Friday, April 01, 2005

Two Movies To Boost Your Liberal Spirits This Weekend

We're heading for a rainy weekend here in the Northeast and I'm thinking of watching two of my favorite political movies to boost my spirits.

I'm not a qualified movie critic. But these movies are good choices if you're a Democrat who wants to watch something political that is actually uplifting.

The closest to my heart -- perhaps because I worked so hard on Clinton/Gore in 1992 and experienced a new way of campaigning first-hand -- is The War Room, a 1994 documentary that chronicles the campaign that would put Bill Clinton in the White House. The movie shows how James Carville and George Stephanopoulos defied conventional wisdom and formed the rapid-response, take-no-prisoners approach to campaigning that allowed Democrats to regain the executive branch of government.

You can read a review and greater description of the movie here. If the last two presidential campaigns have you down and you want renewed faith that we can win next time check this one out. (
Don't forget, Bush's Daddy had a 91 percent approval rating when the 1992 election cycle began.)

The other, for pure entertainment value, is The American President, a 1995 flick starring Michael Douglas as Democratic President Andrew Shepherd and Annette Benning as the widowed Shepherd's liberal love interest. The movie is especially inspiring in the last 15 minutes as the liberal president, constantly harangued by his conservative opponent for his beliefs and being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU," finally stands up and fights and gives a speech that we would love to hear a Democratic candidate give today.

You can hear an mp3 of that speech at the American Rhetoric web site. My favorite part is when Shepherd tires of his opponent's shallow patriotism and talks about what American values are really all about:

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, and who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

And, especially with the tough-talking chickenhawks we have in the White House right now, it's inspiring to see a president with such deep thoughts after he has given an order to attack another country and his aides are lauding him for being so "presidential":

Somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor's working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence headquarters. He's going about doing his job... because he has no idea, in about an hour he's going to die in a massive explosion. He's just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You've just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.

This movie will give you hope that there is indeed a better way to beat Republicans -- and it's not by going along with them.

Take a look at both of these – you won't regret it.

Have a good weekend.