Letters to the Editor

Watcher sees different parallels

Re Don McManamy letter, "Movie illustrates selling of America," Sept. 30:

I was surprised and entertained while reading McManamy's letter about "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." He tells us it will encourage everyone to vote every Democratic Party member out of office.

Interestingly, no one in the cast is identified as Republican or Democratic. I will give him the benefit of the doubt since the Mr. Smith character spends a lot of time at the Lincoln Memorial and one newspaper headline shown in the movie says Smith wants, "More common sense and less law in government." I suppose you could assume it makes Mr. Smith a Republican. Heck, I have always been a fan of Lincoln and I'm a moderate, but a Democratic one, that is, just to the left of center.

I saw a relationship to the movie message somewhat differently. For some reason the character Jim Taylor, a corrupt, machine political boss, reminded me of the current Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell. In a 2009 report, the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named McConnell one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress, stating that "Sen. McConnell's ethics issues stem primarily from earmarks for clients of his former chief of staff in exchange for campaign contributions and the misuse of his nonprofit, McConnell Center for Political Leadership at the University of Louisville." That fits my image of the analogy.

Then we have a scene in the Senate cloak room where the message is, "We've got to break him," meaning Mr. Smith, and another scene with the political boss saying, "We can't miss a trick, we've got to smash this yokel." Seems a lot like somebody on Inauguration Day 2009 organizing the plan to be against everything the new president would be in favor of.

McManamy relates the story line of 1939 to being represented in Congress today and identifies it as the "Selling of America." I suppose he is referring to politicians being purchased. If this is the issue, let us step away from the movie for a moment and take a look at campaign reform, an issue that seems to be bipartisan among voters. McConnell is well-known for his opposition to campaign finance regulation on First Amendment grounds. He argues that regulations reduce participation in political campaigns and protect incumbents from competition. He also spearheaded the movement against the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, now known as the McCain-Feingold bill.

There are also scenes of the political boss's machine getting rowdy, noisy and outspoken at various public meetings in an attempt to defame Mr. Smith. Wow, how could anyone act like that today at a public forum? Wait, didn't something similar happen last summer?

Another reference from the movie to today could be how the political boss, the owner of all the newspapers and radio stations in the never-mentioned western state, promoted many distortions in their columns and on the airwaves to discredit Mr. Smith. Hmm ... why does that sound like the information Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes happily offer to the public today.

We are also reminded in this letter to remember, "Trash day is in November." I guess this is some humor about Election Day. While it may be cute, I am concerned that a voter would reduce a great constitutional right and privilege to laughter. I don't. I also do not know McManamy's political beliefs but think I could make an educated guess.

Is it not interesting that we both watched the same movie and saw things so differently? Yes, sort of reflects how we are able to put our opinions ahead of the truth and create our own facts. I saw a movie that exposed greed, personal gain, power and corruption and in the end the people and the truth won. The writer lives in Carolina Shores, N.C.

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