But there is much more to Won’t Back Down than its artistic merits. There’s a bigger picture to keep in mind: a cultural landscape heavily influenced by popular culture cannot be ignored. This is especially true when one considers how much of an impact a simple documentary – Waiting for Superman – had on raising the level of awareness of the education system’s flaws in the general population two years ago.
Typically whenever Hollywood makes a “cause” film — like The China Syndrome (1979), for example — it seems to always champion a progressive issue. Being anti-anything-nuclear was a large part of the Left’s agenda in the ’70s and ’80s. The China Syndrome portrays a greedy corporation hellbent on keeping their precious nuclear reactor open for business even if it put the lives of millions in the Los Angeles area at risk. Thanks to the heroic efforts of a TV news reporter, and the sacrificial act of a conscience-laden engineer from the plant, total disaster is narrowly averted.
Lesson learned: nuclear reactors are far too dangerous to be entrusted to the care of private companies who only care about chasing the old Yankee dollar.
To compound the impact this movie had on the psyche of the average American in 1979, roughly two weeks after its release a partial meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania. Fast-forward some thirty years and our country wants almost nothing to do with an energy source that even far-Left socialist nations like France have embraced (over 75% of their energy is nuclear driven).
That film and the corresponding crisis changed the political debate so drastically that we’re still feeling the effects four decades later.
If only – oh, if only! – there were any high-profile events occurring in the country today that had any connection to a story of public-sector union corruption and the need for parents and teachers at the local level to re-claim their schools…
Perhaps then momentum for change would begin?