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11.04.2005    |    Dave can do it
"Dave" is one of my favorite "political" movies, ever. Political is in non-scary scare quotes (hey, Halloween's over; on with your boring, humdrum lives...) since it is clear that "Dave" is not meant to be taken as a serious statement on politics. Anyway, it dates from 1993, the first year of Bill Clinton's first term -- before we realized the truth about Mr. and Mrs. President.

Well, Dave Kovic really does feel your pain in the movie. The Kevin Kline character (Kovic) runs a temp agency, and Dave makes it his noble goal to make sure that everyone who wants a job finds one. Even when, as in a scene from the movie's beginning, the prospective employer can't afford to pay for another worker. Economics be damned; that's real compassion.

Well, in this fun fantasy, Dave Kovic is a dead ringer for the soon-to-be dead president. So, he's basically kidnapped on the orders of Bob Alexander, the president's mean-spirited Karl Rove (so Donks might wish), Bob Alexander, played just right by Frank Langella. Well, Dave's a good guy, as defined by Hollywood. As the stand-in president, he saves a homeless shelter, and then goes completely ape and announces a jobs program whereby any American who wants a job should have one.

Even Hillary would not dream so large. But then, "Dave" is a fantasy, and, I trust, was not taken too seriously -- then, or now. Oh, just in case I didn't mention it, although it isn't stated in so many words, the nasty president that Dave Kovic doubles for is almost certainly a budget-balancing Republican. You know, balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, yadda yadda yadda. Hey, it is a Hollywood production, after all.

But here's the serious thing that I'd like all hard-hearted, budget-balancing, green-eyeshade-wearing folks to reflect on: it's when Dave as president waxes about the simple yet profound human dignity of someone who has, finally, found a job, and done a decent day's work for wages. Anyone who has ever been out of work, or even only threatened with being out of work, knows this feeling. I do.

Yes, I know. Businesses can't stay in business if they simply pay people for showing up and it has no positive effect on the bottom line. But it's usually not that simple. There's all sorts of things that can be adjusted. Perhaps the CEO cuts his salary by a few million? Perhaps the school district finds a way to make do without repainting the teachers' lounges? And on, and on...there's always ways to save.

The message? More like a question than a sermon. What price should we put on human dignity? Does everything in life have to be reflected in a set of balanced books? Perhaps I'm getting soft in my old age, but if we can afford millions for a useless bridge to nowhere in Alaska, not to mention billions for useless pork and a lot of corporate welfare, surely there's something we can reprogram in the name of human dignity?

1 Comments:

Blogger The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

That's one of my favorite movies, as well. I especially like the "Hail to the chief, he's the one we all say hail to, we all say hail 'cause he keeps himself so clean. He's got the power, that's why he's in the shower..." singing in the shower scene. But I digress.

One might point out that the USA did enact a similar program to that which you mentioned, back in the early part of last century. I don't mean to be insulting when I say this-- but your recognition of the concept of human dignity over a bottom line for big business just might make you a... baby Progressive? Forget the whole Dem vs Rep thing, it's a stupid dichotomy-- learning where one stands politically comes from looking at what we think is the most important outcome for our nation's people, economically and personally. Believing that the people ARE the nation (rather than "the nation contains people") is the fundamental difference, as far as I can see, between progressives and neoconservatives of our era.

10:23 AM, November 07, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.