Tom Laughlin and Dolores Taylor‘s website contains a pitch for Billy Jack’s Moral Revolution, a “new 2007 film” that’s not a movie but a plan. The pitch is breathlessly over-written — a super-loaded political-cultural mouthful about a film that would trigger an earthquake of change — a political, sexual, spiritual and psychological revolution that includes ejecting the Bushies and turning away from the Bush Doctrine and managing an end to the Iraq War.
Tom Laughlin, Barack Obama, Clint Eastwood
The idea of Billy Jack’s Moral Revolution doesn’t seem to have been received with sufficient enthusiasm by Laughlin’s network of would-be, small-time financiers. The same ideas and goals were expressed by Laughlin in 6.20.05 article by N.Y. Times reporter Sharon Waxman, and it makes you wonder if he’ll be proposing the same package — he’s trying to raise $12 million — 18 or 36 or 72 months hence.
Laughlin is the original tough-minded independent, but he sounds like a street- corner nutter when he writes that his film will contain “four exciting, highly-charged love stories, with a unique focus on the difference between sex and eros and violence in human relationships — especially among teenagers, including the problem of abortion. Like the original Billy Jack, it will be an uplifting, ten-handkerchief tearjerker.”
But as undisciplined and wiggy as some of Laughlin’s agenda seems to be, a lot of what he says about why this country is deeply loathed and the effects of the Bush Doctrine makes basic sense. I completely agree with Laughlin 100% that the three greatest evils afflicting this country right now are (a) corporate oligarchs, (b) totalitarian neo-con agendas and (c) false evangelicals .
Laughlin is a a devout believer in the fundamental tenets of freedom and individual rights that this country was…I’m not going to say it was entirely founded upon these beliefs (I’m too much of a James Ellroy fan to swallow that one whole), but Laughlin truly believes in the myth of the once-good-and-noble-U.S.A., and there’s something touching in that.
You know who’s also into the idea of restoring the spiritual American dream? Clint Eastwood.
In his Time magazine interview with Richard Schickel, Eastwood sounds standardly cynical when he says that “everyone is looking for who’s the hero that is going to get us out of what we’re in now. I heard somebody on the radio the other day — one of these talk shows — saying, ‘Oh, where’s the new General Patton? Where’s the guy who says, ‘I don’t give a shit what the politicians want — this is what we should do.’ Well, that era’s gone.”
But later in the piece he’s asked by Schickel if “there’s any conceivable possibility in the modern world for the assertion of conventional heroism,” and Eastwood’s reply shows he very much wants to somehow see things made right.
“I certainly don’t see any politician that’s a hero in any party anywhere,” he begins. “I think John McCain did something that I don’t know if I could do and I don’t think many men can look in the mirror and say they’d do: give up a chance to get out of prison because his dad was an admiral and the Vietnamese were going to let him go. Pat Tillman, giving up his NFL career to fight — and die — for his country is like that for me too.
“But all that said, is there a hunger among Americans for heroic behavior? I think there is a hunger. I think that most people would love to see a heroic figure step forward. I can almost sound like one of those Christian-right guys: Where is the Messiah?”
I’m not saying that 75 year-old Tom Laughlin — part visionary, part wack-doodle, part eminently sensible American who’s not stupid and who genuinely cares — is any kind of marketable Messiah, but there’s a common chord in what he and Eastwood are saying — a common lament and a hope-against-hope that I’ll bet hundreds of thousands of Americans are feeling as well.
Barack Obama is no messiah and no saint and he’s not as tough as he could be on issues like health care, but he’s The Guy right now. He’s got that Bobby Kennedy-in-’68, special-aura thing. People of different political tribes, persuasions and affiliations seem to be hugely taken with the guy. And I just think he really has to go for it in ’08 and not four years later. People know he’s Presidential timber and that it’s all but inevitable he’ll run.
If Obama declares, I have a feeling that Laughlin and Eastwood and many, many people in between will vote for him.