Frantastic!

From cancer survivor to happily divorced, Fran Drescher has a thing or two to say about life, liberty and equality for all

DRESCHER: Most definitely. And it caused me to become a medical consumer, and start a women’s health movement, and become empowered to take control of my body, and understand that doctors are not gods. When the doctor calls and tells you, “You have cancer,” at the end of the day he goes home and eats dinner with his family, while you go home and eat your heart out with yours.

It’s really important to not put your head in the sand and be an ostrich when you feel those early warning whispers, because it could be cancer when you feel something happening. And you wanna capture it at its earliest onset when it’s most curable. If everybody was diagnosed in stage one, 95 percent of the people would live. The reason why we lose loved ones to cancer is almost always because of late-stage diagnostics, which is unconscionable in this time that we live in. But because people are fear-driven and they don’t wanna know if something’s wrong with them, because doctors are bludgeoned by big business health insurance to go the least expensive route of diagnostic testing, because we have a nation where so many people are uninsured or under-insured, it creates a very dangerous cocktail. And this is what I’m trying to change with the Cancer Schmancer Movement.

MW: Many of our readers are lesbians – and lesbians sometimes deal with cancer issues differently.

DRESCHER: I speak out to the lesbian community all the time, because they actually are not as good about taking care of their female reproductive organs or breasts, as a general rule. That needs to change. Being a lesbian does not preclude you from dealing with women’s health issues.

MW: How do we turn that around?

DRESCHER: Well, I think it’s consciousness-raising. You know, “Each one teach one.”

MW: Currently, there’s controversy swirling around the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Any thoughts on that?

DRESCHER: There are many, many organizations out there that people can support. Komen is one of them. They were a pioneer in raising breast cancer awareness and galvanizing and taking breast cancer out of the closet, where you don’t have to speak about it in hushed tones, and getting Capitol Hill to get the conversation going. So I think that they’ve earned a place in our society.

However, Cancer Schmancer is a very lean, mean organization that is not really rich at all. And I used to be jealous that we didn’t have the kind of money that Komen has – not even close. But now I see that we can maneuver more nimbly because we’re not such a big bureaucracy. And we can get things done more effectively at the scale that we’re at – with a celebrity at the helm. And so I think that to everything there is a purpose under heaven.

MW: What do you think of ”Obamacare”?

DRESCHER: I’m very happy that it got passed because now it exists. It’s not a perfect document, but what is? Like our Constitution, which is always, as you know, having amendments added to it, so will this. But you gotta start. You can’t begin with a perfect document. You do the best you can, you get it on the books, and then you let the people and Congress keep improving it. Even though three-quarters of the stuff hasn’t even been implemented yet, I already see a change in attitude from big business health insurance who are becoming more prevention-oriented, which is so important.

All the nations that provide health care for their citizens are much, much more prevention-oriented than we are and this is something we have to start changing. We are transfixed on closing the barn door after the horse escapes, trying to find a cure for the sickness, because big business pharma stands to make money off of sick people promising them that you can live longer sick. But where’s the cure?

One out of two men and one out of three women will get cancer in their lifetime – and that’s too much. We’re on a slippery slope towards our own demise. One out of two men! That’s crazy. The children of today for the first time in U.S. history are predicted to not live as long as their parents lived. And the babies are already being born pre-polluted with 200 to 300 chemicals in the mother’s umbilical cord. American women’s breast milk has the highest amount of flame retardant in it from any women on the planet. So we are right now functioning like a virus on this planet. We are just destroying everything in our path that actually supports life until we’re going to kill ourselves. That’s what we’re doing.

MW: The Republicans seem determined to dismantle Obamacare, to do away with it completely.

DRESCHER: They want to do away with Obama. The parties are so biased that they’re completely unwilling to give kudos where deserved. They’re going to make everything he’s accomplished seem evil.

I live in this great nation. If I get robbed, I want a policeman to come and help me. And if I get in trouble, I want an attorney to come and help me. And if my house goes on fire, I want a fireman to come and put it out. And if somebody attacks my country, I want a soldier to protect me. And if I have a kid, I want that kid to be educated, not illiterate. And if I get sick I want a doctor to cure me. I think that that’s our right as American citizens.

This all costs money. Everything costs money. And the very people that are dishing Obama – who’s actually stuck his chin out against Wall Street, against the banks, all these people who have proved to be greed mongers – he may have lost a lot of support from those people. I don’t think he’s lost support from the everyman, the working bloke, but when you look at the benefits that the politicians who are trying to revoke Obamacare have – paid by the citizens – it’s such a hypocrisy. And unfortunately the people that they are driving fear into may not have the political savvy to question those obvious hypocrisies.

MW: You were a big Hillary Clinton supporter leading up to the 2008 campaign. So I’m curious: Are you happy with the job Obama’s done?

DRESCHER: I am happy with the job he’s done. I think he’s done a yeoman’s job. He came into a nation that was at the depths of despair, and it got worse before it got better. A lot of people think that the money that was spent to try and resolve the financial crisis put us deeper into debt, but I think what they don’t really realize is that very, very smart financial analysts looked very long and hard at what was done wrong during the crash of ’29, when we experienced bread lines everywhere and much higher unemployment. And they made a bold move. As a result, more businesses didn’t go belly up, more people didn’t become unemployed.

It’s not to say we’re not struggling. But at the end of the day, I think that the hard decisions that he’s made were the correct ones. Even though, you know, sometimes choices are just “What’s the lesser of two evils?” or, “How do we do the best damage control? We’re not going to fix the problem overnight.” I think that that’s how they approached the problem, and I think they did a good job.

Peter and Fran on ''Happily Divorced''

Peter and Fran on ”Happily Divorced”

MW: You should run for office.

DRESCHER: I’ve been told that many times. And I think that it is on the horizon, but right now I feel like I have the forum to speak publicly without being thrown to the wolves.

MW: It would be fun to say ”President Drescher.”

DRESCHER: [Laughs.] Oh, well, yes it would!

MW: You’d be the first Jewish president.

DRESCHER: Not to mention woman.

MW: Plus you could re-marry Peter, and we’d have a gay first husband. Speaking of marriage, one of the things you are about to do is to marry several gay couples in New York on March 6.

DRESCHER: Yes, I’m officiating three gay weddings.

MW: So what does the idea of gay marriage mean to you, personally?

DRESCHER: It’s an opportunity for the nation to grow and further realize the American dream to mature, and raise consciousness by continuing to strive to live up to the promise of liberty and justice for all. It’s a civil liberty issue. And I think it’s important for that reason. You know, we’re always trying to mature, and I think that this is an opportunity to do so. I think that we are at our best as a nation when we can inspire the world like the beacon of freedom that we are. That means that we have to continue to uphold that standard and keep demanding more of ourselves. I think that that’s what makes this nation great and so important to the world.

MW: Do you think that, overall, the country will come around on the subject?

DRESCHER: Absolutely no question. The majority of people under a certain age see nothing wrong with [marriage equality], so it’s a generational thing that is going to ultimately fade out. But hopefully, more and more people and states will come to realize that love is love, and everybody has a right to live an authentic life. Everybody has a right to marry the person that they love in a traditional way.

MW: And what about you? Are you still involved?

DRESCHER: I recently broke up, and now I’m single. So if you know somebody, they have to have the “Five S’s” – sexy, successful, smart, single. And straight!

The second season of Happily Divorced premieres Wednesday, March 7, at 10:30 p.m. (EST) on TV Land. Check your local satellite and cable listings.

Learn more about Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer Movement at cancerschmancer.org.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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