Summary: Before we can find solutions, or even slow the fall of the Republic, we need accurate diagnosis of what ails us. Facile answers point to evildoers, or flaws in the Constitution. Fix them and our awesomeness will be rewarded. But America’s weakness lies elsewhere, and can be seen by each of us when looking it the mirror.
Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
but in ourselves, that we are underlings.
— Cassius to Brutus, in Julius Caesar
“Hollywood’s Real Bias Is Conservative (But Not in the Way Liberals Often Say)“, Elias Isquith, The Atlantic, 9 January 2012 — “The political criticisms of Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and The Dark Knight Rises stem from the fact that for Hollywood, history and ideology are second to business — and individualistic narratives sell.”
Isquith ends with an essential insight to understand America’s dysfunction:
It’s individuals, and individuals alone, who matter. In Zero Dark Thirty, an isolated, single-minded CIA agent — a loner that no one believes in—is the chief reason the butcher of 9/11 is lost to time at the bottom of the sea. In Lincoln, it’s only through the singular grace, wisdom, and humanity of the 16th president that the greatest evil in American history, an evil few but he sees with true clarity, is finally put to rest. And in The Dark Knight Rises, Gotham is saved by the orphan Bruce Wayne as the pariah Batman. These people do great things. And they do them alone.
This is Hollywood’s — and indeed, much of entertainment’s — enduring, conservative belief. But it’s less ideology than business imperative. Recall the feeling you had the last time you walked out of a really good blockbuster. You probably felt elated, invigorated, like you could master the world all by yourself. It’s a good feeling, and it’s happening right now at a theater near you.
But it’s not happening in a neighborhood near you. Nor in America. The 1% don’t rule as individuals, dressing in latex and swinging through the city. They recruit followers; their money is their superpower.