Movies teach us important lessons, like "The power was in you all along" or "If you travel back in time, don't have sex with your ancestors, even if they're really hot." For the most part, we're all happy to agree that "Love conquers all" and "We're stronger together" and "Werewolves really should be allowed to play basketball." But sometimes, Hollywood tricks us into thinking that because these lessons should be true, they are true. But in reality, if a werewolf tried to play high school basketball, he'd be shot in the face by Betsy DeVos.
The most insidious of these lessons is also the most prevalent and heartwarming: The good guys win because they're good and do good things. I'm sorry to say that sometimes the good guys lose, the bad guys win, and they never get their comeuppance. Just ask the Native Americans.
Currently, Democrats are debating whether or not to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. On one hand, this is an incredibly important seat and could tip the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation. On the other, it would be pretty damn hypocritical of Democrats to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee for political reasons, since that's exactly what they criticized Republicans for doing for the last year of the Obama presidency. Is it that "All's fair in love and war" or should we, you know, stick to the Geneva Convention? (Note: The Geneva Convention only applies to the "war" part. The "love" part is still pure fucking anarchy.) The problem is that taking the high road won't stop MegaScalia 2.0 from being seated in the Supreme Court for life. "Wait," says a doe-eyed animated bunny, "Why not both? Why not take the high road AND stop this from-" Then the bunny gets eaten by a vicious owl, because this is real life and it's riddled with vicious owls.
If movies have taught us anything, it's that when faced with a difficult moral dilemma -- do you save the school bus full of orphans or save your soul by not torturing a guy -- the answer is always "Fuck you. Both!" Does Neo save Trinity or save the future of the human race? The Architect of the known world clearly lays out that it's impossible to do both. Fuck you, he does both by performing surgery with his hands and doing the machines a solid. Does Superman save Lois or save everyone on the West Coast? He physically doesn't have time to do both. Fudge you, he defies the laws of time itself to do both. Movies have taught us time and time again that everything works out in the end for the guys who stick to their principles. As though there were a free "Have your cake and eat it too" stand on the moral high road.
But movies (you may want to sit down for this one) aren't real life. On the mean streets of existence, "When they go low, we go high" is a great way to get punched in the crotch. Or eaten by vicious owls.
Obama's election caused (or, to hear the Koch Brothers tell it, just happened to coincide with) the rise of the Tea Party. The Tea Party went through several incarnations, and meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but somehow they managed to coalesce around one deep political conviction: Everything Barack Obama said was wrong. If he said "Grass is green," they said "No, it's purple," then noted that green is the unpatriotic color of Islam, and lawns should be defunded. It wasn't fair, and it had very little to do with reality, but it was damn effective. Now Obama is being the perfect picture of class, urging the world to give Donald Trump a chance. Which Trump is repaying by tearing up as many of Obama's policies as he can fit in his little hands.
Trump is even more polarizing than Obama, but elected Democrats aren't as ruthlessly efficient at stymieing his agenda. While Trump is up to his eyeballs in Emoluments Clause violations, Democrats are burying the lede by only focusing on his nominees. It's ridiculous that they aren't able to mount an effective guerrilla-style political opposition to Trump, as he seems to be serving himself up on a platter. It's not like liberal groups are always bastions of moral behavior.
In 1955, the year of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, a black woman boarded a bus and refused to go back to the blacks-only section. That woman was, of course, Claudette Colvin. Before Rosa Parks did squat, Colvin did the exact same thing and was arrested for her act of protest. But she didn't become the icon of the boycott because, as Colvin suspected, she didn't have the right "skin texture." She was also not considered "respectable" enough.
Yep, the people fighting racism were making optics decisions that would make the producers of The Great Wall blush. They picked Rosa Parks because she looked more palatable to their target audience, forced to stoop to use the same deep-seated racist bullshit as their opponents were. And it worked like the charm in Matt Damon's super white guy smile. Does this mean we have to play into racism to fight racism? Hopefully not, but keep Claudette Colvin in mind the next time someone says current protests aren't as classy now as they were in the Civil Rights Era.
It feels like the Democratic strategy is being written like a hackneyed screenplay which expects some deus ex machina to save them at the 11th hour. And unless a kindly old man gave them a mysterious locket way back at the beginning of the country, that isn't going to happen.