Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mr. Smith went to Washington and became a Real American Hero

Another of my facebook notes I'd like to share briefly, this time about a movie.

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" was an excellent movie, this country definitely needs A LOT more men and women like Jefferson Smith today.  Its kind of like "Legally Blonde 2" in that he is very optimistic yet naive about politics and that he fights strongly for his beliefs but it doesn't have the same silliness or odds that were stacked against Mr. Smith; he doesn't even have the same education Elle Wood have, he was a small town guy thrust into the position of some power he barely had any knowledge of.

The movie is about a Mr. Smith who is made senator after the death of another senator because he knows nothing about politics and so the politicians and political machine of his state want to use him to just sit in, do what they say, and not cause trouble. However, he decides to make a bill and when the conflicts with their plans, Mr. Smith finds the dirty workings and tries to block them but is then set up with fraudulent charges to discredit and dissuade him from going further.  Initially broken, he regains his confidence through a friend he makes in DC and fights to his last in the Capitol Building despite the vicious tactics that the machine employ to smear him in the state and in the senate.

People know there's corruption today but they think of political machines and either laugh at it being of the past or wonder what's a political machine but the more I look around, the more I see it is still an ever present force in politics. In fact, looking at the problems that Mr. Smith faced, today it seems like they're magnified 1000 times more or so not in the same violent way maybe but certainly in the same political and social way.  They are certainly a lot more clever about it because of the expansion of both the bureaucracy and economy.  The violence they showed I must say may have been over the top not in the sense that it doesn't happen anymore but that it was happening in broad daylight almost mafia style.  Then again, this was set in the 30s or 40s I think so maybe it wasn't far off.

Mr. Smith chose not to give up because he was shown that he could not live with himself or bear to tell the kids in his home town the truth about how modern politics treated the American ideals and truth and justice.  He also could not be bought off with more years in office or threats that he would be ruined for speaking his mind about what happens in his country because he believed in the truth.  A lot of people say they stand for the truth but I wonder how many would stand up like he did to fight for it when the odds are up against them instead of caving in to bribes, threats, and "scandals".  They either can't stand to go the distance or they truly value something more material such as an office, money, or the minimal of what they asked for.  I sincerely hope I would not be that way because I feel that there is no other thing I idea I value higher than the truth.

The truth is a valuable asset, lies are like a house of cards and in time, I believe they always come crashing down on themselves.  As long as there are people out there who believe in it and those who believe in it in our government, I believe things will turn out alright even if we do have to go through hell and back like Mr. Smith.


  1. You treat a similar theme in your post on the death of Bin Laden. I would characterize it as an insistence on a truth beyond pragmatic or technocratic modes of getting things done. There is a kind of cynical panache in vogue right now whereby one displays their worldly savvy by assuming everything is corrupt and only the naive expect otherwise. But, as Orwell pointed out in his critique of Burnham, if you would have asked all the intellectuals during world war two to predict who would win, they would have proclaimed with due sobriety that Hitler was assured victory according to all sound reason - he simply had all the advantages as far as they could tell, and current trends favored him overwhelmingly. The naive and foolish rabble, on the other hand, believed blindly in the ability of their ability to beat fascism. In this instance, there was profound power in not being "realistic".

  2. I don't think very highly of haughtiness of any kind; in my belief, only God knows all and so we can conjecture about what is to come and what can be accomplished when the odds are stacked but ultimately only what goes with God's ultimate plan matters as does the righteousness of the people involved. Therefore, people shouldn't worry or argue over things which have yet to occur and they should do what they can for what they believe is the right course of action, even it seems ludicrous. Those who believe in God pray for His help in hard times as well as safety and strength for their belief in Him.