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The Right Should Embrace Hollywood

The Right Should Embrace Hollywood --- And Elysium
Newsflash: Leftist Hollywood is at it again!  Elysium, the summer blockbuster starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, has, dare we say it, political overtones, which numerous right-wing groups have denounced as liberal propaganda.
What a surprise.
Honestly, I’m not sure what’s more annoying: these folks sounding like a broken record about the horrors of “liberal” Hollywood, or the fact that they are, flat out, completely wrong.
If they stopped blathering for just a second and looked at the real Tinseltown, they would realize that A) the vast majority of movies have much more of a conservative tilt than a liberal one, and B) they’d be a whole lot better off becoming part of the entertainment industry instead of incessantly complaining, but doing nothing to change it. In order words, try lighting a few candles instead of cursing the darkness.
A big part of the problem is that too many fail to see the difference between those who produce, direct and star in movies versus the messages of the movies themselves.
Are many, if not most, individuals in the industry politically liberal?  No question.  But, overall, their movies are not.  And that’s because the Hollywood masterminds aren’t dumb.  They inherently understand that if they produced films that were leftist in nature, they would lose billions by alienating a huge chunk of American moviegoers. And make no mistake --- Hollywood’s first goal is to make money.
The proof is in the pudding, as the most common themes of the biggest movies are anything but far-left: good guys carrying guns; self-reliance; redemption; racial harmony; fighting for freedom against impossible odds; standing up against corporate greed; stopping terrorists; telling the truth despite the consequences; keeping families together and the rewards of a strong work ethic. Oh, and did we mention good guys carrying guns?  (Emphasis on that one never hurts).
So where exactly is that infamous liberal bias?  And how do any of the above qualify as leftist indoctrination?
Yet instead of embracing Hollywood for what it does “Right,” too many on the Right ignore the good and instead throw fire to get their thirty-second sound bite or use the “liberal Hollywood elite” line to raise money, for what purpose I have no idea.
Take all the recent criticism of Elysium. The standard attack line is that it’s a sci-fi socialism pic, portraying the haves-versus-the-have-nots by highlighting the issues of class warfare, health care only for the rich, and immigration.
Damon’s character, a factory worker on overpopulated (and slummy) Earth who receives an accidental lethal dose of radiation, can only be saved by obtaining medical treatment on the space station orbiting Earth, which happens to house all the rich one-percenters. To get there, though, he makes a deal to take up arms and steal (evil) government secrets. While set in the future, critics --- and director Neill Blomkamp himself --- agree the movie reflects life in the present.
Ok. Let’s review.  Is America increasingly a place where there are haves and have-nots, where the middle class is disappearing, and where class warfare is becoming a way of life? Are there not large areas of lawless and decaying slums throughout the country?  (Detroit comes to mind). Is there not a major health care crisis, where people now value health care above owning a home, where millions are uninsured, and where those with “money” are much more likely to receive high-quality care? And do we not have a raging debate about immigration, from open borders to security walls to amnesty for illegals?
So why all the criticism for a movie that asks legitimate questions?  Is the Right so scared of its own ideas that it can’t defend them, rather than solely resorting to attacks?
Maybe if Republicans stopped their unproductive bashing and offered positive solutions, while holding their own accountable for their (many) mistakes, movies like Elysium wouldn’t hit so close to home.
Is universal healthcare the answer, where months-long wait times for a doctor will be common, where government bureaucrats will make health care decisions for you, and where doctors will dissuade their children from going into medicine? Are open borders and mass immigration really the solution to bolster America’s national and economic security? 
Of course not.
But it’s not productive, nor accurate, to just blame Obama (and “liberal” Hollywood) for these problems, as both Parties are equally guilty in driving us to where we stand today.
When the Republicans under George W. Bush had six years and all the power to fix these things, they chose to do nothing. No free-market solutions to healthcare, no reining in the greed of insurance companies, no border walls, no rational solution for the millions of illegals beyond the insane “deport them all” line. No overhaul of the immoral tax system, no energy independence, and no reduction in massive government spending, all of which would have led to a more prosperous and exponentially larger middle class --- and a vast reduction in the us-against-them mentality that so many Americans now harbor towards their fellow countrymen.
Like it or not, these problems are upon us, and they’re only getting worse. If it takes a movie like Elysium to finally make us think about, and hopefully deal with, them, then so be it. 
The Right would be wise to embrace this movie, engaging in constructive dialogue, rather than cowering behind worn out attack lines that only serve to marginalize their worthy ideas.
The true center of power in this country is not Washington, but Hollywood, for it, by far, has unparalleled power to influence and inspire, motivate and excite, and allow everyone, regardless of race, color, creed or income, to dare to dream.
You want to imbue in a child the belief that absolutely anything is possible? Watch Rudy. Inspire a racially-divided nation to come together, where black and white fades into colorblindness? Remember The Titans.  Where redemption and second chances can lead to great things? Hoosiers.  Or the power of one to literally make history and save lives when all others look the other way? Schindler’s List and Erin Brockovich.
How about where guns and guts can win the day? Wyatt Earp, Saving Private Ryan, and Band of Brothers. And of course, where courage and a crazy dream could capture the imagination of an entire planet, young and old, as mankind showed that the sky truly was the limit, and where self-sacrifice, without hesitation, trumped self-preservation? Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, and yes, even Bruce Willis’ Armageddon.
The list is nearly infinite because of Hollywood’s unique ability to bring out the very best in all of us --- if only we could put our petty partisan differences aside and look, literally, at the Big Picture.
Agree with Director Blomkamp’s themes or not, it is commendable that he has put out yet another movie (District 9 and its take on the horrors of apartheid was his first blockbuster) that makes us take a hard look at the future ahead. And that future ---our future --- is now.
Hooray for Hollywood!
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at

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