Good movies really get me thinking sometimes

Last night after dinner and some drinks at Coronas for Mexican Monday I went back to the house and put on one of my favorite movies of all time, Little Big Man starring Dustin Hoffman.  I’m not really sure how many times I’ve seen the movie but it is quite a few.  I was first introduced to the film (which came out in 1970 quite awhile before I was born) when I was pretty young.  It has long been a favorite film of my fathers.  I don’t really want to give away any of the plot for those who haven’t seen it but I will describe it as kind of like Forrest Gump only set in the old west.  Hoffman’s character is raised by Native Americans and ends up meeting all sorts of famous people and having a whole bunch of adventures.  One of the things about this movie is how it was one of the first big films in Hollywood to address the Native Americans not as savage bad guys but as victims in the history of the American West.  watching the movie always stirs some deep emotions for me on the matter of American history.

I’m proud to be an American but that doesn’t always mean I’m proud of what America does or has done.  This country gives people a lot of opportunities and I don’t think I could have grown up in a much better place but that doesn’t mean that the USA is perfect and to think that it is, blindly, is very foolish and dangerous.  A lot of great things have come out of the history of this nation; inventions, art, literature, scientific discoveries, great ideas of philosophy and religion and government.  In a comparatively short history The United States of America has accomplished some spectacular things that we have every reason to be proud of, but at the same time there have been some very dark periods in this country.  Two of the big ones that should always come to mind are Slavery and the Genocide of the Native Americans (and yes I will call it a genocide whether others want to see it that way or not).  Yes these events are mostly in the past, and we did free the slaves, and did away with separate but equal and returned some land to the Native American but that doesn’t change the fact that horrible things were done.  A big part of history is remembering the past for what it was, not just the good things, but the bad things as well, so that we may in turn learn from the past.  For a country that has had such greatness I am sad for our faults but I am not willing to ignore them, the affirmation is half the battle in making sure we do not repeat ourselves.  

I think it is important to have pride in ones nation for if you cannot be proud of the nation that you are a part of then what in fact are you a part of at all?  but I think that we have to be ever so cautious with this pride because too much can blind us to the reality around us.  When we first went to Iraq in 2003 to get rid of Saddam and find the WMDs I was quite critical and against the war, and I still am very much so today, but I was incredibly hurt when I heard people saying that protesting the war was un-American and not supporting out troops.  One of the biggest reasons I am still against our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is because I hate hearing of all the American soldiers who are getting killed, I want to support our troops by not putting them in a situation where they will end up dead.  And to say that voicing ones opinions is un-American is terribly upsetting.  The first amendment in our bill of rights protects what I see as our greatest freedom, that of free speech.  For our democracy to work we need to have differing opinions, for our democracy to work we have to be willing to criticize the choices that are made.  If we cannot ask if a decision that our government has made is right or wrong then we have given up any notion of freedom we may have ever thought we had.  Following ones country is an admirable thing when it is deserved, but following ones country blindly without regards to the consequences of the nation’s decisions is to give up our freedom and to bow to tyranny.

Be proud to be an American, please please be proud because to be an American means that many of us have it so much better than the rest of the world, but do not let your pride of being an American make you think that America is without it’s faults, instead use your pride to find where those faults lie and work to see them done away with. 

~ by Nathaniel on November 20, 2007.

One Response to “Good movies really get me thinking sometimes”

  1. your right about that. I may not be an American but I really agree with you. Do you know what other people outside america thinks of americans?

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