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During election season, I’m reminded of that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) shoots Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) thus forcing Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) to take the tests in order to reach the Holy Grail. Donovan says to Jones, “It’s time to ask yourself what you believe.”
Viewing politics like a Hollywood movie can be dangerous, but since we all are really just rooting for the candidate we believe to be the lesser evil, it’s actually quite similar. Protagonists in movies kill people and that is morally wrong, but since they are doing it in the name of something right, we cheer them on. Antagonists kill people in movies, and since we are trained to root for the good guy – the person we are led to believe is the good guy – we get angry with the antagonists. It really doesn’t make much sense, but then again, it’s just a movie. It doesn’t need to make sense. It’s a mystical land of make-believe and entertainment.
This is not the case for our elections since these people are real and we are forced to choose sides with one of them, or burn our votes. For the weeks and months leading up we are bombarded with phone calls, television commercials, YouTube ads playing before cat videos, and even paper mail slander. It’s quite ridiculous. It’s even sad how much money is spent trying to tell everyone how bad of a person the opponent is because they did x, y, and z in 199-X, and 2000-X. I am in complete support of the election process, but the tendencies to slide towards intelligent schoolyard bullying push me away from the mudslinging.
There are a lot of things that matter this year when considering who to vote for, but I’ve always felt that some matters are more important to me than others. Buzzwords that are thrown around in local news don’t seem to matter as much as the values of the person. You can tell me all day about the past and history of one politician, but if I side with them you probably won’t be able to convince me otherwise. Arguing beliefs has never ended well for me, which is why I typically avoid that conversation with people that I love and care about.
The strongest words that are sticking out on television, for me lately, are Feminism and Feminist. You have probably seen them thrown at Beyonce who has somehow become this all-encompassing ambassador of the subject because of a performance on MTV.
If you haven’t seen it lately, there is a video circulating the Internet that shows a woman walking around New York who is on the receiving end of seemingly non-stop cat calling. To me, that’s not right. It’s not right for men of any race or nationality to view and treat women as an object. I know I’m guilty of joking about it in my own past “” casual jokes about allowing women to vote “” and that certainly didn’t help the cause. At the end of the day, if I saw or heard a man whistle/cat call at my mom while I was walking near her or beside her, I’d be filled with the passion of Sparta’s 300 to take him down a peg or two. Why is it difficult to muster the strength to do that for a complete stranger when I witness it happen in my local streets? (As a disclaimer, I feel obligated to tell you that the credibility of the video is in question because it was technically produced by an ad agency. That doesn’t change the message, though, and it has at least created dialogue on the topic.)
I’ve never considered myself a Feminist, mainly because the primary image that comes to mind when I hear the word is a woman standing in front of the Capitol burning a bra, and I can’t really relate with that. It wasn’t until recently that I was educated on what it means to be a male Feminist that I began examining my beliefs when it comes to what equality means. Do I believe women should make the same amount of money as me? Yes. Do I think women should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies? Yes. Does that extend to reasonable access to birth control and even (gasp!) supporting the ideals of Planned Parenthood?
Yes, yes it does. Abortion is a touchy topic for anyone, but I believe that if we have access to the technology and the circumstances arise, the choice is up to the woman as to what she wants to do with her body.
A writer whose work I’ve admired for many years commented on Twitter recently about how she doesn’t appreciate being regarded simply as a “Feminist Writer.” She has a powerful voice and uses it to spread awareness on the topic of Feminism, as well as music, arts, entertainment, and generally anything or anyone she is afforded the opportunity to write about. She’s a brilliant writer and if you have any interest in following her musings, a simple Google search for “Bree Davies“ will pull up her articles. She taught me more about Feminism, equality and rape culture than any professor I ever had, and for that I am grateful, and a much more open-minded person. I don’t think I was ever deliberately misogynistic, but I did learn that fighting for equality means putting the same amount of effort into rights for others as I would for myself.
For many years I wrote about music, and even called myself a music writer, but I eventually grew out of that because I felt that if I wanted to be taken seriously I needed to broaden my horizons. But deep down, I loved writing about music.
Early on my friends would make jokes and call me “Almost Famous,” as if I was trying to slip inside Patrick Fugit’s character that aspired to write for Rolling Stone. Whether or not that movie planted the seed in me to begin writing about music is irrelevant because I do write about music and I made it my reality. I am not a music writer – I am a writer.
Movies do offer a wonderful dream world parallel of the reality we live in. If only for 120 minutes, we can be transported into a world where consequences are not relatable and rewards are endless. Where at the end of the story “” whatever story it is we are writing “” we (men) get the girl (or guy, whatever’s your pleasure on that one), we get the fancy send-off into the sunset, and we feel like we overcame something relatively unachievable.
This election season, I hope you experienced that feeling regardless of the outcome. Life is not a movie and the good guy doesn’t always win, but at least you got the choice as to who that good guy is in your eyes. The power was in your hands, and you made the decision to pick your protagonist, which means you must also own the decision to have picked your antagonist. And since this opened with a quote, it’s probably best to end it with one: “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” You can thank Obi-Wan Kenobi for that one. !