Lincoln

“The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.” Abraham Lincoln

The music was playing yet it seemed as if the theater was totally quiet.  The movie had ended and the credits were rolling on

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States

the screen yet no one spoke, no one moved, no one got up to leave – everyone sat silently staring at the screen, not even turning to look at whoever they had come to the movie with.  Finally, as the credits began to end, one by one people began to get up from their seats and head for the theater lobby, again in total silence.  I turned and looked at my wife and she was in tears and I understood instantly what impact this film had had on her.  For myself I was angry, very angry.

The movie? “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg.

This film will certainly join “Schiendler’s List,” the other great Spielberg film, as one of the best motion pictures of all time.  It is a powerful piece of cinematic story telling and I’m sure the quality of the experience had something to do with the audience’s reaction.  However, my belief is that what stunned the audience was the contrast between real, principled presidential leadership with the lack thereof from the current occupant of the Oval Office, and for that matter most of the recent occupants.

“Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.” Abraham Lincoln

In this portrayal of only a small portion of Lincoln’s tenure as President, Spielberg artfully and with great emotion presents a profile in courage, leadership and values of arguably one of our greatest Presidents.  Lincoln remained focused on restoring the union and fulfilling the promise made with the Constitution to provide equality for all people regardless of race.  He accomplished both by facing the problem and the opponents head-on and always from a place rooted in faith in God and universal principles of right and wrong. He wasn’t trying to transform America, he was trying to restore America.

What we saw from the brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis was an authentic, heroic President that inspired and empowered the people.  This man, Abraham Lincoln, was tuff, sensitive, caring, wise, powerful and smart – he was an authentic man who knew what he had to do even when no one agreed with him.  Did he have shortcomings, certainly and these are woven into the story and the performance.  But above all he was a man for the time. A man for all times.

The movie inspired me to reacquaint myself with Abraham Lincoln, to learn who he was and how he became the President.  I downloaded and listened to a historical podcast by Michael Medved, “The Real Lincoln.”  What amazed me was how incongruous it was for Mr. Lincoln to have been elected President.  Mr. Lincoln was a “common man” and as it turns out that is exactly what was needed at that time in the history of our country.  He was a man of courage and purpose and not your typical politician. His goal was to serve the people and to empower them to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens.

Lincoln“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Abraham Lincoln

It was this stark contrast between the authentic leadership of Lincoln with the current crop of self-centered, power hungry politicians that brought the tears to my wife’s eyes and the anger to my heart.  How could we let this happen? To trade our liberty for token bits of security from Mother Government?  Why has the country, the majority of citizens turned away from the ideals of the Founding Fathers and now look to the government to take care of them?   Lincoln fought heavy odds to preserve and strengthen the principles of personal liberty and responsibility, in contrast Obama, the Democrats and most of the Republicans (especially the career politicians) want to impose their ideology and their all-powerful central planning vision on us.

Sitting in that auditorium drinking in the power of the film I felt the anger boil up.  The anger that my fellow citizens have fallen so far from what I judge to be the best governing structure ever created by man, the United States Constitution!

Go see this movie, own this movie, make sure your children and grandchildren watch this movie.  I know it’s hard but we must stand up as Lincoln did and do the right thing, to restore liberty, to reclaim the Power for the People.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” Abraham Lincoln

Fathers Need to Fight For Their Children!

Rock-em, Sock-em, Biff, Boo, Pow!

What a fight we’ve witnessed here tonight.  A classic, a contest for the ages, the battle between the world champion and an unknown, under-rated contender.  The classic David and Goliath battle.

No this wasn’t a classic Gillette Friday Night Fights on the snowy black and white TV in the 50’s; it wasn’t Ali/ Fraser – the Thrilla in Manilla; it wasn’t Rocky.  It was Atom versus Zeus in the World Robot Boxing championship.  This is the climax of a very good movie, “Real Steel” starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) and produced by Steven Spielberg.

What?

“Real Steel” is an entertaining, exciting and creative film that would be worth the price of admission just for the “transformer-like” thrills.  But that’s not why I strongly encourage everyone to go experience this movie and that’s why this isn’t merely a movie review.

