Last night I watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  There’s no better movie to watch on the eve of an election.  Although it’s 69 years old, the movie was years before it’s time and frighteningly relevant to the political environment we find ourselves in today.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend doing so and you may want to stop reading this post now.  I know I’m well known on this site for my partisan and conservative beliefs (thanks to Jason for pointing that out in his post yesterday), but this movie transcends partisan politics.  It doesn’t discuss, or even allude to, political parties or specific issues.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington addresses the greed and corruption of our politicians, the power of the media, and the power of a single, honest person who believes in his country.

Throughout the entire movie, I sat in my recliner thinking how wonderful it would be to be Jefferson Smith and wondered if there is anyone currently in Washington who truly appreciates their position the way he did.  He viewed this country as the greatest place in the world and had a deep understanding of and respect for our history.  Mr. Smith was an honest person who loved his country and viewed his position as US Senator as a great privilege and opportunity to serve the country he loves.  Mr. Smith was the epitome of an American Patriot.

One of my favorite quotes in the movie is when Mr. Smith talks about some advice that his father once gave him.

“He used to say to me, ‘Son, don’t miss the wonders that surround you because every tree, every rock, every anthill, every star is filled with the wonders of nature.’  And he used to say to me, ‘Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel?’  ‘Well,’ he’d say, ‘Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.’”

We forget how fortunate and privileged we are to live in a country like ours and to have the rights and freedoms that we do.  We take our freedoms for granted.

Are there any politicians in Washington who see their position as a privilege to represent their constituents rather than that of power and status?  I’d like to think so, but I think they’re few and far between.  I can’t help but wonder if a person as pure as Mr. Smith can become a politician at the national level.  We all say that we wish politicians would be more honest and say what they really think, but would we ever vote for an honest person?  For those of us who are political junkies, we probably would.  For those who don’t pay as much attention, I don’t think so.  It’s too difficult to see through the lies and smears without paying close attention and doing your own research and it’s too easy to take the media at it’s word.

Our forefathers have been tossing and turning in their graves throughout this election.  It was not about electing a President that the people think can lead this country in a positive direction.  It was not about the issues.  It was about race, gender, experience (or lack thereof), character, media, and money.  I just hope this election is not a glimpse into the future of our political process.

If Obama wins, I believe it will be because he bought the White House and the mainstream media did everything they could to protect him and manipulate the thinking of the American people, just as Mr. Taylor did in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.   I give him credit for being able to so expertly maneuver his way through our politcal system, raise truckloads of money, and garner the undying support of almost every major media outlet in the country, but that’s not what I look for in a President.  I want someone like Mr. Smith that wants the best for his country.

I voted for McCain (shocker, I know), not because of Obama’s race or Palin’s gender, but because I believe McCain may be the single closest person in Washington to Jefferson Smith’s ideals.  I certainly don’t agree with everything he says and he wasn’t my choice in the primaries, but I do believe that McCain will base his decisions on what’s best for this country as a whole, not what his party or big donors want and not what will get him elected in 2012.  I trust him.

Many people have said that this will be the end of the Republican Party.  They say that it’s time to move in a new direction.  I don’t think so.  I believe in the ideology of the Republican Party and I believe that ideology will help bring this closer to what our founding fathers wanted for this country.  I believe this country and the Republican Party are worth fighting for and that’s what I’ll be doing.

Jefferson Smith:  You think I’m licked.  You all think I’m licked.  Well, I’m not licked.  And I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause.  Even if the room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place.

I may very well wake up with a broken heart tomorrow, but I won’t give up on this country or it’s people.  I’ll leave you with one last quote from Clarissa Saunders in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  This one is from the scene where she convinces Mr. Smith to go back to the Senate floor and filibuster until people start listening to him.

Your friend Mr. Lincoln had his Taylors and Paines.  So did every other man who ever tried to lift his thought up off the ground.  Odds against ‘em didn’t stop those men.  They were fools that way.  All the good that ever came into this world came from fools with faith like that.  You know that Jeff.  You can’t quit now.  Not you!  They aren’t all Taylors and Paines in Washington.  Their kind just throw big shadows, that’s all.  You didn’t just have faith in Paine or any other living man.  You had faith in something bigger than that.  You had plain, decent, every day, common rightness.  And this country could use some of that.  Yeah – so could the whole cock-eyed world.  A lot of it.  Remember the first day you got here?  Remember what you said about Mr. Lincoln?  You said he was sitting up there waiting for someone to come along.  You were right!  He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it.  That’s what he was waiting for.  A man who could tear into the Taylors and root ‘em out into the open.  I think he was waiting for you Jeff.  He knows you can do it and so can I.

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