Last night, after Obama's victory speech, my roommate and I sat watching, and listening to the music. "I feel like I'm watching a movie," he said.
I agreed. In unison, we both pointed to the television and directed, "And...roll credits."
It seems we weren't the only ones experiencing movie-quality history. The Suburban Christian points to the MTV Movies Blog, regarding the soundtracks that captured the moments of McCain's concession and Obama's ascendancy:
The music was appropriate for these national moments because those movies do embody something of this national story.
Movie lovers might have noticed that each man chose music from a Washington movie to play while walking offstage after their respective speeches. And, not for nothing, but we think they both made the perfect choice.
Consider: McCain left the Arizona stage to part of Hans Zimmer’s score from “Crimson Tide.” (This part, actually.) The 1995 Tony Scott film focused on a career Navy man (Gene Hackman), labeled a maverick by some, who is stripped of his authority and ultimately beaten by a young black guy, somewhat new to the scene (Washington).
Then there was Obama, who left the stage to the strings of Trevor Rabin’s score from “Remember the Titans.” The 2000 Disney/Bruckheimer joint? It followed an African-American coach who brought together whites and blacks to win a championship.
At the outset I said that movies influence American culture and ideals. Perhaps its not the movies that influence our ideals but that our ideals that are embodied by our movies. Perhaps it is not a vision given to us but a mirror held up to show us what we hope for. Perhaps both our movies and our president are reflections of who we are as a people.
Ultimately, it works both ways. Our movies and presidents mirror us, but those mirrors also change us. We look into the mirror to know ourselves better, and what we see and learn there changes how we live and what we choose.
Today, now that we see ourselves a bit more clearly, we need not gaze like Narcissus forever at our own reflection. Rather, we should go and live and choose as we ought in light of those reflections. The mirror can only show us who we are, but we must choose who we will become. We must choose and act, not just watch and wait.
Otherwise, to remain gazing at our own reflection will change us. And it is not the kind of change we can believe in. Whether we stand and admire or stand and despise, we will not simply see a reflection anymore. We will have become the reflection in the mirror. Then there will be nothing left of the people standing in front of the mirror. We will be false fronts and green-screen images of ourselves. And when the mirror shatters, as they all do in the end, we will find that we have broken with it.