PART 3 of 3: SEE IT IF YOU DARE —
THIS FILM COULD IMPROVE OUR COUNTRY
Continued from PART 2 and before that PART 1.
If I were a high school Civics or Government teacher (or a college Political Science professor), I would consider Follow the Leader mandatory viewing for my course, because it shines such a bright light into the realm of political education and development. Even among people who are well-versed on political issues, it isn’t very often that they stop and think about why they carry the political beliefs they do. For the average person, simply believing what you believe is enough. Even if you can justify how you think, it’s still rare for people to understand exactly how they came to those conclusions.
Meta-cognition (particularly about politics) isn’t something we pay very much attention to. The way that Follow the Leader forces its audience to confront not only what they believe but how they came to believe it is practically uncharted political territory. If the right young people see this film, it could have profound effects on the way they think about themselves in the political continuum and maybe that could make the American political landscape a little more rational, along with a little less reactive, jingoistic, and cynical.
If you couldn’t tell, Follow the Leader left a deep resonance. It’s been over a month since I’ve seen the film, and I still find myself wrestling with the implications of Nick, Ben, and D.J.’s journeys. The potential for this film to create a useful dialogue across college campuses throughout the country is simply enormous.
As I said, I had given up politics. It had hurt me so deeply and left me in such a depressed, bitter funk that I had to go cold turkey or it would kill me emotionally. And yet Follow the Leader managed to relight part of that spark in my soul. For some of us, it never completely goes away. Shouldn’t we create a political environment in this country where an air of compromise or jaded cynicism isn’t the inevitability? Perhaps, if enough of our nation’s youth see Follow the Leaderand realize their doubts, transformations, and dreams aren’t solitary instances, we can take the steps to help keep that fire alive for the United States as a whole.