Guest Submission By Ray Gross
If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way. – Emile Zola
I live in San Francisco – ground zero for liberal America. You would think that changing minds here about Sarah Palin would be more difficult than getting Nancy Pelosi to tell the truth. But as I recently found out, the light of truth does have the power to disperse the darkness of lies, even in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco.
Sunday night I decided to have a screening of The Undefeated in my living room and invite a few of my liberal San Francisco friends over. None of them knew why I had invited them, although I told them I wanted them to watch something on TV with me. Being that these guests are my good friends, they obliged me, and, of course, came over for the free wine and Chinese food.
Luck would have it that one of my guests had been a journalist previously. Luck would also have it that he gave me my segue into the movie they were about to view. During our dinner conversation, Ray happened to bring up his past as a journalist for a Florida newspaper in the early 80’s. The conversation turned to the sorry state of journalism today. He noted, “In my day, we reporters never published anything until we checked our facts. It isn’t that way today. Today’s “journalists” are not real journalists. They are sorry excuses for journalists.”
I decided this was my moment. I agreed with him and remarked that it was an interesting subject to bring up. I asked my guests, “In light of the sorry state of journalism, if you were told that the media had completely, for whatever reason, purposely depicted and reported falsehoods and inaccuracies about something or someone, would you want to know about it?”The response from each of my guests was a resounding “Yes.” I inquired further about how they would feel if the misleading reporting resulted in the negative view they developed about a person they disagreed with. There affirmative responses were a bit more cautious.
I paused for a moment and then I went for it asking, “Would you all be open to finding out tonight about one very glaring example of how those sorry-excuse-for-journalists and the media has manipulated you and the public into believing something that may not be at all true?” Unanimous nods followed. I then told them the reason I invited them over was to watch a movie I wanted them to see. I asked them for one favor before it started. I asked that they try and put away all preconceived notions and feelings they have about the person featured in the movie and watch it with open minds and open hearts.
We moved into the living room where I slipped The Undefeated into the DVD player. The movie started. There was a nervous silence (for me) for the next 2 ½ hours, except for an occasional “hmmmm” and “hmm” coming from the others in the room. When the film was over, the silence continued. One guest broke the silence with, “What can we do change things?” followed by “I never knew any of that stuff about her.” Another guest remarked at how much she was able to accomplish as mayor of Wasilla and was impressed about how Governor Palin took on big oil and the corrupt Republican party in Alaska and mentioned, “The attacks on her were vile. And these are the same people who are acting horrified at what Rush Limbaugh said.”
My guests seemed to understand that they had been manipulated by the media and by political parties. I could see how the truth they had just witnessed was conflicting with their own, often, irrational biases and judgments of Sarah Palin. Although I had prepared a speech to give at the end of the movie, it suddenly seemed best not to say too much and to just let them process the fragile feelings they were having. I recognized what they were feeling. As a former misguided Democrat and professed “liberal”, I knew what it felt like to have the truth shove a stake into something I falsely believed.
As I listened to my friends discuss the movie, and even some of the merits of Sarah Palin discussed in the movie, I realized something. I used the truth to help open the eyes of these three people. The seed was planted that would hopefully start them on their own journey of self discovery, growth, independence and, most importantly, their own awakening – just as I had started mine three years ago when someone planted the seed of truth in me.
The Undefeated proved to be a powerful weapon against the lies and manipulation of the media and the political elites against Governor Palin. And if I could begin to change the hearts and minds of three San Francisco liberals with the truth of The Undefeated, imagine what we could all do if we all gently, lovingly and with great confidence in knowing the truth, helped lead our friends and family away from the those who continue to hold their grasp on them with their misinformation and lies. Each one my friends thanked me for showing them The Undefeated. As they left, I was feeling such hope and power. Power and hope to be able to defeat ignorance and, yes, intolerance. I was feeling proud of their willingness to watch The Undefeated with me. And I was proud of my courage in presenting it to them. As the door closed on my last guest, I was feeling a little “undefeated”.