Friday, March 08, 2013

Explaining the Tea Party


The media elite see the Tea Party movement through the distorted prism of their own bias. They make no attempt to view it through the eyes of Tea Partiers themselves. Yet the movement is easily explained by the world that many of us were born into—the mythology of America, and of the settling of America. By myth, I mean a blend of fact and fiction.

Never was the myth better depicted than in a movie released fifty years ago: “How the West Was Won.” Here’s an interesting Youtube compression of highlights accompanied by the film’s classic Alfred Newman score:

That’s the great western movie actress Carroll Baker shown in the above shot. She also appeared in “Giant” and “The Big Country.”

What does the movie celebrate? A world that some Americans, like the Palins in Alaska, in many ways are still living. The taming of a wilderness and the settling of a continent. The westward expansion was one of the greatest feats in human history. That a tough land was settled and quickly became the greatest civilization the world has known should give any objective observer pause. Other civilizations like China or Rome had much longer histories before they reached greatness. America, like it or not, is unique. There’s enough accomplishment to be proud of, faults, flaws and all. Humans are imperfect animals. The struggle, the achievement itself is laudable.


(Here's a fascinating blog post about the John Ford portion of the film: )

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