Our Better Angels


“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break
our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell
when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.”

President Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address,
Washington DC, March 1861


∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Back in the Fall of 2015 I had read some rumors and articles that one of my all-time favorite American, historical stories was being made into film. I was thrilled, elated this true event was finally making a screen-write then into full production. This true story is set during the 1970’s Civil Rights Movement throughout the old South, but for these two main characters the movie would begin exactly where it all began, Durham, North Carolina, 1971.

I thought about titling this blog-post Our Better Virtues, but decided against because Lincoln’s quote was just too spot on and appropriate for this subject and film. Although, “Virtues” would have inferred my own meaning, intention, and desires for human kind around the world. After all, every single living human on this planet has some virtues. They just have to choose to find them, bestow them liberally, and nurture as well as grow them. Oh well, “Our Better Angels” gets the point across just fine. 😉

I have blogged here several times about C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater and the volatile, appalling events they both found themselves. In a February 2016 blog-post I wrote about expanding sympathy into deep empathy and how the two feelings, behaviors are actually quite different. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others” and so on, falls short of deep, impactful empathy. Real empathy requires much more than being self-centered or focused on one’s self. It requires putting yourself into their life, their shoes, and metaphorically (or literally?) walking in them 100-miles or more. It does not involve yourself.

This 2019 film, The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson (as Ann Atwater) and Sam Rockwell (as C.P. Ellis), tells that story about finding and giving common, deep empathy for your fellow neighbor, your fellow human being. I finally had the opportunity to watch it and not soon enough! Here is one of the trailers:

Sadly and disappointingly critical reviews of the film have been average and unkind if not neutrally bland. Therefore, I am writing my own reviews and commentary everywhere I can. Why? Because I feel strongly it is important to point out a few things about historical, time-period films to less discerning audiences regarding authentic history, particularly scholarly history that seeks to gather all possible data, evidence, sources, and narratives… no matter their viewpoint. Now, for my personal review of the film, The Best of Enemies:

I imagine this film is horribly underrated and unappreciated by the majority of cinematic fans and specific “cultural” groups. BUT movie reviews will never change what Ann Atwater changed in North Carolina and the ripple-effects she and C.P. Ellis began afterwards during and for the Civil Rights in the 1970’s.

The fact that this film briefly portrays in two short hours what was accomplished in real life between Bill Riddick, Howard Clement, C.P. Ellis, and Ann Atwater—not to mention the Black community in Durham, NC—must be remembered. No matter what movie critics think about the film, and honestly, their trivial criticisms about its direction or production or script or acting do it injustice. Pffffft.

Real, accurate, authentic history is near impossible to translate/transcribe onto the silver-screen in a measly 2-hours or less. This unwinnable cinematic anomaly against movie producers, film-writers, film-budgets, then movie audiences and critics, should always be seriously considered when producing and releasing raw, historically accurate, socially-politically CORRECT and LEGALLY RIGHT Movements as the American Civil Rights, or other highly controversial subjects as the Holocaust or the U.S.’s 18th – 19th century treatment, extermination, and resettlement of Native American Indian tribes. Typically 2-hours or less will NEVER do these historical time-period subjects full justice.

Hence, when all considered, including reading and deciding the real worth/value of this film’s many bland or negative short-sighted or undeserved reviews, just remember this…

2-hours will NEVER be able to tell the full astonishing, real-life true story and relationship about and between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis… which required and evolved over three decades! Ignore movie critics, remember the core and marrow of what the film is telling, portraying!

5-stars and more, every time, every day!

Did I emphasize 2-hours enough? 😜

Seriously though, I hope you will make the time to watch, appreciate, and support these fine altruistic, humanitarian films like this one and the stories they tell. They will at least introduce to you a starting point to go further, dig deeper into the entire contextual narrative, facts, plausible facts, and plausible probabilities despite there often being degrees of cinematic license taken to appease corporate profits, severe time-constraints, and/or film productions at the expense of truth and full historical accuracy. Please keep this in mind.


