington Post," not the "New
York Times" and "The Washington Post" ended up killing the story and I had to, like, you know, rally, get it to the "New York Times" and "The
Washington Post," of course, had to write a story about why they killed my story and the headline was, "Why did "The Washington Post" deport Jose
Antonio Vargas' story." I had to read it. I hadn't read it until I was writing the book.
MENENDEZ: Why didn't you read it?
VARGAS: Because it was -- I didn't want to -- I read it when it first came out seven years ago, but I didn't want to read it because it was so
painful. Journalism is sacred to me. Journalism is why I exist, right? It is the way I've been able to write myself into America. And I felt at
that time I was deported from my own industry. It was so painful. And to have all these people that I respected say how do you trust a liar? Back
then, people were saying that this was a conflict of interest, it's so interesting.
After Trump's election, those same people now I think have finally understood that we're actually talking about a human rights issue.
MENENDEZ: Do you really believe though that journalists have changed their stance, that now having a personal experience of something does not
prohibit you from writing about it?
VARGAS: I think that process has started. I think that process, which is the same process if you think about it that we went through during the
Civil Rights Movement in the '50s and '60s. And during the Gay Rights Movement that just happened, and is still happening, right. Journalists
had to figure out what are we really talking about here? Why are people's existence being politicized?
I think you're seeing now more journalists and more institutions like the "New York Times" and PR and Washington Post question their own newsrooms,
and until at this time, the "New York Times" and "The Washington Post" which helps set the agenda for many news organizations still refer to
people as illegal. They still use the word illegal immigrant. And so that hasn't stopped yet. And absolutely, we will keep pressuring them to do
MENENDEZ: For much of your life, you define yourself by writing, you define yourself by journalism.
VARGAS: In a way, it became kind of my own wall. It was easier to write about other people than have to deal with myself. So when I was quote,
unquote, "I wasn't that anymore to people," all of a sudden, I'm like, well, who am I? So that I had to deal with that.
MENENDEZ: After you lie and pass and hide, for so long, how do you answer that question?
VARGAS: I think you answer it by being as uncompromising, being as uncompromising as possible in trying to understand what motivates your
actions and why you do what you do. Like why do I do what I do? Why haven't I just left?
VARGAS: Sometimes people on Twitter, God, I love people who take time to, like, write you e-mails, you know? They see something on Twitter and they
hate you or whatever, they write me an e-mail and one time someone actually said, you know, you're being really selfish. Your mom may die sometime
soon and if she dies, you're not there. Or when somebody says, why don't you just leave? And I actually ask myself, why don't I just leave? Well,
because this is where -- this is -- America is where I became who I am. Migrating to this country is not only as simple as looking at that Statue
of Liberty and, you know, wanting the American dream. Many of us come here because you were in our countries.
Like what has the United States done to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala? What does US foreign policy and US trade agreements have to do
with migration patterns? Some people in the news media would call it a global migration crisis. I actually consider it a natural progression of
If the western world can come to our countries, to those countries, right? And move to those countries, forcibly move to the countries to build their
economies. So why can't people move now?
MENENDEZ VARGAS: I want to read from the book. You write, "The truth is, if Mama had known then what she knows now, that calling her on the phone is
difficult because I can't really pretend that I know the voice on the other end of the line, on one of our rare phone calls, she said, I look at you
now, the person you've become and how can I have any regrets? I'm sure she meant it as a statement, but it sounded like a question. The truth is,
there is a part of me, I am uncertain how much, who is still on that airplane wondering why mama put me there." Have you forgiven your mom?
VARGAS: Oh, my God, yes. I actually think the question now is I wonder if she's forgiven me? Like I wonder if -- I wonder if she understands that it
is more than the money that I send or the clothes or the Lancome makeup things and those things she likes from Macy's, that -- that I don't make
sense without her, right, and that the sacrifices, really for a mother, it was ultimate sacrifices she made, is something that I'm trying to honor by
doing what I do. I've got to tell you, though, I can't wait to, like, see her in person and say thank you in person without any cameras or without
anybody else seeing it.
MENENDEZ: I want to ask about that because at the end of the book, you do give her the last word, and she says, maybe it is time to come home.
MENENDEZ: And I wonder if you were a person for whom there is a home.
VARGAS: I think -- I think defining home is something that is going to be the work of my life. I think defining home for people who feel like
they're not at home, you know, we live in -- we're in New York, we live in a country where Puerto Ricans in this country after that hurricane feel
like even though they're citizens of the country legally, they don't feel they are. I would argue that the Black Lives Matter Movement is a question
of citizenship, like Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of the movement said that, that this is actually about citizenship and who gets to belong
that this country and who gets to call it what it is.
I think that question of home is something that all of us grapple with and I think that that is going to be the work of my life, it is figuring that
MENENDEZ: Jose, thank you so much.
VARGAS: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: And the sacrifices for citizenship that Antonio talks about are so poignant, his unresolved relationship with his mother and how they
can be together and, of course, reminding everyone here in the United States that so many of the refugees and immigrants that come here are
because of what US Foreign Policy was towards their own countries historically. It's a really important point. And the question of home is
even more pressing as with millions of displaced people all over the world, the Trump administration plans to slash the number of refugees allowed into
the US, to just 30,000. It is kind of a record low at a time when the UN is saying the crisis of refugees, the surge in the number of refugees
around the world is unprecedented.
For now, though, that is it for our program. Thanks for watching. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, you can see us online at
amanpour.com and you follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from New York.