Sunday, December 28, 2008

On Freedom

I swear my brain shuts down halfway while I'm home visiting the parents. At least halfway.

Did I mention I watch a lot of movies when I'm here?

Anyway, I just finished watching the movie "Shooter." In a really small nutshell, "Shooter" is an action/suspense movie about an American ex-military sniper fighting against corrupt government officials, including a U.S. senator, who do a lot of bad things to foreign countries in the name of oil and money. I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed it (I also happen to be a Mark Wahlberg fan - he will always be "Marky-Mark" to me).*

And by no means was this movie anything other than a big-budget Hollywood action movie. With themes on government corruption and the U.S. thirst for oil. In a big-budget Hollywood action movie.

And - sure - it wasn't done extraordinarily well. It didn't point the finger at any real-life folks. But it asked questions (and gave its own negative answers) about U.S. foreign policy. In a big-budget Hollywood action movie. Hell - it even mentioned Abu Ghraib (and a very direct condemnation of how that all played out). In a big-budget Hollywood action movie.

And that's kind of amazing. In spite of all that's wrong with this country, all the questionable actions of our government, and what we do to other countries and governments - this movie was made. Made, and put on the big-screen in every major city in America. Made available on DVD to any American citizen (as well as foreign citizens) who want to pay to watch it. And nobody was arrested for that. Nobody was threatened, the film wasn't stopped. Nobody labels the director, writer, or producer a "dissident." In fact, nothing was said in the movie that doesn't seem even somewhat cliche because it's been said so often publicly in recent years.

And that's something I am very thankful for. I can complain and call out "the System" for all that's wrong with it. I can have a publicly-read blog challenging the history lessons we are fed in the classroom (inspired by other books that touch on similar topics), and I am not harassed, arrested, or threatened by my government (maybe I'm on some sort of "watch list," but I'll take what I can get).

And there are so many places where that is not possible. Places where finding the information that I disseminate in my own rants would be virtually impossible. There are plenty of places (and, perhaps, one of those places is the past for this country), where doing what I would do would mark me as a "revolutionary" or a "national threat." But here? Now? I'm just one more random U.S. citizen with a blog talking about race and the institutional racism that's part of our current system. And that banality is something that I will do my best to never forget.

While I continue to point out the flaws in the system.

* "Can you feel it baby? I can, too . . . Vibrations good like Sunkist, makes me wanna know who done this?"


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