Tag Archive | politics

The Women’s March

On Saturday morning, I woke up to lightning streaking across the sky and rain pelting my dorm room window. It was early, around eight or so, and I wasn’t exactly sure  why I couldn’t sleep through such dreary weather as usual other than the fact, I quickly remembered, that it was a Very Important Day. It was the day I had been looking forward to for months, had carefully written down in my planner with a hot pink pen. It was the day of the Women’s March.

I met my friends in the rain and we sprinted to the dining hall for lunch. After receiving notice of the rain delay, we ate second helpings of breakfast food and watched the sky outside miraculously clear. Then we made our way straight down the road to the Center for Civil Rights, where the march was to begin.

When we arrived, it was already so incredibly crowded that we couldn’t even find the supposed speakers. Supposed, because, were they really there? We didn’t know. Instead we took pictures and embraced the excitement, support, dissatisfaction, strength, and surge of energy that the crowd, with its humorous, creative, threatening, hopeful, and even sad signs, provided. The electricity surrounding us had nothing to do with the storm clouds looming overhead.

After an hour and a half of waiting for the march to actually start, these feeling turned anxious, the cheers turned impatient and pressing. Finally we were told that the speakers were making their way to the from to lead the masses, and we finally began our climb up the hill and towards the Capitol building an hour and a half away.

Being in the march itself was incredible. We were like a river of defiance and solidarity, breaking over a dam of hatred and restraint. We chanted, cheered, laughed. Some people played instruments, everyone held signs, some walked quickly, slowly, danced, pushed wheelchairs, everyone was peaceful. There were thousands upon thousands of our fellow marchers up and down the road where we stood; every new altitude or bend in the road exposed an endless stream of people. Being on the street in such numbers was like being embraced, contained, assured. Safe, despite the threats that brought us here together, safe amongst each other and our shared cause, our differences but our shared and equal humanity.

A feeling of resistance ran rampant, but even stronger was one of hope. Hope amidst the storm clouds, hope in every single person present. Once we reached the Capitol, we all dispersed, heading in waves to our various destinations. But it was, still is, impossible to feel separated or alone.

Miss Sloane Movie Review

mv5bmtayody4njc4mjbeqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdi0ntizmday-_v1_sy1000_cr006701000_al_“Lobbying is about foresight, about anticipating your opponent’s moves, and devising counter measures. The winner walks one step ahead of the opposition. It’s about making sure you surprise them, and they don’t surprise you.”

Miss Sloane, in theaters Friday, sure did surprise me. I had high expectations when I went to the screening, having seen only the excitement-packed, House of Cards and How to Get Away With Murder reminiscent trailer. I love this kind of thing. And it was even better than I had hoped.

Sloane (Chastain) is a powerful lobbyist, seeking to pass a bill that will enforce background checks before purchasing firearms. She is fighting for this bill to pass against the wishes of her old company, a group of people who knows her, has learned how she operates. She must not only persuade the public and senators to support the movement; she must also outsmart the group of conservatives plotting to stop her. She must outsmart herself. Amidst the twists and turns of legal proceedings and flashbacks, there are second-amendment battles, gunmen, a lot of really good-looking Asian food, spy cameras, fabulous clothes, pill-popping, public hearings, and inflatable rats. An admittedly odd combination, but it worked. More than that, actually—it succeeded.

miss_sloaneThere have been debates over how realistic the bills and legal proceedings in the movie actually are, but it seemed solid to me. (I know very little about gun laws and lobbying, that’s probably why.) The focus did not necessarily seem to be the politics themselves, though. It was more about the plotting that goes on, the back-stabbing and brilliance of the characters. Every character, but in particular, Miss Sloane.

This movie celebrates the strength and power of women in politics. Chastain’s amazing portrayal of this dazzling granite figure also reveals that perhaps she is not “stone cold.” She is humanized; she has struggles, is broken but refuses to show her cracks. At times her personal life and motives were completely confusing, but throughout the film the audience is allowed to realize more and more. No spoilers, obviously, but the end of the movie was extremely well done on taking her as a person into account.

screen20shot202016-09-1220at202-39-3120pmThe question of her support for the background check bill Sloane is lobbying for, however, is constantly questioned. Does she want this bill to pass because she wants to stop the conservative, narrow-minded white men like the man who seeks her help and attempts to destroy her when she laughs in his face? Is it because she does have some sort of personal connection that the audience is frustratingly never privy to? (This would have, admittedly, been such a satisfying reveal.) Does she simply thrive under the pressure and challenge, craving an unlikely success? Or is a bigger question of whether there really has to be a motive for such a woman to go to such lengths to support something? Why can’t she just have an opinion and support it, without falling prey to such questioning, like a man would?

The messages of Miss Sloane are powerful and particularly resonant. If you are a fan of politics, exciting twists, action/thrillers, and badass feminists proving everyone wrong, you will love Miss Sloane. Altogether, it is “mind boggling, ingenious, and completely unbelievable”—just like Miss Sloane herself.

Star Wars at Bobby Dodd

On July 8th, my friends and I attended a screening of one of my favorite movies, Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

I had been excited about this for weeks. Star Wars, on an enormous screen, in the grass on the field, with all of my new friends. It sounded ideal.

I studied and was a good little student the day before. I wasn’t even distracted by Buzz, who came and stole my computer for a moment in the middle of my Social Movements readings. (Well, maybe for a minute.) I got my work done so that I could enjoy everything fully.

Then the protests downtown started.

And, in my case, downtown meant down the road.

I have no opinion on the Black Lives Matter protests. Not what was being protested, not the tactics used, nothing. This isn’t going to be a political expose of any sort. I’m also not going to pretend that I’m informed about everything that was going on enough to make a comment that isn’t self-incriminating in some manner. So don’t get offended or read too much into any of this, please.

(Also understand that this is my blog and you are a voluntary reader. Also I’m like the biggest Star Wars nerd, so that’s where I’m comin’ from here.)

I was really disappointed that the helicopters overhead interrupted the movie.

There were at least fifteen coming and going, and they were so infuriatingly loud. Every scene, even the quiet ones, now featured war-movie sound effects, the sound of spinning blades and beating drums. My head pounded…or was it the laser blasts on screen?

It was mildly upsetting. I’d seen the movie before, but it still wasn’t what I had been expecting or hoped it would be.

Even excepting the helicopters, everyone around me only discussed what was happening on the news throughout the entirety of our stay. They weren’t even watching the movie. They had friends that they were worried about, wanted to check on. Two people even left the stadium to join the protests, mostly to say that they had been involved. (Again, this is just what it seemed like to me.) It was crazy.

I was disappointed, but not long after this, it was all in the past. Everyone moved on. When I went home, I rewatched the movie with my brothers in our living room, on a normal-sized TV. Sure, it wasn’t a jumbo-projector, sure it wasn’t outdoors, didn’t feel like a festival. There weren’t tons of new people to talk to.

But being cozy, being with my family, not having anything dangerous happening down the road, not having ten helicopters right above me, being able to enjoy the movie that I love? This was much more fun.

Buzz caught us studying!

Friends in a Field, oil on canvas, 1879 AD

The sky was gorgeous.

“Stop taking my hand!”