Showing posts with label Amazing Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amazing Grace. Show all posts

Monday, March 05, 2007

"Amazing Grace" Political Junkie's Delight

The new movie about English Member of Parliament William Wilberforce and his successful multi- decade crusade to abolish slavery has been sold as a religious movie.

Sure, there is a religious motivation, but it is so, so much more.

As soon as the first state legislator sees it and explains how it involves political intrigue, backroom meetings, vote counting, etc., the rest will want to see it.

I figure it’s the same with any group of political mavens.

It won’t be as easy for state reps. And senators as during the 1970’s. Then Kerasotes Theaters did its part in keeping legislators out of trouble at night be giving them all free movie passes. At that time, all but one theater in town was owned by the family firm.

That tradition had died by the 1990’s, but, even though going to the movies is no longer free for legislators, I’d strongly recommend they see this film.

I have heard the movie denigrated as an English period costume piece.

What a shallow description!

The Friday before last, the Tribune featured “Astronaut Farmer” on the front page of its Temp section. My son, a friend and I went to see it. Pretty wholesome. Definitely family fare.

But is does not begin to compare with “Amazing Grace.”

Think of 20-somethings taking control of the Illinois General Assembly. 24 is the age of William Pitt when he became prime minister with his college classmate Wilberforce’s help.

Thing of playing cards, drinking and smoking cigars in a back room. (Is there still a room in Capitol basement dedicated to gin rummy when the House is boring? Do lobbyists still deliberately lose to gain members’ favor?)

Think of bald-faced political intimidation. (Now which legislative leader would attempt that today?)

Does anyone get away with half double-crossing his party leader after receiving such a threat in Illinois? One did in Parliament.

Think of legislation that doesn’t look like much, but is really significant to one’s cause. (Can anyone offer up a modern example?)

Think of being bought by big money.

Think of a grass roots campaign to offset big money’s interests, including a boycott of a product that offends.

Think of how legislators try to put a face on their pet issues. Wilberforce put a smell on his issue.

Think of legislators being lured out of the capitol so that the other side will be short of votes with the cooperation of the party leader.

Think of legislators who crusade their entire careers for an issue.

That’s a modern William Wilberforce.

It doesn’t matter what the cause.

He was a liberal’s liberal of his time. Some of his supporters were called Jacobins.

Those who carry torches for more than their paycheck, prestige and power will understand this film.

So will those whose only goal is money, power and prestige.

= = = = =
And, if you are looking for a book that could be read in short snatches, perfect for House floor debate or a swim meet, I’d recommend Virginia Baker’ “Jack Knife.” Working off the 100 year old story of Jack, the Ripper, Baker combines time travel, reversing the attempt of an unauthorized time traveler, now, London newspaper mogul, to take over the English government. Again, made to order for one interested in politics. $4.18 at Sam’s Club.

Always more at McHenry County Blog.

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