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Compos Mentis: Rationality Prevails, For Now

Paul Clement and John Boehner are key crusaders for DOMA

Anti-discrimination advocates received great news over a week ago Monday, April 25th.  The law firm King & Spalding, hired by Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans to spend overspent taxpayer dollars to defend DOMA (the Defense Of Marriage Act), withdrew their representation of the case.  If you are unaware of the litigation details, basically supporters of DOMA feel that gay-lesbians who want to marry, not only for the EQUAL legal benefits that hetero marriages freely enjoy, but just as much for the sake of “love“.  They are clearly discriminated upon by not being legally allowed to marry under the guise of DOMA.  Very specific religious-based groups who do not represent the entire diverse American population (much less the rest of the free-world), feel it is their “God-given” right to enact laws binding others how they are to live their personal lives.  How have other religious-based power groups used the same God-given battle cry at the cost of basic human rights and lives?  How many can you name and are their principles much different?

With my already published blog Sexual & Gender Ambiguity as my personal foundation on this issue, I am not going to waste my time or yours with the political rhetoric and unsound empty premises that DOMA and its supporters use.  Here is my parody of the issue and how I condense their bottom-line:

Only heterosexual couples deserve all the personal and legal benefits of marriage in America.  Period.

Well no, let me rephrase that to show more accurately the DOMA logic:

Only white-with-white, or Afro-American-with-Afro-American heterosexual couples deserve all the personal and legal benefits of marriage in America.  Period.

Well, no no, let me rephrase that again to show more accurately the logic:

Only people with exactly 10-fingers and 10-toes who can produce children naturally through federally approved intercourse, deserve all the personal and legal benefits of marriage in America.  Period.

Well, no that doesn’t work quite right either.  Let us rephrase it again:

Despite that well over half of American heterosexual marriages end in divorce more than once, spending untold amounts of sparse overspent taxpayer dollars in court fees, etc., let’s pretend they represent TRUE LOVE (since “God” agrees only with heteros) and hence are the only couples who deserve all the personal and legal benefits of marriage in America. Period….until we can sound more convincing the next time.

Various amounts of sexual hormones then genitalia develop first at the molecular level, not according to any post-natal religious propaganda.

Well, that last bottom-line doesn’t work either because who or what has the right to define what true love is…the Federal or State governments?  Or more poignantly, the U.S. Constitution?  As any elementary school student will recognize, the rationale behind these highlighted DOMA premises might seem ridiculous, but I hope they show the incredulous basis behind any person or legal/political organization trying to dictate onto persons and their private lives what defines the sanctity of marriage, love, or gender combinations the two belong.  As my last ‘rephrase’ points out, American heterosexual marriages CERTAINLY have no track record worthy to define what love, marriage, or where the gender combinations belong.

My instinct tells me that DOMA advocates will grasp further outside Constitutional jurisdictions, calling upon their own individual religious or faith-based presumptions that discriminate against another sector of people with differing world or religious views.  For me, it is glaringly obvious which position should be given legitimate “Constitutional protection“!

I remind readers that these views are as much a parody as they are a personal method to cause reflection on a subject that is ultimately OUTSIDE governmental or religious dictation.  I also urge readers to read my earlier blog Sexual & Gender Ambiguity to gain proper perspective on my personal position on this discriminatory issue.  While ‘hate‘ messages are not permitted, dialogue is most certainly welcomed.  Thank you for respecting this.

[Later addition]  Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a bill in 2005 for legalizing same-sex marriage in California, admitted May 17th, 2011 that ten years earlier he fathered a child with another woman other than his wife.  He never told her or his children, and most certainly while being governor paid-off monthly child support to keep this unethical behavior out of the public eye.  Whether Schwarzenegger is a great example of the “sanctity of heterosexual marriage” or not, is not the real issue.  The very REAL issue is America’s acceptance of not only non-monogomous marriages or relationships, but more importantly getting out of everyone’s personal lives and bedrooms and concerning themselves with and accepting the ethical sanctity of humanity instead of the genetic-hormonal-sexual differences of humanity.  One of the best things now that Schwarzenegger can do to save face is reverse his position on same-sex marriage and start campaigning for its legalization.  For more on this important genetic-sexual issue, read my blog Sexual & Gender Ambiguity.


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