Monday, July 12, 2004

On Matters Regarding the State of the Union

An introductory note: this was written in Borders this afternoon after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11. My plan was to see Spider-Man, then Fahrenheit if I felt like another movie. I was running late (surprise) and missed the start of Spider-Man, and Fahrenheit was starting soon after I got there, so....


Back to the Future III was on TBS the other day, and while cleaning the house, I caught the last half an hour or so. I joined in right before Doc takes his one shot of Whiskey and passes out on the bar room floor. May favorite line from the movie comes later in the scene: "Let's make some wake-up juice." (Side-note: I did a Google search on the line, because I'm a geek, and only found one hit for the line. That's kind of sad [in more ways than one].) Anyways, the "juice" does the trick, and Doc sobers up.

Confession: I'm a wuss, and I've never been drunk. For the most part, I don't even like alcohol. Red wine tastes a bit like vinegar poured through dirty socks, and white wine doesn't fare much better. Beer smells like urine, and tastes like armpit sweat. These are just my opinions, so you don't have to agree. So even though I've never been drunk, today I learned what it feels like to sober up. Just about fifteen minutes ago, I got done watching Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's documentary about September 11, homeland security, and the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and abroad. And all I can say at this point is that it was, if nothing else, sobering.

Let's get the BS out of the way upfront. Moore's documentary is not journalism (it barely even pretends to be objective). It's incredibly biased, narrated by the author, rather than a detached, observant third party; and Moore leans heavily on emotional pathos rather than argumentative, persuasive fact telling in order to make his case. His documentary's are more left-leaning propaganda than reasoned, articulate accounts of the state of affairs in Flint, Columbine, Iraq, or wherever else he might be shooting. They have to be consumed with discernment and judged only after a thorough examination of the facts in question. But damn if this guy isn't persuasive.

I don't want to talk too much about the content of the documentary. Just to say that Fahrenheit 9/11 has high points and low points, moments where I wanted to yell obscenities at Moore for distorting facts, and moments where I almost stood up and shouted, "Amen!" If anything, this film has gumption. It also has courage, and it intentions are pure. If it screws things up, it s because its director is just another messed up human. Moore might be totally off base at times, and he might beat certain things to death that should never have been beaten in the first place. But it cannot be said that Moore is not passionate, and it cannot be argued the he is not righteous in his cause. Because, completely factual or not, his cause is righteous. Fahrenheit 9/11 is about many things, but its mostly about patriotism. Maybe not my brand of patriotism, and maybe not yours, but it is about patriotism nonetheless.

If you have friends or relatives in the armed services, whether in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, please go see this film. If you care about the world community's view of Western Christianity, as our soldiers (whether Christian or not) represent the American Church to countries who have little or no contact with modern conservative evangelicalism, please, go see this film. If you plan to cast a vote, ever again, at any point in the rest of your life, for any publicly held position of government authority, please, here is where I beg, please go see this film. You don't have to agree with Moore; you can even hate and taunt him with belittling names, drawing malicious little doodles on his face in print adds, mocking his every word. But you at least have to hear what he has to say before you can begin to criticize. Because what he has to say is sobering, and it is just.

I could be writing about Back to the Future III right now, because, to be honest, I really love it. It takes me back to 4th grade, when things were simpler because Iraq was invading other countries for oil, and Don Mattingly was the greatest baseball player God had ever breathed into existence. But I can't just write about the exploits of Doc Brown and Marty McFly, because it wouldn't be just. We've got to talk about what's important sometimes, and we've got to figure out what's best for our nation, simply put because we're called to: "And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindly, and to walk humbly with your God?" -- "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work." That last verse from Titus is especially poignant, because things have changed since Paul's day. The People are the rulers now, and the public servants we elect answer to us. We're the boss, and it's up to us to exercise an informed opinion. And if our servants in public office fail to submit to the will of the People, it's up to the People to set things straight. It's what we're called to.

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