When asked to name my favorite movies, I have a handful of titles I normally toss into the ring.
These titles are not what most people expect. I don’t name “Lord of the Rings,” “Batman,” “Star Wars,” or some other big blockbuster with special effects. No, my titles are simple, with editing and footage that seem old-fashioned in light of modern filmmaking.
But while these films are simple in special effects, they are rich in storytelling, depth, and truth. They possess heart and character, creating a stirring of the soul for those who will take the time to watch them.
One of these is Frank Capra’s 1939 film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
For those unfamiliar with the story, Jefferson Smith is a wide-eyed, American patriot who unexpectedly lands a Senate seat by appointment. He becomes the object of a brutal framing when he stumbles upon corruption in the Senate and attempts to expose it. Refusing to go down without a fight, Mr. Smith filibusters on the Senate floor while a few of his allies try to get his message out to the American public. Mr. Smith’s story ends well, but not before the valiant grassroots efforts of average Americans are squelched by the corrupt and powerful individuals who control the media.
I thought of Mr. Smith the other day after recent efforts by the media to squelch the story about Hunter Biden, his laptop, and the damning evidence it contained. Social media platforms like Twitter initially tried to suppress the story, while media moguls like NPR dismissed the story as a waste of time:
In the currently unfolding scenario, Twitter and media outlets like NPR nicely assume the role of Mr. Smith’s antagonist, James Taylor – party boss, media magnate, and the stereotypical thug community organizer – who does his best to spin the story his way. When the real story leaks out anyway, he unleashes his thugs to crush those from Middle America who are trying to speak the truth. The scene is disturbing, with children being hurt while truly peaceful public demonstrations are met with suppression.
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is roughly 80 years old, but as I thought about the story, I realized that the issues it deals with are the same ones we’re dealing with today. How many of our government officials are corrupt, advancing their own interests and lining their own pockets instead of advancing the freedom of the American people? How many of them ignore our founding documents and principles, preferring instead to condemn those who agonized over how to best establish a solid government? How many of them keep the media in their back pockets, only allowing out information which fits their preferred narratives?
The problem is, the majority of the American public still thinks like Senator Jeff Smith. Unlike the government elites whom Smith takes on, the average American still believes in things like God, country, family, community, and wholesome living. And as Senator Smith reminds us, those things are still worth fighting for:
Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. But you won’t just see scenery. You’ll see the whole parade of what man’s carved out for himself after centuries of fighting – and fighting for something better than just jungle law. Fighting so as he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. … There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. … And it’s not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors or you or me or anything else.
Americans need this message today. Many are demoralized, overwhelmed by the forces which seem to be destroying the country they have known and loved. The odds are certainly difficult, and like Mr. Smith, the average American feels he is alone in his fight, but the reality is that there are thousands upon thousands in this country who still hold to common sense and have not caved to the cultural madness that the elites in government, the media, and ivory towers advance.
Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.