05 July 2004

More Independence

For those of you who didn't get enough Declaration of Independence action yesterday, Xnoubis points out a cool video of Hollywood actors reading the Declaration of Independence from the Declare Yourself "hip celebrities 4 democracy" website.

Morgan Freeman delivers the goods in the introduction, proving once again that the presidency is his for the taking if he ever decides he wants it. “Scholars believe Jefferson intended for the Declaration to be performed, and not just read. ... It's a safe bet the Continental Congress never had in mind a performer like me.”

And forgive me using this opportunity to rant, but this reminds me of something that really bugs me. There's a wingnut meme that the left is uncomfortable with patriotism. It's just not true. What bothers lefties like me is “patriotism” of the creepy “my tribe can beat up your tribe” variety. But when it comes to the iconography, legends, and ideas of America, the left's patriotism is strong. Check out that video: you want to make a little movie about the Declaration, and Whoopi Goldberg shows up.

My personal example is The West Wing on TV, a romantic lefty fantasy of working in government. First there's all of the God Bless America stuff in the show itself: the parade of Immigrants With A Dream, of Ordinary Americans whose Heroism Shines Through, of Public Servants who take their Obligations to the American People Very Seriously. But more symbolically, there's the opening credits to the show. Okay, a third of it is the usual hero shots of the cast adorably looking into the middle distance. But the other two thirds? There's black and white pictures of presidential iconography: the oval office, motorcades, and the Presidential helicopter Marine One. And there's American flags waving in the background, and plenty of 'em.

I have them on DVD now, and I watch the credits every time because I love that stuff. I'm not proud of it—it's silly and shmaltzy and I feel a little silly doing it—but I'm not ashamed, either.

No comments: