One of my favorite movies of all time is called Armageddon. It’s a Bruce Willis end-of-the-world flick. The movie begins with NASA discovering that a global killing asteroid is on a direct path to Earth and they have fewer than 20 days before it will hit. It turns out, the decision makers – government and science experts – decide to send two teams on a space mission to drill into the asteroid’s core, plant nuclear charges, and blow the thing up. The people they choose to accomplish this are a rag-tag group of oil field drillers. The movie stage is set, then, for conflict between the smart, political know it alls and the greasy handed, blue collar oil drillers. There are lots of reasons I like this movie, but at least part of it is that the heroes of the horror aren’t really hero material. The government decision makers are, for the most part, bureaucrats that are used to sitting in cubicles making team decisions in think tanks insulated by their group approach from having or taking any real personal responsibility. The drillers, on the other hand, are common, rough, every-day, real. They are used to using their muscles and quick wits to do the one thing they know and understand. They aren’t cocky, they aren’t powerful even in their own eyes. They know one thing, they do their best at it, and they sleep well at night (well, they did at least before the asteroid was threatening all humanity!) As the story unfolds, the approach and expectations of both groups and each individual color the choices they make. In the end, though, they let go of personal judgements and work together to save the world.
Mostly, I am not interested in making this blog a forum for my own political views. I do have some strong feelings about politics, but I am satisfied making my opinions known on a secret ballot at the polls and then mostly rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and thinking about other things. But. I’m sure that I’m not the only one right now who is completely weary with the hatred and anger, finger-pointing and lack of personal responsibility on ALL sides of the great political divide in America.
I am a patriot to the core, and our Founding Fathers rate among my very most admired people, and I’m so disappointed in how much meanness and finger pointing there is right now in our country. Instead of shrugging that the candidate some liked wasn’t elected then going on with the business of working to unite and find common ground, our country is locked into a continued election fight. People didn’t get their way. I understand. But holding on to that disappointment is so counterproductive. We are killing our country in favor of unrestrained anger and childish foot-stomping. Instead of rolling up our sleeves and going to work to fix the issues we face, our leaders are embracing dysfunction, grandstanding and spreading their own tiny agendas as opposed to thinking about fixing the whole.
So, now we know why I like Armageddon and many of a whole genre of end-of-the world stories. I like to be reminded that in some alternate universe it is possible for people to put aside their personal agendas in favor of moving forward for the common good.