“I want you to fight for me!” was the plea of the 11-year old boy (Dakota Goyo) to his estranged father (Hugh Jackman) when his father asked what the boy wanted from him. The truth spoken powerfully by a child! Do we all have ears to hear?  This request, this demand by the boy comes at a time in the movie when the father is giving up.  He’s started to build a bond with his son after 11-years of abandonment and the father still can’t face the ultimate responsibility of loving the boy so he’s giving him up to his aunt (His mother has recently been killed in an automobile accident).

One of my favorite authors, Stu Weber points out, that fathers need to be fathers and they need to stop making their children responsible for the relationship (I need to reread “Linking Arms” and “Tender Warrior” to find the exact quote).  In “Real Steel” the boy is doing all the work while the father continues to let his dysfunctions and his own negative self-image control his behavior, especially with his son.  This is just wrong, yet so typical, unfortunately.

Men, we need to fight for our children.  We need to be authentic and we need to take responsibility for our actions in the world, especially when we co-create  a new human being!  I don’t know if this was what the producers of this movie were intending but it certainly is the message that comes through to me.  Too often men plant their “seed” and are never heard from again; they don’t participate in the support and care of their children; they don’t pay their child support; they abuse their children;  or they abandon their children either physically or emotionally.  Look at the problems in the minority communities, especially the communities of African decent.  The absence of fathers is epidemic.  What chance do the fatherless children have?  Sure, some will be lucky, but most will end up in prison or dead because they don’t have strong men in their lives, they don’t have fathers to fight for them.

I relate to how the boy in the film feels because I was abandoned by my father.  I know first hand what it’s like not to have a father around as I struggled with the issues of growing up.  It was the memory of this pain that defined my actions as the father of my own children.  I worked hard to be there for my two beautiful daughters and when times were the most challenging it was the awareness of the needs of those girls that kept me focused on the bigger picture, kept me fighting for them.

I wasn’t perfect at being the father I wanted to be for my children. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was 10-years old that I first became aware of my own “junk” and started to transform my life and behavior.  This transformation continues today and I know that my imperfection has harmed my children and step-children and I regret every time this has happened.  However, through it all I continue to do everything I can to help and protect my children, and I always will…I’ll continue to fight for my children!

 Ephesians 6: 4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; bring them up in the training and the instruction of the Lord.


The Undefeated

Sarah Palin.

They say that when you write you need to have your first sentence provoke a strong reaction from the reader.  You want to grab their attention so they continue to read your piece.  Well I’m certain that starting off with “Sarah Palin” prompted a strong reaction in most readers, just not sure they’ll do any more than hit the delete key!

What I’d like for you to gain from this movie review, and why I’d encourage you to put aside your prejudices about Mrs. Palin and watch the film, is an awareness of the radical, uninformed and unaccountable thirst for character assassination in this country.  I ask that you watch the new documentary, “The Undefeated” by Stephen K. Bannon, not to change your mind about Sara Palin, no I’m interested in changing your thinking about how this society attacks people without facts or substance.

I’d like to know how anyone could watch the first five minutes of this documentary and not come away with anything other than a total disgust for the media and the uninformed who will say anything they want regardless of the truth or the impact.  Regardless of how much you might disagree with the policies and political positions of Mrs. Palin there is absolutely no justification for the vile and reprehensible attacks that have been made against her and continue to be projected on her today.

This is the brilliance of this film as it contrasts the vicious attacks made against Mrs. Palin and her family with the political life, a life dedicated to successfully fighting crony capitalism and unethical government practices.  A focused and intentional effort to help the citizens of Alaska played against the backdrop of hysterical character assassination.

Sure this is a biased film, what film isn’t?  However, the creator doesn’t shy away from the criticisms of Mrs. Palin and clearly presents her unvarnished reasons for doing what she did (resigning her governorship for example).

I strongly urge you to watch “The Undefeated.”  It is a well done and enlightening look into the world of big time politics and what the consequences are if a good person decides to play in that arena.  Aside from once again being moved by the spirit, faith, character and courage of this remarkable woman I was left with the disturbing realization that the public journey to elected office, especially at the national level, is too dangerous and too vicious for many good citizens to undertake.  And the entire country, Left, Right and Center, is worse off because we don’t have these good people representing us.