Filmmakers, artists and creative-types of all sorts, please take the 2014 mid-term elections as a wake-up call. This blog is called ReelPolitik, so I feel it’s in my purview to state that it’s both my responsibility and yours to start thinking about 2016. And not just thinking, but planning, joining and mobilizing friends, family and co-workers to join you in a fight for candidates that support the issues that directly effect your livelihoods: arts funding, public education and an open and free Internet. Last I checked, these are policies that few Republican and right-wing candidates–who just marched into power in a big way–care about.
I don’t intend to rail against other problematic policies in the Republican platform–such as increased dependence on coal and fossil fuels, marriage being defined as between one man and one woman, or privatizing education–which indirectly effects your lives, too. Let’s just focus on the fact that the party that just took over the country’s legislative branch, and many of the governorships (oh Wisconsin! oh Maine! oh Florida!), doesn’t support what you do. They seem to see the media as a means strictly for propaganda, whether in their own (Fox News, etc) or what they rally against (Hollywood). In a Republican-ruled USA, there is little room for ambiguity or nuance or artfulness, both in the level of discourse and the way the world is perceived.
And if you think politics doesn’t matter to you, let me remind you that the current global crises, from economic uncertainty to instability in the Middle East, all stem from policies that began in Washington, D.C., largely perpetuated by eight long years of the George W. Bush administrations.
For most readers of ReelPolitik, I’m preaching to the converted. For all of you progressive documentary and narrative filmmakers out there, this year’s overwhelming political defeat must feel a bit demoralizing, not unlike Bush’s reelection year. In our little world, we watch great progressive-minded films and documentaries, which seem like gamechangers to us, and yet they matter little to the culture, at large.
All this suggests to me that we have to move beyond simply making great films; we also have to fight for better policies through more direct political action.