Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Of The Finest Speeches Ever Made

And it was written for a movie character, dammit! I was watching it again last night (a few more times and I'll be able to quote the script in its entirety), and when Andy Shephard got in front of that crowd in the press room and started to talk, I just got all goose-pimply and shivery up and down my spine. That is how I want a political leader to sound!

A very pertinent excerpt:

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You 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, 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 can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".

"I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it!

"We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it."

Now, here's the trick: Go back and read it again, and wherever you see the name, "Bob Rumson," you just insert the name of your local anti-equality, anti-individual, anti-woman, anti-man, anti-autonomy, anti-CHOICE rabble rouser who wants to legislate your giving up your independence "for the good of all" he believes in.

And keep in mind that he doesn't care what you believe in. He is interested only in how he can turn your beliefs to his own advantage, all the while sneering at you and your beliefs. He will exploit what he perceives as the weakness in your belief that you have the right to live your own life the way you chooses, worship or not as you choose, and exercise your freedom the way you chooses. He will then turn it around to accuse you of hindering him in his pursuit of his freedom to shut down your freedom.

Because he truly is not interested in solving any problems. He just wants you to be afraid of shadows so he can come along with his flashlight and "show you the way." That is his road to becoming powerful. One of the "elite," at which he only pretends to sneer, when all the while he desperately wants to be one.

What he's hoping you won't notice (and people who are afraid notice very little outside their immediate fear) is that the beam of his little flashlight only shows what he's aiming at in that particular moment. It does not show the surroundings that are still in the shadows. It shows you the dog's teeth, but it does not show you the big leather collar, the steel-link leash, and the heavy post to which the dog is chained.

And it doesn't show you what the fear-monger is hiding behind his back -- a goad that he is using to prod the helpless animal into snarling and snapping his teeth, and a bolt cutter, which he will use to cut through the chains of the dog and loose him on you himself, if you don't submit to giving up your freedoms through his threats alone.

Beware the fear-monger. You need not fear what he says; you need to fear what he does not. Look beyond the beam of his flashlight and into the shadows for yourself.

"President Barack Obama" has an interesting ring to it.

NO to California Proposition 8.

And thank you, Aaron Sorkin, for some of the finest words ever written.


Blogger dez said...

I loved West Wing for that reason.

A President that I always wanted, but could never be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Aw...never say never...

'Cause ya never know, right?

I mean, if fiction can invent cell phones (remember the Star Trek communicators?), maybe they can invent political leaders who think that individual autonomy is the most important "value" of all of them!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:03:00 PM  

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