"The price of freedom is high... and it's a price I'm willing to pay! You told me not trust anyone and this is how it ends: EVERYTHING goes!"--Steve Rogers, Captain America
I hate going to the movies. Seriously, it makes me feel like a hypocrite. I rant against everything the liberal Hollywood establishment represents and I know that the cash generated at the box office is lining the pockets of misguided movie stars/producers/directors who will, in turn, contribute huge amounts of money to left-leaning, progressive political candidates. I know, I am insane and I need to get a life and let entertainment be just that: entertainment. But it's hard for me. However, my sweet husband LOVES going to the movies...he loves the popcorn, the enormous drinks and the cinematic experience of big screens, surround sound and stadium seating. So, as a way of honoring and loving him, I agree to watch about one movie per year. I know, sacrificial is my middle name.
This last weekend I had one of those sacrificial moments. With grandparents loving on our babies and most of our chores finished, I agreed to bite the bullet and go watch "Captain America: The Winter Soldier".
It. Was. GREAT!
The premise of the movie is fascinating: The design, construction and deployment of three gigantic, self-sustaining, armed gun-airships into the atmosphere that will carry out targeted assassinations on individuals deemed a threat to global security and international peace. Don't you just love the imagination of people?! The movie is saturated with espionage and governmental corruption. We fall in love with cryogenically frozen super-soldiers, both the good and the bad, and modern day heroes battling PTSD. We see that piracy and treason are not easily explained and that even the most brilliant strategies have an Achilles heel. The story, spanning from World War I to present day is brought together by a genius, rogue, mad-scientist Nazi brain preserved on reels and reels and reels of film. We see strong bonds between the characters, explanations of mistrust and a story of a life-long friendship tested by the evil that exists in mankind. There is also a red-headed, never-want-to-mess-with-her, very pretty example of Soviet redemption.
However, audiences were hopefully troubled by the idea that politicians and bureaucrats charged with being good stewards of the power, money and authority we have bestowed upon them, were actively planning mass assassinations, under the guise of "the greater good". What was it Mr. Redford? The elimination of 20 million people to secure the remaining 7 billion. Yeah, something like that. How far-fetched is the notion that power-hungry, self-serving senators, congressmen and other trusted leaders could be brainwashed or convinced or simply willing to accept that the Machiavellian tactics of "the means justify the ends" are acceptable, necessary and okay? Wouldn't it be something if the resurgence of a desire for a new world order took hold in the minds of some of the world's most powerful people? Kinda spooky, kinda scary, huh?
When my husband and I were discussing the movie as we made our way to the car, I told him that I thought I would have been a target. He looked at me and surprisingly, agreed. And in that split second of fictional consideration, I wasn't frightened at losing my life, I was humbled that my sweet husband agreed. You see, I don't want to live in a world controlled by people controlling me. I won't kneel to a dictator or bow to an earthly king. I am unwilling to trade in my freedoms and liberties for a temporary, flawed guarantee of security. I would rather die free than live enslaved. I would rather be shot in the head by an out-of-control government than subjugated by their bureaucratic minions.
Thankfully, it was JUST a movie. Right?
The HYDRA algorithm, which serves as the 'selector' of the would-be-assassinated individuals, is based on behaviors of the people--their birth order, their performance in school, their SAT scores, their athletic ability, their social media behavior, their professions, etc. The era of 'Digital Everything' made it simple for these murderous traitors to collect, compile and share information on everyone, everywhere. All the data the enemy needed was literally a mouse click away. Out-spoken, achieved and ambitious individuals essentially authored their own obituaries. Their talents, their dissent, their potential future behavior placed a blazing target on their backs. In the film, human indifference and over exposure accelerated our demise. Does any of this sound crazy familiar and a little bit eerie? Just wondering...
But, thank goodness for Captain America's skills and the split second hesitation of the terribly misused and abused Winter Soldier.
In true comic book form, there is a really cool, really good-looking, really lovable hero. He is wholesome and unwilling to compromise. He is from a different time, a different generation, a greater, often times more noble generation. He is from a time when people sacrificed, served and were defined by their honor, not their pocket books. He was a kid who beat the odds and with a little help from science and the American military, became a heroic symbol of freedom, liberty and of course, America. While the true enemy in the film is the rogue government and Robert Redford's character, the Winter Soldier or 'Bucky' is the "ghost assassin". He is the most heartbreaking character in the film. He is the perfect illustration of what happens when goodness and independence are killed and replaced with mindless servitude. He is an example of what justice would look like in the 'controlled, peaceful world' the enemy seeks to create. Yes, there was lots of fighting, crashing (in the Potomac, no less), and blowing up some really expensive stuff up. But seriously, if you can get past the special effects and the physical magnificence of Captain America and Scarlett Johansson, it is a very thought provoking film.
So, I leave you with this: If this movie were real life and not the amazing product of comic book imagination, would you have a target on your back? And if so, why? All sorts of people would be targeted for all sorts of reasons. Some seemingly very good reasons for targeted assassinations (terrorists, mass murderers, serial killers, etc), while others, very bad causation (peaceful but loud dissenters, strong personalities, physically impressive, etc). For me, I know why an out-of-control government would want to shut me up. What about you?