Politically, reaching across the aisle is important. But what happens when that aisle is a bed and the arms wrapped around you at night are connected to hands that vote for a different candidate?
“I want to take you to a movie tonight. What time can you get here?”
A seemingly innocuous text from him, which preceded a life lesson.
Of course I agreed. We are homebodies who both work entirely too much, and I was excited at the prospect of a night out. Heck, I was just looking forward to doing something that didn’t involve sweat and pounding. A movie? Like, sitting down? Count me in, Dr. Quinn!
I’ve mentioned the fact that the man I’m dating holds an endless fascination for all things political, while, as a conflict-avoiding, stranger-hugging, modern day love child, I abhor them. What I didn’t mention, however, is that the few political opinions I do hold don’t necessarily jibe with his. Let’s just say that if we were all suddenly put in into big boxes based on our political proclivities, we wouldn’t share a box, not only that, but we wouldn’t even be kept in the same warehouse. We are Tony and Angela. We are David and Maddie. We are Whitney and that dude on Whitney, probably.
So I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when we pulled up to the theater and the marquee read “2016: Obama’s America.” I mean, he had mentioned that the movie we were going to was called 2016 and that it was about politics, but my brain was all “Yikes! Politics? Well, you know what other movie is about politics? Casablanca, sort of, and you love that!” Honestly, I was half expecting a Hunt For Red October-type thriller.
If you haven’t heard of 2016: Obama’s America, it’s a documentry by Dinesh D’Souza, based partially on his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. D’Souza both stars in and narrates the movie, which dissects Barack Obama’s family, personal, and political histories, looking for clues to some of the decisions he’s made since taking office. Decisions which D’Souza doesn’t agree with.
D’Souza brightened my bulb with some facts that nearly everybody else in the theater (aside from the gasper) seemed to know. President Obama never knew his father and wrote a book about it? Well, bust my buttons! Seriously, I told you, I don’t do politics. But, I’m always down for learning.
The film has been in very limited release since July, and despite the fact that it was showing in only a handful of theaters earned $9.2 million. It just expanded to over 1,000 screens where it’s expected to earn another $6 million, finishing in 8th place for the weekend. Not bad for a movie that cost only $2.5 million to make and, frankly, probably has somewhat of a niche audience. It’s looking like this little film that could, actually can, to some degree.
But I don’t review movies, I tell stories, and the story with this movie was how challenging I found it to free myself from my political views and just watch the film. I mean, I don’t have to believe that Oompa Loompas make chocolate bars to sing along with Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or even that global warming is real to take in the soon-to-be-spoiled natural beauty offered in An Inconvenient Truth.
Trust me when I say that the discomfort I initially felt in that movie theater verged on comical.
I made a very loud, deliberate comment upon entering about how there were “A lot of white people in this theater!”, but then proceeded to slump down in my seat a bit, lest anyone notice the very not conservative-looking girl who didn’t belong.
I peeked over, nervously, at the couple who sat closest to us in our row, praying that they didn’t recognize me from the fancy grocery store in which I work, because they are regular customers. Then I sulked because they didn’t seem to know me without a cash register between us.
I giggled at the woman behind me, who was so shocked at the information presented that she spent the entire hour and a half gasping, while I myself gasped a time or two.
I’m a study in contrasts, I know.
Once I finally did let go, I quite enjoyed what the movie offered. There was something so liberating about deciding to set down my notions long enough to take in information that I might have missed, otherwise. When I picked those notions back up at the door, on the way out, they seemed slightly lighter and less burdensome.
While dating a man with whom I have some opposing viewpoints hasn’t always been easy, it has been worth it–because I’ve learned. Learned to keep my eyes and ears open. Learned to keep my mind and heart open. Learned to quickly make intelligent counterpoints when the opportunity rises–because this guy is smart. And, most importantly, I’ve learned that boxes are for cereal and hard-to-assemble furniture, not people.