With the proliferation of feature films now available on pre-recorded DVD and video cassettes, most of us have a reasonably large home collection of our favorite flicks, ready to be watched at any time. DVD, especially, has allowed us to hone in on specific scenes that we like, and we can skip over the dull parts.
However, this bountiful harvest has been a mixed blessing, for we have also discovered that a goodly number of these movies become a whole lot less “favorite” upon repeated viewing. Simply put, certain of them do not stand up to close scrutiny. Perhaps we have finally noticed a ridiculous continuity error, such as a smashed up car re-emerging without a dent in the next scene, or maybe, once we don’t have to concentrate on the now familiar plot details, we discern that a particular performance is excruciatingly awful. Anyway, you get the idea.
Many examples could be cited, of course, and I love a bad movie as much as the next guy, so feel free to send me your worst. The point of all this is that many films, like so much else we encounter, don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Which brings us to the always current issue of “rights.”
World War II ended with an overwhelming Allied victory, bringing with it greater expectations on behalf of the American populace, especially those who belonged to the traditionally downtrodden racial and ethnic minority groups. It should be noted, in passing, that it was frightfully easy for many Americans to overlook what happened to Eastern Europe and China, and overlook it they most surely did.
By the late 1950’s, the cause of Southern Blacks was taken up by the elite media, even if there was almost no coverage of the appalling ghetto conditions of these same ethnics in the North. 90 years after the Civil War, regional prejudices were still in play, and “civil rights” referred pretty much to the South.
Predictably and sadly, the Movement focused on legal remedies and tokenism (later to be swelled to quotas), but did little then, and does little now, to address economic, social, or cultural issues. Indeed, during the height of the Black Power days, more practical individuals started talking about Green Power—and in those days, “green” meant money. The Movement placed many Black officeholders and media figures, but gave precious little shrift to the common man. Scandalously silent on the issues of broken Black families, and the less than reverent place that education is held in the hood, the Movement should take no credit—but it does—for the developing Black middle class.
The so-called Black leadership sold their souls to the Democratic party, which realized that absent a “rights” struggle, they had nothing whatsoever to offer the American public. To survive, they spawned an ever burgeoning list of oppressed groups, including women, Hispanics, the handicapped, homosexuals (later dubbed “gays”), illegal aliens, criminals, and addicts.
Before long, the Declaration of Independence’s notion that
“…Men are…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
all but disappeared. Instead, the almighty Government is now the grantor of Rights, even if it does have occasional lapses like Ruby Ridge, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese, medical experiments on G.I’s, and a confiscatory taxation system.
While the Creator is already infinite, the Government is not quite there yet, and must grow, so the definition of “rights” can only expand. What started off as the purview of the Democrats has leaked over to the other side of the aisle, and the parties have become the more Socialists and the (slightly) less Socialists.
Caught up in this whirlwind is the magnification of gay rights from assuring administrative non-discrimination, to being granted all the privileges of heterosexual marriage. Few politicians, being craven by nature, have spoken out strongly on this matter, but to its credit, the Vatican has taken the correct and hard stand.
For those of us who live in the USA, though, we can follow the historical time line from July 4, 1776 to the present. In 227 years, we have gone from rebelling against a government that denied us our God-given rights, to living under an atheist government that claims to grant them in the first place.
So, there’s your scrutiny. Only this time, it’s not a movie, it’s real life.