Movie Review, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Movie Review, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The demise of the US Senator Sam Foley leaves a vacant position that has to be filled in the Senate. The governor of that US State, Hubert Hopper is vested with the responsibility of appointing a new senator to fill the void. The appointment is happening at a time when corruption and misuse of power are rife in the country. Hubert Hopper is experiencing a challenge regarding who he is supposed to choose. His political boss Jim Taylor and the committees of experts mount the pressure on him. The committee of experts wants Hubert to appoint a reformist Henry Hill who can help change the state of current affairs while Jim Taylor is pressuring Hubert to appoint his preferred candidate whom Jim had handpicked. At home, Hubert is advised by his children to appoint Jefferson Smith who was the head of the Boy Rangers.
Hubert has torn apart and confused on whom he will choose between the two people proposed by the Senate and his political boss respectively. For lack of a better way to choose between the two guys, he decides to toss a coin to select one of the guys. The coin edge lands near a successful story about Jefferson Smith on the newspaper and Governor Hubert settles on him. The governor promised his selection on the accomplishments made by Smith. Those accomplishments would blind the people’s eyes and compel them to welcome the selection of Smith. Another reason that made the governor settle on Smith is that he was gullible and could easily be manipulated by him and his political boss. Smith was new to politics and had no any understanding of how politic matters were run. He had never been interested in politics, but he accepts to take the new challenge with the hope he could initiate changes that would help reshape development of that state.
Smith is brought to the world he has never been before and in his mind, he thought would be an easy ride. To help him familiarize with his new office, Smith is put under the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine who was a former friend of his father. Smith is blinded by the generosity and the attitude of Senator Paine to believe that he was a good man. In reality, Senator Paine was a crooked person who was at the heart of major corruption scandals bedeviling that State. During his familiarization process, Senator Paine learns of Smiths honesty and his naive nature. He decides to leverage on it for his selfish gains.
Smith’s name is for the first time tarnished when he is attracted to Susan, Senator Paine’s daughter. The Washington media prints his pictures and bears a front page image headline branding him a Bumpkin. To sway the public attention, Paine gives Smith an idea to propose a new bill with the help of Clarissa Saunders. Clarissa was an advisor to Senator Sam Foley who was Smith’s predecessor. Clarissa had long time experience in Washington politics. They drafted a bill to authorize the federal government to loan some money to the Washington state to buy a piece of land for the national boy’s camp.
Smith thought that the political path was easy and justice could easily take its course. He is engrossed in a scandal orchestrated by Taylor through Senator Paine. The land was already embroiled in dam-building graft, and Taylor’s machinery accused Smith of being the owner of the land and that he intended to benefit from the bill he had drafted. It is then that Smith is taken aback when he realizes that influential power brokers were using him to make away with public funds.
Clarissa advises Smith to apply filibuster to clear his name from the scandal. The filibuster was a delay tactic where a bill was sidelined for some time to allow more time for discussion. In today’s US Senate, the opposition uses the filibuster by failing to attend the Senate during important bills hence causing delays in passing of the bills.
Politics is evil and dirty since those who hold influence capitalize on it to force things in their way. Taylor used his influence on the media to drag Smith into a scandal he never did.
After Obama become president, Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed a new senator for Illinois. The process of appointment was investigated since the governor was accused of selling the seat to the highest bidder.
When Senator Paine says that he does not count on people voting, he means that most of the time people are influenced to vote for people who have been chosen by those who are influential in the society.
I agree that fighting a losing battle is worth since someone’s reputation and principles are at stake in such a battle.
There are similarities between the movie and the current politics. The class of wealthy and influential people in the US funds most politicians. Those who supported them to power influence most of their decisions. Those who own big companies, financial institutions, and other influential institutions.
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