Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good night and Good luck

Finally caught up with this movie last night, and loved it. Ok, as an Aussie I'll never understand the finer points of American politics, some of it makes no sense to me at all, and I don't want to go down the path of bashing someone else's system. That doesn't help anyone. But it was very educational. I learned about McCarthyism at school, as a backdrop for studying the Crucible -- it was another thing to see inside the actual period. It jumps off the screen that, just as Miller used the witch hunts to critique McCarthyism, so Clooney is using McCarthyism to critique the present political climate (which is just as true of Australia as America, I fear). The politics of terror, of using the rhetoric of fear to take away people's freedom and autonomy, are ugly and evil in any era. I was deeply stirred by Murrow's words:

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility."

Oddly enough, the thing that came to mind, when I read this was from years ago (17? 18?)when we were burgled. It was inconvenient, we needed to replace things that were stolen, get the broken door jamb mended, consider improving our security ... but, we were fully insuured, and in the end the greatest worry was our (then) young son's concern that they were going to come back and steal his lego. The thing thatamazed me, and still does, was other people's reactions. So many people spoke sympathetically about how terrifying it is to have been robbed, how you walk in fear afterwards and live a lot more defensively. Huh? It was an annoying inconvenience, not a sentence of fear. if we had had a personal encounter with the burglars or been personally threatened in any way, yes, it would have been much more traumatic. Yes, we reviewed our security and took sensible measures, but we didnot turn our home into a fortress or choose to live in fear.i said then, and continue to say, that if we capitulate to a fear-based lifestyle, the evil have already won -- they have taken away our freedom. Exactly the same is true, for me, of international politics today...

1 comment:

Suzanne R said...

McCarthy was such a blight on the American political landscape. I have long been very ashamed that our system spawned him, but if people in other countries like you can take a lesson from him, that is a good thing. He sure hurt a lot of people, though. I like your take on all this and it has taught me a new way of looking at what happened with McCarthy, too.