A few days ago, one of the members of the STFK Movie Night group wanted to go see the movie called America: Imagine the World Without Her and suggested it for the rest of the group. I didn't know much about it, but I got the feeling that the people who would enjoy it the most are the same ones who are still looking for President Obama's birth certificate. I consider myself to lean towards the conservative right, politically speaking, but I don't like the way Conservatives seem to have been trying to inspire their followers for the past several years. The tone is confrontational and militaristic. I made some assumptions about this movie, and I wasn't looking forward to seeing it, honestly.
America is the movie version of a book by the same title, and both are the work of a man named Dinesh D'Souza. Before this week started, I was only vaguely aware of his name, unable to say for sure if I had even heard it spoken before. D'Souza produced a previous movie that is also a political commentary called 2016: Obama's America. We decided to watch 2016 at home first before going to the theater to watch America. I couldn't find it at Redbox, so we rented it from Amazon and streamed it over the Internet to our television set on Tuesday night.
The 2016 movie just about made me sick to watch. It was a one-and-a-half-hour Obama bash-fest, and it left the viewer feeling defeated and in a near-hopeless situation. I credit the film for presenting well-researched, logical argument. The film cited and attempted to explain specific Obama policies and actions that were and are irrational for a U.S. President—reducing American arms while arming groups hostile to the United States, toppling American allies while ignoring hostile foreign dictators, etc.
I personally remember a report that I saw on CBS Evening News during Obama's first term that was irrational in my viewpoint. Our ally, Israel, was contemplating a military strike against a site in Iran where the development of nuclear weapons technology was suspected to be underway. Israel had made an agreement with an Islamic nation on the other side of Iran to use an airfield where its bombers could land and refuel. The idea was that the Israeli planes would fly across Iran in one direction to carry out their mission, land on the other side of Iran to refuel, and then fly back across Iran to go home. Of course, being our ally, the Prime Minister of Israel informed President Obama of the plan ahead of time so we would not be taken by surprise. Obama, in turn, announced their plan to the world! This was supposed to be a secret, and by telling that secret, Israel was unable to go through with their military plan. Obama betrayed an American ally who was taking action against one of America's enemies. Why is it that Eric Snowden is public enemy number one for giving away state secrets, but it is okay for Obama to do the same thing?!? I have never understood this, but 2016's theory does an excellent job to explain it.
Wednesday evening came. I got off work, and we drove to West Knoxville to the theater where we would watch America. On the way over, I was thinking to myself that this movie was going to be a repeat of last night. We were expecting a first-time guest to join us for the STFK Movie Night, and I decided to be available for that person, not knowing their political views. If they became be sick or angry about the movie, I figured I could show sincere empathy because of my reaction to 2016.
From the opening scene until near the very end of the movie, I was captivated by America. The movie began by educating the audience about the arguments against our country's greatness. Then, one by one, it presented a rebuttal to each point. In each case, it was the rebuttal and not the original argument that made the most sense to me. There was this great quote by Bono (from the band U-2) that summarized the tone of the film: "it isn't a matter of right-or-left, it is a matter of right-or-wrong." Basically, the issues are important no matter what your political affiliation. I felt that the rebuttal arguments were reasonable for people of both ends of the political spectrum. These are problems not for Democrats or Republican but for all Americans.
And the solution to our problems proposed by the movie is equally non-partisan. The enemies of the United States gain power by turning Americans against one another, so the answer is reconciliation and cooperation! Being a minister of the Gospel, reconciliation is a message that has a lot of meaning for me. We are reconciled to a loving God through Jesus Christ. And Jesus' concern for Christians is that we grow into perfection with our love for God and in loving our neighbor.
This movie helped me to remember something important that perhaps I was beginning to forget. We have fought in a great number of conflicts. Many soldiers have given their lives. We have expended enormous amounts of money that our children's children will still be paying back. But as a country, we have not taken away the spoils of war. When we left Iraq, we didn't take any of their oil, even to cover our costs to rid them of a tyrannical dictator. We are leaving empty-handed from Afghanistan. And why do we do this? Because we aren't fighting for selfish gain in those places. It is a truth that we are fighting to help others as much as to make the world safer for America. In the Bible, Jesus told about the Good Samaritan who provided first aid to a robbery victim, transported him a safe place, and paid for his expenses while he recovered. The Samaritan didn't return and expect to be paid back for his deed. He even told the innkeeper that he would pay for any additional expenses the man had which were not already covered. This is what it means to be an American. It's what we do!
Not only did this movie cause me to feel a renewed and incredible sense of patriotism, but for the first time, I felt like the work we are doing with Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville is part of the solution to our nation's problems. We are working to bring a reconciliation between people of science and people of faith. We want to see our children have the best education possible. As much as we are successful in our efforts, we are helping to win the struggle for America.