Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Fighter

I just watched “The Fighter” with Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Christian Bale last night.  It’s not a kid-friendly movie but one I would recommend to anyone.  It’s the true story of Micky Ward, a blue-collar boxer with an interesting family legacy hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts who beat long odds to ascend to the Welterweight Championship back in the mid 90’s.  Much of the film is centered around the dynamic between Micky and his older brother, himself a local legend due to his infamous bout with Sugar Ray Leonard during the prime of his boxing career in the 80’s.  For those of you who haven’t seen it and wish to see it, I won’t give away many more details.  I’ve left out plenty so that you can still enjoy it for what it is…an incredibly moving and inspiring story.  I think though it serves as somewhat of a symbol for what is going on now.  I know I’ve compared Gov. Palin before to Rocky Balboa.  Yes, this is another boxing reference but just hear me out because with all due respect to the Rocky series, it lacks what “The Fighter” has…authenticity.

Authenticity is something that comes at a premium nowadays.  I think when people see it they know it because there are a lot of “packaged goods” that are on display.  Take your pick…from what we watch to what we eat, there’s a lot of “repackaging” to choose from.  As it relates to the Presidential race, specifically to the field of GOP candidates, the majority of candidates look and sound like something we’ve all seen and heard before.  Because of that, Herman Cain is shooting up in the polls right now.  People are hungry for a candidate that actually believes what they say, someone that doesn’t just spout talking points with a glazed look in their eyes.  They want to know that their candidate is not a cybernetic being but a real person who can look them eyeball to eyeball and relate to their world to effect change in it.
Much has been made about Gov. Palin’s delay in making an announcement.  Apart from a recent appearance on On The Record, she has been largely silent.  I know part of that is prep for her upcoming appearance in South Korea.  But I honestly believe she’s preparing for her run at the Presidency.  And I wholeheartedly believe that she’s going to run as an Independent candidate.  I have actually believed this for some time now, even before Adrienne and Nancy put thought to post with their excellent writings.  Unconventional means a lot of things, but think about it.  Specifically within the sphere of politics ask yourself this:  What is the most unconventional thing you can do to run as a Presidential candidate within the structure of a two-party system?  Add to that the potential gamesmanship being played with the moving up of key states’ primaries and what it does is set up well for an unconventional run to be made by probably the only person that can actually pull it off. 
The fact is, Gov. Palin is a bonafide star.  And if we think about this for a moment, in the celestial and social sense, stars have gravitational pull.  Objects move in their direction as they move.  There are millions awaiting her official announcement – those of us who will do what we can to provide her support in whatever way we can as well as those who make their living covering news.  And regardless of what those in the news media would like for us to believe - that her announcement wouldn’t mean much at this point because it’s “so late” in the race - they will be scratching and clawing their way to get in line to follow her every move.  Her star power in a very real sense allows her to not only run an unconventional campaign but to run a successful unconventional campaign. And does it not fit her like a handmade, tailored suit?  She’d run and while doing so be able to do so without help or support from the very system that’s broken in the first place.  Our two-party system is broken and corrupt at both ends.  This way it allows her to run unfettered by that brokenness and corruption and plays to her strength which is running on the support of the people she relates to…those of us (conservatives, moderates and even some liberals) who have been long disenchanted with ineffective Party politics.
There’s a pivotal part in “The Fighter” when Micky Ward decides how he’s going to train for his championship fight.  I’m not going to say what he decides to do but I will tell you he uses his instincts despite incredible outside pressure.  And that makes all of the difference because it leads to powerful moments where the people closest to him have some come-to-Jesus moments with themselves and each other.  They realize what’s at stake and are willing to have the tough conversations and confrontations to get past their issues to focus on the task at hand.
It’s setting up the same way.  Our candidate is preparing for the fight of her life.  And as a result those of us who say we’re supporting her have to look at ourselves in the mirror and identify the things we need to deal with to be effective for her.  In some instances, we’re going to have to deal with each other and have some tough conversations to get to a place where we be the type of support she needs for us to be. 
Don’t lose heart because we’re waiting.  Use this time to get right and understand what’s at stake.  Because we know our champion is going to go with her instincts.  We have to be right and ready to move when she’s ready to move.

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