If you have not seen Frank Capra’s 1939 movie, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” starring Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains among many other notable actors of the period, you should do yourself a favor and watch the film. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.
It is the story of a naïve man who is appointed as Senator from a state that has an entrenched political machine run by one power broker. He is selected for the job because the power-bosses think that he will be easy to manipulate. What they don’t realize is that he is a man of principle and is not going to give up fighting for his beliefs.
A slanderous and false campaign against him is launched, witnesses perjure themselves in their calumny against him in their effort to discredit him. They are sure that they have succeeded in their smear campaign. But this simple man, inspired by the words that appear on the Lincoln Memorial, refuses to cave in.
Despite the fact that the entire Senate is set against him, he filibusters against his expulsion to the point where he collapses on the Senate floor.
This is the two minute clip where he falls exhausted:
This is Hollywood at its finest. It makes a statement and it actually has a happy ending. It is one of the movies that is a foundation of my home film library and a movie that I watch at least once a year. In this election year I will probably watch it several times more than that.
Eventually we will figure out who the opponents will be in the November election. Between the awarding of the Oscars and the election we will all be subjected to an endless parade of mud-slinging commercials with the two combatants dumping dirt on his opponent.
Frankly, if only ten percent of the allegations that will be raised are true, one wonders how any person of conscience will be able to vote for either of the contenders for President of the United States. And, unfortunately, probably a great deal more than ten percent of the charges will be true.
Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing if we had people running for the highest office in the land who were honest and inspiring? Wouldn’t it be an incredible thing if we had people running for election to Congress who were women and men of conscience and character? Wouldn’t it be the most spectacular thing if Mr. Smith went to Washington?