Friday, August 08, 2008

Swing Vote

Last weekend we saw the movie Swing Vote with Kevin Costner.

The movie basically is about a down-and-out divorced father who works in a egg factory (and gets fired during the movie). Through some twisted logic, he becomes the key vote during the presidential elections.

The presidential candidates then via for his vote.

That's the plot, but the movie is quite a commentary on our society. It is billed as a comedy but I cried throughout much of the show.

The movie highlighted the people that don't seem to matter in this country, at least not to the media and not to the government. Costner's character was one of those folks who have given up and lost hope of ever doing anything with his life. Why should he bother voting, much less trying to understand the issues, when so little of it pertains to his life?

He doesn't care about abortion or stem cell research or the War in Iraq, except that its taken some his drinking buddies away from town. He does care about high prices, gassing up his truck, feeding his daughter and making sure she gets to school.

The presidential candidates swoop into town to convince this uneducated bumpkin to vote for their side. It doesn't really matter what they stand for or if they are right or left in their politics; if Costner's character said he liked purple and the polka that is all that mattered.

Finally Costner's daughter forced him to understand the importance of his decision. He read letters that folks just like himself sent to him, hoping he would make a difference. He asked for a debate between the two candidates. One of the letters asked why, in a nation so rich, is there so little for those who have the least?

It is a good question and the movie did not answer it. That's because the answers are multiple and singular. I can name it in one word: greed.

The concept of the Greater Good has vanished. People do not care about one another. If I know you I might care about you but otherwise, I have no need or desire to see that you are safe and fed. That is how people think, with their eyes and hearts completely closed.

Politicians listen only to whiny self-inflated egoists who sit in their McMansions boo-hooing because they might have to pay another $100 a year in taxes. Those crybabies never think that their money might feed another person, or fix a road so that their best friend's cousin doesn't get killed in the bad curve, or pay for health care for an elderly mother who just had a stroke. All they think about is their tightly closed pocketbook.

The politicians (or the McMansion crowd) don't hear the cries of the waitress trying to raise her daughter on $18,000 a year. Or the sounds of a family of four trying to get back on $24,000 a year. They don't realize that there is no blame - not everyone can come out on top. Despite the rhetoric, we can't all be president or run corporations or make a million dollars. There just isn't enough time or space.

The politicians just hear Halliburton's cries for more cash and Exxon's demands for lower pollution controls. Big business rules. Hail the corporations!

This movie pointed out what is wrong and sad about this country and about the pitiful and sick election process that we undergo every four years.

It made some members of the audience uncomfortable and it made me cry. I wish everyone would watch this flick and understand, if only for a moment, the absolute unfairness of our capitalistic system and just how undemocratic our so-called democracy really is.

6 comments:

  1. That's because the answers are multiple and singular. I can name it in one word: greed.

    The concept of the Greater Good has vanished. People do not care about one another. If I know you I might care about you but otherwise, I have no need or desire to see that you are safe and fed. That is how people think, with their eyes and hearts completely closed.


    O-M-G preach it SISTER!

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  2. "The Greater Good"...now there's a phrase I hadn't heard in ages...testament to what you say about it being gone. When did we forget that we're only as strong as the weakest link?

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  3. Wonderful post! I must go out and see that movie. We truly have lost sight of what matters, haven't we?

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  4. YEAH sister with this post. I hear ya loud and clear. And I agree with much of it. Shan

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  5. I feel hope with Obama. I think he's sincerely different.

    Sounds like a great movie.

    www.GreenerPastures--ACityGirlGoesCountry.blogspot.com

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  6. It's our generation. Me, and people like me.

    We want a house. Then a bigger house. Then a bigger house, out in the country.

    Then we need roads to drive to our big house in the country. And so we complain about the roads, but then complain about the taxes we need to pay.

    Did you know that there is ONE working farm in all of Fairfax County, and it is owned by the Parks and Recreation Authority?

    I hate to say this, but I was almost in favor of letting Fannie and Freddie and Bear Stearns fail big. I'd rather try to heal one knife wound than a thousand paper cuts.

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