Sunday, September 28, 2003

On the Waterfront, revisited. 

I just watched Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront again, for the umpteenth time. It's one of the greatest black and whites ever made, I should say, black and gray, there isn't much white, with the exception of the Eva Marie Saint's slip in one scene. Brando as the embattled Terry Malloy is at his most pure and brilliant. The last scene, when Brando as Malloy takes the Christ walk through the waterfront gates, to lead the way for the men, to crack the corrupt union leaders, is a walk we all have to take right now. Perhaps not bruised and bloodied, unless you can bloody and bruise a psyche. We're all walking around hurt and sore, and sometimes we don't know it. We're been beaten down by the president and his brown shirts, and all he wants us to do is take more crap, and drink the poison in the form of $87 billion.

He and his thugs Ashcroft, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, are like the corrupt union bosses of old, conducting shakedowns if someone steps out of line, like the exposure of Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA agent.

Who is going to expose these thugs, to a largely complacent and passive American population? It is going to be you and I. We are the modern day Terry Malloys.

We were willing to ride the market and good times under Bill Clinton, as long as things went our way. The corruption simmering beneath has bubbled up though, and this brew is poisonous. Don't look for Clinton to save us. We have to save ourselves.

Howard Dean is faulted for his anger, but let me tell you, right now he is carrying our anger for us. As is the other "angry" candidate, Kucinich. To varying degrees, all of the candidates have expressed very "appropriate" anger.

Maybe it's we who are not angry enough. If Bush is re-elected, I'll know we're not angry enough. Maybe we need to be as angry as Terry Malloy, when he said he was going down to the waterfront to "take his rights". We have our rights to take back, and we ought to be on it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We ought to fight the good fight, even if we lose, because then we'll have to fight even harder. But, we'll be used to it by then.