In some ways the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” depresses me. It’s all quite believable right up until the point where Senator Paine decides to do the right thing.
In real life Jefferson Smith would have been branded as a rabble-rouser throwing a publicity stunt to further his own career. Half the good people would have supported him, and the other half would have parroted these criticisms in their eagerness to show that they were not wild-eyed radicals like him.
The oligarchy at the top has reason to want to squash anyone who threatens to expose their racket, but why should we help them with their dirty business? (It wasn’t a real filibuster anyway.) Anyone who is dissatisfied with our current course must consider this: We will not effect change using the same-old-same-old “go along to get along” habits that got us into this mess. If we would alter the status quo we must be willing to rock the boat.
The good-old-boys club isn’t going to be happy about that and we had better count on being labeled as radicals and wingnuts. The bravest among us will be singled out for special attacks. Our response to this should be to close ranks and lock step – not to throw our most stalwart champions to the wolves by taking up the very criticisms used against them by people we ought to know better than to listen to.