America desperately needs a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment.
President Donald J. Trump is delivering it.
The 1939 movie was banned by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, General Francisco Franco, and Joseph Stalin. In fact, the film was banned in Nazi-occupied France, but one Paris theater owner defied the Germans by playing the movie non-stop for 30 days.
To this day, James Stewart remains my favorite actor, mainly due to Mr. Smith and It’s a Wonderful Life.
In legendary director Frank Capra’s political drama, Stewart plays the role of Jefferson Smith, a naive Boy Rangers guide who is appointed to the US Senate by the corrupt governor (Guy Kibbee) of a Western state.
Smith accidentally uncovers widespread graft by the governor and his cronies.
He is blackballed by a scheming senior senator, Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), but he makes a last-ditch effort to clear his name with the help of a street-smart political aide (Jean Arthur) and a seasoned reporter (Thomas Mitchell).
Stewart gives an electrifying performance that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and made him a gigantic star.
The famous filibuster scene is effective mostly because Stewart is so low-key for most of the movie. Stewart plays the country bumpkin persona to the hilt while giving awkward press conferences and practically sinking through the floor at the sight of any pretty girl.
The filibuster is the first time that Smith has any forcefulness at all in his personality.
Smith usually turns into a puddle of quivering jelly around Paine, making the moment he shouts back at the senior Senator, “No, I will not yield,” so galvanizing for the audience.
The shy, self-effacing Smith stands up and raises his voice for probably the first time in his life, and it’s as unexpected and electrifying as a lightning strike.
“There’s not compromise with the truth. That’s all I got up on this floor to say, when was it, a year ago it seems like. Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty.”
“Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery. You’ll see the whole parade of what man’s carved out for himself after centuries of fighting.”
“Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet free and decent like he was created, no matter what his race, colour or creed. That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft or free or lies or compromise with human liberties.”
“If that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do.”
“It’s not too late because this country is bigger than the Taylors or you or me or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here, you just have to see them again… I guess this is just another lost cause. Mr. Paine.”
“All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does… you knew that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them, like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine.”
“You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked! Well I’m not licked! I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me!”
In my lifetime, I’ve heard some Mr. Smith Goes to Washington worthy quotes:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” –John F. Kennedy
“Socialists ignore the side of man that is the spirit. They can provide you shelter, fill your belly with bacon and beans, treat you when you’re ill, all the things guaranteed to a prisoner or a slave. They don’t understand that we also dream.” –Ronald Reagan
A more recent stirring moment was on September 27, 2018. It was during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
A visibly angry Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) passionately defended the nominee, who had sailed through multiple FBI background checks throughout his decades-long career on the federal bench and in the White House.
Democrats displayed an unethical and disturbing spectacle–one of the lowest points in Senate history–with false accusations and slanderous lies.
“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham railed.
“Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham — that you knew about it and you held it,” he continued, ripping into Democrats for sitting on accusations against Kavanaugh made by their false witnesses.
Americans learned a good deal about just how low and corrupt the Democrats would go.
They are witnessing the corruption again, but with the future of America at stake, wickedly, it’s in their most vicious form.
This week, Sen. Graham rose above his fellow Republican politicians and defended President Trump and the historical turnout of legitimate voters who turned out for him in the 2020 presidential election.
He also put his money where his mouth is and pledged $500,000 to the Trump Campaign legal effort to fight the Democratic attempt to steal the Election.
Where are the other Senators?
Our House Representatives?
We need them to grow some gonads and channel their inner Jefferson Smith spirit. Fight for us.
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, together represent the best traits, the characteristics, of Jefferson Smith today. Trump with his firm get-it-done demeanor, coupled with Pence’s God-loving, make it happen stance, are telling us:
“You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked! Well I’m not licked! I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these…”
God Bless America.