25 March 2006


One of my favorite movies of all time is Braveheart. We saw it when it first came out and LightGirl was a tiny baby. It was (I think) our first "date" after she was born. We left her with a family we trusted and respected and went to the theater to see this movie. To be really honest, I was going to see Mel Gibson with long hair in a kilt (three of my favorite things all in one place). Come to think of it, the family we left her with had a daughter who was 12 at the time. Wow ... time flies when you're living. I remember when we came out of the theater it felt like we had time traveled and nothing seemed right. The movie had seemed so real that we felt that we were somehow in the wrong time and place. The car seemed strange. I can remember the feeling and still can't describe it very well, but it was profound.

The next thing we did (being us) was go to Barnes & Noble and pick up a few books on Scottish-English history and discovered that very little in movie was correct. Well, it was correct, it was just out of chronological order. There really was a William Wallace and he lived and died doing the things that he was depicted as doing, just not during the time that he was shown in the movie. Oh well. And yes, Edward the Longshanks really was that nasty, etc. My favorite line from the movie still comes from the Irishman Steven as they're preparing for one of the battles and he turned to William and said ... well ... I'm trying to keep profanity off my blog. If you know the movie well enough, you'll know the line.

The main message of the movie (at least in the world according to me) is that you have a choice in this world. You can either be safe or you can be free. And actually it is when you choose freedom that you become safe. But when you choose safety, you are never actually safe from evil. It's counter-intuitive. But choosing safety means that those who peddle fear and hold power get to use it more and more. I'm thinking here of the rights of prima nocte as well as the many other tools that Edward I had at his disposal to keep in subjects under control. But the more the Highlanders chose freedom and to live their own lives the safer they actually became.

Yes, I get that it's just a movie and Mel (and the producers had some say in how things ended).
But Jesus had somethings to say about this too. Things like: if you try to save your life, you'll lose it, but if you give it away, you'll find it.

So, yesterday I snarkily ended one of my comments with something like "people who are smarter than I think that this country is in trouble too. But only time will tell." And today I was out browsing the news and found several news items relating to a speech given at Georgetown University on March 9 by none other than retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. There are no transcripts published of the speech on-line (at least that I could find). I purchased a transcript of Nina Totenburg's (from NPR) report about the speech. And here's the link to an editorial from the Boston Globe about it. If you'd like to see Nina Totenburg's report, you can go to NPR and purchase a copy of it (for about $4.00). But suffice it to say that I've hardly ever agreed with Sandra Day O'Connor on anything, so I was somewhat taken aback to find what strange bedfellows I now have.

The Army used to have as an advertising slogan, "Freedom isn't free." That's true. It's not. Safety isn't safe either. And apathy isn't getting us anywhere. Despite what some may think we are living in dangerous times. We are wandering on the knife edge of loosing our freedom. It is only our freedom which keeps us truly safe from tyranny and evil ... both without and within.

It's worth taking a few minutes to remind yourself of what we do have and why it's worth defending ... even with a phone call or letter to your Representative or Senator. Here's a link to the Bill of Rights. This has been gutted by the Patriot Act .... when the CIA and/or the FBI can get a hold of your reading list from the local library without warrants; that constitutes unreasonable search and seizure. It's a slippery slope. The government has already been caught illegally wiretapping it's own citizens. We are torturing prisoners.

In the wake of 9/11 we were told to choose safety. But I ask you ... are we really safe?


Blogger Schuyler said...

What am I supposed to do? I don't have a Senator or Representative! All I've got is a stupid non-voting delegate.

By the way, I agree with you on this subject. Except for the part about Braveheart being such an amazing movie, but that may be because I saw it first as a teenager, and teenagers are notoriously self-centered and ignorant.

3/27/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Yeah ... that's another one of my pet peeves ... the capitol city of our country doesn't have representation in Congress. That's plain STUPID. And has been for a long time.

Althooooooo ... when the majority of the citizens of said city keep re-electing the likes of Marion Barry you do have to wonder ...

Just kidding. They/you still have the right to adequate representation in Congress (no matter who is elected) and it's appalling that you don't have it.

3/27/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger kate said...

I also really, really liked Braveheart. I thought the themes really worked, and the characters clicked together, etc. I'd like to have my own copy to re-edit; more along the lines of Gladiator, which I didn't like so much but I liked how they handled the violence. If a weapon or an animal was about to obliterate someone, they showed you the action without the actual moment of gore (usually), instead of insanely zooming in on it as they did in Braveheart. So unnecessary.
re: Marion Barry comment -- HA! HA!

3/27/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Uh, you don't like seeing a guys skull get thumped with a swinging heavy metal ball? What's wrong with you, Kate? This is probably my all time favorite movie. I have never really thought of it in this light though, but I like what you are saying. The messages that it conveys are myriad and I seem to see some new wrinkle every time I watch. And like Cartman, I also have a poster of Mel Gibson as Braveheart on my wall.

3/27/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Yeah ... my biggest disappointment with the movie was that it portrayed one of my way back ancestors in a very bad light. If you recall, Lachlan was one of William Wallace's betrayers. And I hail from clan MacLachlan. Of course ... the whole thing was out of chronological order, because William Wallace didn't live at the same time as Robert the Bruce and I can't find any evidence of when the first Lachlan lived so ... but still I hang my head during that scene.

I still love watching it all tho ... I just close my eyes during the bloody parts. And the Scottish accents ... aye ... love 'em.

3/27/2006 10:53:00 PM  

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