November 30, 2023
The Revolution (The Founding of America)
(4.5 stars out of 5)
Cast: Mark Collins (George Washington)
Director: Alexander Emmert and Peter Schnall
Writer: Alexander Emmert and Stephen Stept
Genre: History, War
Run Time: 780 mins
Release Date: 2006
Country: United States
This is a documentary series with 13 episodes depicting the historical events from the stamp tax revolt by the British colonies in America that morphed into a fight for independence, and finally the founding of a nation. This gave a chronological 3-dimensional narrative of the whole struggle - heroes, the unsung heroes, the gallantry, the betrayal, the egoistical pursuit of glory, the idealism, internal conflict, and the horrors of war.
Narration as an Explainer
The whole series was a narration without any speaking parts from the actors. In a way, The Revolution was made easier to understand because the narration was an explainer of what was happening, why it was happening and also provided analysis that tied everything together. I found it very helpful and it did not take anything away from the viewer-engagement of the series.
Until this series, I did not know anything about George Washington except that he was the first president of the republic. But this series painted a grueling picture of what he went through in the 8 years that he was fighting the revolution on the battlefront dodging bullets while going through scorching heat and sub-zero winters with hardly food, shelter and clothing for his unpaid and starving army. It was fitting that at the end of the series, it was said that George Washington should not only be the president, but he must be the president to see the continuity of this fledgling republic.
If not George Wahington, I thought B. Franklin would also be a fitting president. He was a savvy diplomat, wise and politically astute. He could also be a great Secretary of State.
There's something about B. Franklin that pulls me in. First, legendary investor Charlie Munger who is known for his exceptional wisdom and intellectual curiosity (he is also a close associate of another legendary investor, Warren Buffet), once remarked that in his house, he has the bust of 2 people he admired the most - Lee Kuan Yew and Benjamin Franklin. This says a lot about Benjamin Franklin. Next, as I was viewing a podcast of Joe Rogan interviewing acclaimed biography author Walter Isaacson (my favorite author after reading his biography of Henry Kissinger), I learned that he also wrote a biography of Benjamin Franklin. So, this 18th-century bigger-than-life character is calling out to me. For this, my next book (after Yoga Sutras by Patanjali) is Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.
Lincoln on my Throat
It's odd that I could memorize the Gettysburg Address of Lincoln and yet remain clueless on who the Philippine presidents are. An embellished US history was imposed on us in grade school. It only underscores the reality that despite being a sovereign nation, the Philippines still catches cold when the US sneezes - until the presidency of Duterte, the US continued its iron grip on Philippine affairs.
Men of Distinction
We were taught American history, and the names still ring familiar - Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, etc. This docu-series strung along these names and how they fit into history. Now I see a magnificent picture full of hardship, perseverance, doubt, dedication and heroism. Indeed, so much blood, sweat and tears were poured to defeat the greatest power on the planet and germinate this small colony into what it has become.
I was glued to my laptop binge-watching this series. This gave me new insight into what it took to found a country against all odds, defying the most powerful country during its time - Great Britain. This showcased what a dedicated group of motivated people can do against the yolk of tyrannical rule. I was inspired by the tenacity, courage, gallantry and vision of the Founding Fathers. This docu-series rekindled in me whatever admiration I used to have for this country.
World's Most Powerful
Fast-forward to today, just shy of 250 years later, this fledgling of a nation is now the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. Indeed, the Americans have accomplished so much in so short a time. There is much to be admired about the Americans. They deserve the beaming pride they have for themselves.
But I cannot help but shake my head. Given their idealism, their struggles and their resulting triumph, they are in the best position to understand what it means to be oppressed by a tyrannical rule. They can use their political, economic and military might to uphold the ideals of their Founding Fathers to ensure that democracy and freedom are given to the oppressed. But that's not how it has been played out.
This mighty country has been corrupted from the inside-out by special interest groups who have no interest in nation-building - big pharma, the military-industrial complex, big tech, etc. Politicians are more than willing to create laws in compliance to the interest of their fundraisers. In the meantime, social unrest, homelessness, drug addiction and crime become statistical roof-hitters.
Steal, Kill and Plunder...in the Name of Freedom and Democracy
This country throws the words 'democracy' and 'freedom' to topple legitimate democracies across the globe that defy America's incursion into their internal affairs. America's insatiable lust for global resources has morphed its ideals into bombing countries, changing regimes, and toppling governments. They bombed Vietnam out of the map in retaliation to an event that never happened (Gulf of Tonkin incident), they bombed and invaded Iraq over WMD (weapons of mass destruction) which never existed, etc. In short, America has become the monster it freed itself from 250 years ago. America has become the new global tyrant. It increasingly dominates most of the world as it simultaneously tightens its choke on its citizens for greater control - slowly turning it into a police state.
A Different Geo-Political Landscape
The world has changed drastically in the last decade. What used to be a monopoly of global power to America is now challenged by China - an unstoppable rising power. Russia is not wavering against US might. A convergence of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and So. Africa) is now introducing BRICS, a replacement to the dollar as the global reserve currency. If America was still run by people who had the dedication, morale incorruptibility, and vision of the Founding Fathers, I think this nation could forge through. But given its current state, its current leadership (Biden is practically senile and half-demented), it would not be surprising to see this great nation loosen its grip and slide down history as just another empire whose time has come and gone.
A few years ago, I was in conversation with an Army couple who saw action in the Middle East. They held mid-rank (Lieutenant?), articulate and smart. They were no longer in the service. I had a burning question but was hesitant for fear it could be taken wrongly. I had to be careful with my words. Finally, I asked them if America's trajectory is still compliant with the vision of the Founding Fathers. They honestly admitted that they felt conflicted serving the Army knowing fully well that America is run by special interest groups - and worst, their men were dying on the battlefields for reasons they know are a farce. This prompted them to sign-out and be civilians again.
I guess ambivalence is largely how I feel about the US. On one hand, I admire their struggle to found this great nation and accomplish so much in so little time. On the other hand, I feel contempt for the carnage they inflicted on the world including my own country.
Bless the Founding Fathers
I feel bad for the Founding Fathers. They probably will rise from their graves if they see how the country they risked life-and-limb for has been sliding down a slippery slope.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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