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August 30, 2012

Truth in Films Is Where You Find It

Patricia A. Kelly

This past week, two controversial movies entered the Frederick consciousness, both of which were well attended.


The first, “They Come to America,” was hosted at Frederick Community College by County Commissioners’ President Blaine Young and Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. Extra entertainment was provided by protestors, both outside and inside the theater.


The producer and creator of “They Come to America,” Michael David Lynch, made the movie in response to a conversation he had with a man he passed on a street near his home, a man who turned out to be an unemployed construction contractor carrying a sign suggesting that we send illegal immigrants home. Across the street from him stood a large group of expatriate workers. The man told Mr. Lynch that he had been ignored by immigration authorities, banned from both the 7-Eleven and McDonalds near his corner, and that he had been shot.


The result was a very moving and passionate story made by a man who had no opinion on the subject at the beginning. He traveled the country filming interviews with everyone from immigrants to unemployed Americans to an immigration lawyer. He filmed the border. He hired some illegal immigrants, and even attempted to help find a good home for one illegal family.


Mr. Lynch spoke at the showing. He appeared compassionate and sincere. He denied prejudice. He defined himself as someone who never quits, and promised to keep this story going all over America, and not give up until our government creates immigration reform. I guess he had an opinion by the end of the film.


The second movie, “Obama’s America: 2016,” had regular showings last Friday and Saturday at the Westview Theaters. The price and the previews were normal, but the film was not listed, either on the marquee or on the theater schedule. At the 4:40 afternoon showing last Friday, there were 4 empty seats in the theater. The 7:30 show sold out. Very weird….


This film, written and narrated by an India immigrant and produced by the producer of Schindler‘s List, who admits to being politically conservative, is an attempt to analyze what has shaped President Barack Obama, as well as to expose his true beliefs and goals for this country.


Narration, autobiography excerpts, interviews with acquaintances, psychologists, and political analysts, along with clips of speeches by the president and others are used to tell the story. It’s gripping, brash and surprising at times. In an interview excerpt, with Jeremiah Wright, President Obama’s controversial pastor of many years, the Reverend Wright said that the last thing President Obama said to him in their last meeting was that Reverend Wright’s problem is that he always has to tell the truth.


I attempted to converse with two people about these films, neither of whom share my generally conservative political views, just to share the content with them. What resulted was passionate diatribe from each, telling me what the movies were about and what was wrong with them. When I tried to keep the conversation objective, I couldn’t get a word in. This does not mean that I was being objective and not heard, just that I felt as if we were speaking in different languages to each other.


We all look at the world through filters. How we were raised, our opinions of ourselves, our religious background, and many other things influence our views. It’s like, according to Landmark Education, an international coaching organization, we’re wearing glasses with colored lenses. The trouble with it is that, after awhile, we forget that we are wearing these pink lenses, and just begin to think the world is pink.


This is why we can’t have discussions about politics or religion at Sunday dinner. Our preconceptions keep us from even hearing what others are saying. We become riled up, attribute opinion or motive to those speaking, and respond – not to what is being said – but to what we are making up. We can‘t even hear clearly through the red clouds of our passion, not to mention the possibility of actually being moved from our opinions by what is said.


It’s important to be able to detach ourselves from our preconceived views and really hear others. As long as we project our pink-tinged views onto their thoughts or actions, we’ll never be able to have real conversations. If we can’t have real conversations, and actually consider what others are saying, we’ll never come to the agreement necessary to run the world, or even the United States of America.


The movies were interesting – and fine. They could have been prejudicial propaganda, as some have suggested, or they could have been exposing the truth. I’ll leave that to you. I recommend them both, if you have a chance to see them.


They were every bit as worthwhile as anything done by Michael Moore.


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