A must see movie for all Americans is ” Inherit the Wind” ( 1960, Stanley Kramer, Director). To those who never saw this film, it accurately portrays the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee. The trial of substitute high school teacher John Scopes was for breaking Tennessee’s Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution in state funded schools. The film had many levels to it in addition to the story line of questioning the legality of such a law. What really frightened this writer, and yes, frightened is the proper word to use, is how 96 years later America has not ( to use the apropos word) evolved at all!
In the film we are made to look at Dayton , Tennessee ( renamed Hillsboro for the film ) and its inhabitants. This was deep in the Bible Belt and most of the townspeople reflected it, excepting the very few who did not subscribe exactly to fundamentalist Christianity. That minority was looked upon as heathens and godless outcasts. Satan was deemed to be alive and well in the hearts and minds, and yes, the very souls of anyone anywhere who refused to go along with this Old Time Religion. We could see and hear the townspeople marching and singing that song as they first welcomed Mathew Harrison Brady; and later when they burned school teacher Bertram Cates in effigy. This fanaticism was furthermore reflected in the person of Mathew Harrison Brady ( portraying William Jennings Bryan, and played brilliantly by Frederic March ) as their ‘ spiritual savior ‘ and lead prosecutor in the trial . He was transformed through the townspeople’s childlike adoration of him into almost a godlike and all knowing savior. Brady had come and he would damn the sinner and transgressor Cates for all his blasphemous garbage about Darwin and evolution. Brady’s adversary in this quest for God’s glory was Henry Drummond , Chicago activist attorney, self proclaimed agnostic and Brady’s long time friend and political supporter ( played by Academy Award nominee Spencer Tracy). They did battle in the courtroom for more than just John Scopes or evolution itself. They were battling for what was really on trial in Dayton, Tennessee: The right of someone to think and reason for oneself! Keep in mind that the Inherit the Wind novel was written a mere seven years after that disgraceful era called McCarthyism, a time all of us should revisit and study.
Look how far we have actually fallen as a nation, as a culture for that matter. We had a president who used Muslim and Mexican bashing to help him recruit supporters. His VP was a far right wing evangelical fanatic, worse even than Trump when it comes to advocating pre-emptive war against the Muslims. Millions of Amerikans either belong to or agree with this phony Tea Party adoration that mirrors the ‘ America First ‘ and fascist leaning movements of the 1930s. These people have learned ZERO from our disgraceful and illegal pre-emptive invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, or our destructive carpet bombing of Libya. Just as the crazy Islamic fanatics think that God is theirs and theirs alone, so do the right wing Christians ( and Zionist Jews of Israel and Amerika ) think the same about the God they have decided to worship. Utter insanity!
Where does hypocrisy fit into all this? Well, we know that the far right wing, which is the Republican Party, is full of hypocrites. The Chicken hawks are most evident, made up of A) All those men who supported and trumpeted the Vietnam War, yet refused to go and serve there and B) All those men, and yes now women too, who were of age to join up for Iraq War 1 and Iraq War 2 and chose to stay home, but were full of ” USA USA ” bluster. They spend their time , especially those in elected office, railing against what they call ‘ entitlements ‘ and keep voting to increase this obscene military spending ( now over 50% of our taxes). They have the nerve to complain about Obama Care as socialism, when it really was a complete sellout to private health insurers; yet they have their own top grade and free socialist health coverage that our taxes pay for… even after they leave office!
The other side of this hypocrisy is of course the center/ right wing of the Two Party system, the Neo Con Democrats. This group likes to tell us how they ‘ Feel your pain etc ‘ and then go along with the Military Industrial Complex. Under their ‘ savior’ , Mr. Obama, military spending topped 56% of our taxes in 2011. The Democrats supported Obama’s 10X increase in drone missile attacks, his NATO led destruction of Libya and continuation of our over 1000 permanent military bases in over 100 countries! Just as the Bush/Cheney gang was responsible for tens of thousands of civilian deaths through bombing and missile attacks , Obama and the Democrats signed off , and continue to sign off on such horror. The Democrats agreed with Obama’s decision to continue the Bush/Cheney bailout of the crooked Wall Street crowd, which we taxpayers will be paying off for generations!
Watching Inherit The Wind should allow you to see how rigid and foolish many of our fellow citizens still are. A few years ago Trump had a rally in Melbourne, Florida. The first plan in his agenda was for his wife to lead the mob in prayer. No, they did not sing ” Old Time Religion ” but could easily have. Then, Mr. Trump had this ‘ ramped up ‘ supporter of his, another ‘ Joe the Plumber ‘ type, Gene Huber, recite his love and adoration for his president, wearing ( I kid you not) a black tee shirt ( Hitler’s SS color of choice) with the words ‘ President Donald Trump ‘. Melbourne was transformed into Hillsboro, Tennessee for the afternoon. Thus a warning to those of us who ‘ know better ‘: If we do not stand up and protest this fanaticism… “He that troubleth his own house will inherit the wind…”