November 03, 2006

Inaugurate Yourself

From the moment I sat down in the movie theatre last night, I knew I'd have to write something today.

And by the time the movie ended, when I was literally wiping tears from my eyes, I was worried that there was no way I could possibly convey all that I wanted to say surrounding this film in a blog post.

So, let's just start with the obvious:

Last night, I saw a screening of Emilio Estevez's new film, "Bobby", about the day in 1968 when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel just after winning the California Democratic Primary for that year's presidential election.

I very rarely make Oscar predictions, but, this time, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this movie will win Best Picture next February.

It's that good.

And not because Emilio Estevez is a particularly exceptional screenwriter or film director. His visual style borrows alot from Oliver Stone's "JFK" and "Nixon", and the multi-character storytelling that seems to be in vogue this year (even yours truly is getting in on the act on that one) is not especially remarkable.

It's not even because it has the most insanely all-star cast I've seen in years:

Harry Belafonte, Anthony Hopkins, Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt, Christian Slater, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Demi Moore, Aston Kutcher, Nick Cannon, Joy Bryant, Josh Jackson, Freddy Rodriguez, Laurence Fishburne, David Krumholtz, Sharon Stone, Lindsey Lohan, Elijah Woods

And I hear the budget of the film was only $10 million.

Just so you can understand how much of a big deal that is, Lindsey Lohan got paid $7.5 million to star in "Just My Luck" earlier this year. All of these actors took a serious pay cut to do this film.

"So", you may ask,"What is the big deal about this movie?"

As many of you know, I literally had a real political "Come-to-Jesus" moment during the 2004 election. And I wrote about it the very next day, in a post called "The Sun WILL Rise".

In that post, I talked about how that election was really a referendum on fear, and that fear won in a landslide.

I made a decision that day, that I would no longer vote for fear.

Which means that I no longer vote for the lesser of two evils. I no longer vote against someone or some policy or to send a message.

Instead, from now on, I will vote for what I truly desire.

From now on, I will vote with courage. And with faith. And with hope.

So, as you can see from my previous post about the California Democratic Party, I will NOT be voting for either Arnold Schwartzenegger OR Phil Angelides. Because neither of them represent the kind of leadership, or, quite frankly, the kind of California that I choose to live in.

Now, since there are more than a few people like me out there, who have not been pursuaded by Mr. Angelides, it will probably mean that Arnold will get re-elected. And that makes me sad.

But, the fact of the matter is, I know that I have the ultimate power over my life and the circumstances surrounding it. Arnold being governor may present me with new challenges, but they are all within my power to surmount.

And that's not because I have such-and-such a job, or because I know this or that person, or because I have a couple of degrees from so-and-so university.

One of my favorite Bible passages is where someone asks Jesus why he and his disciplines eat with so-called "unclean" hands. And Jesus replies:
"Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body...What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"
I don't fear Arnold because there is, truly, nothing Arnold can do to me that I don't first do to myself.

Just like I don't fear George Bush.

Or Al Qaeda.

I don't fear them because I am eternal.

In the cosmic, Biblical, spiritual, esoteric sense of the word.

Certainly, I can bleed. My bones can break, just like my heart. My body can be killed.

But all of those things are, in the end, not me.

I am something More.

And, as such, I choose to live my life as More.

To have More. To be More.

So everything I do must be More.

And so, I cannot vote for these candidates who are on the ballot for Governor next Tuesday, because they are not More.

And, since I am, they cannot possibly represent me.

There have been those in the past who were More.

Kurt Schmoke, the old mayor of my home town of Baltimore, was More.

Some of Howard Dean was More. Some, but not all - he caught the tail of it, and I love what he stands for, but he's still, at a level, playing the other game. Because when you exist only in opposition, you exist in a state of lack. In many ways, I think Dean will be seen by historians as the political equivalent of a progressive John the Baptist. But I've said plenty about him.

And, of course, Bill Clinton.

After all, he was, is, and continues to be, "The Man From A Place Called 'Hope'". And what is Hope but the faith in More than what is before you today?

And I'm beginning to suspect that Barack Obama is More. Because, like the title of his book implies, hope is a courageous exercise, and to even suggest that that could be the cornerstone of a campaign in the age of Karl Rove, demonstrates, at least, in my mind, how much More he may be.

And More is like porn.

People know it when they see it, and once you've seen it, sometimes, you can never get enough of it.

Which is why Obama is selling out crowds all over the country, and he isn't even running yet.

And, in all honesty, I think the last person on a national scene who was truly MORE was Bobby Kennedy.

I have a friend who told me she saw RFK speak at a rally in New Orleans back in '68. She said the only way to describe the energy in the room was "sexual".

Now, some people think that's a dirty word. But I see it another way. Because that which is sexual is that which creates life.

It's that creative spark that reaches down and touches something deep in your soul.

Your greatest lover.

Kennedy, for all of the things he was - a child of priviledge, a lieutenant of McCarthy's during the commie witch hunts, a fairly cut-throat Attorney General, a carpetbagger - all of that was transcended by the energy of the moment of America at that time, for which he was the ultimate, perfect vessel.

A vessel of hope.

That was shattered.

And when that moment, the assassination, comes in the film, and I see the characters weep for all that seemingly is lost in that instant, I suddenly found myself in tuned with MY America, today, and all that has seemingly been lost in the last six years.

And, when those celluloid characters wept on the screen, I wept with them.

Because their America is my America.

But, even in death, Bobby's voice still carries on, from the famous speech he gave in the wake of Martin Luther King's murder:
"Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again."

Even in the midsts of sorrow and pain, we know that, in the end, nothing has truly been lost.

Bobby may have bleed. His body may have been broken.

But he was More.

And so was the vision and the dream of his America that he brought to light.

Those things are eternal.

And his America is OUR America.

So, remember, when you exercise your civic duties next Tuesday, if you're choosing the lesser of two evils, you're still choosing evil.

Know that nothing that those who oppose you and your beliefs can do can ever touch who you TRULY are.

Have the courage to choose More.

That could be picking a candidate, or, it could mean staying at home, not out of absentmindedness, but out of a willful decision.

Vote with your heart first. Let it tell you what you should do with your body on Election Day.

Choose More.

Then have More.

Go see "Bobby" when it premieres.

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