I want to share a bit of personal trivia with you and then ask you for some serious contemplation. First of all, I have been married to Peace-Loving Warrior for 25 years and I had forgotten this bit of detail from his adolescence until we heard the trailer for the remake of one of our favorite movies, Red Dawn. In case you're unfamiliar with this classic movie, it's the story of a group of country kids who fight invading foreign troops on U.S. soil. Wolverines is the name of their high school mascot, and the name they adopt for their Resistance Force.
PLW worked summers at the local skeet range, (and in fact became a Junior Olympian skeet shooter) and often befriended many of the regulars who frequented the range. They were interesting characters, and he enjoyed many interesting conversations while he worked the stations. One in particular stands out. He is not very good at remembering dates, but thinks it was around 1980, and he struck up a conversation with John Milius, the director who had become famous for the film Conan the Barbarian. Naturally, people were crowding around him as he shot skeet, asking what projects he was working on. PLW remembers, very distinctly, Milius saying that he was co-writing a screenplay that was a picture of what might happen to America in the near future, called "Red Dawn."
But since that time, nearly 30 years ago, I have become aware of a strange phenomenon. I'm not the first to make the observation, and I know of people that are obsessed with looking for the clues. But have you noticed that our movies and TV shows seem to predict, in advance, some of the scenarios that play out in our national and international experience?
Just last week, I pointed out that the Terminator movies seemed to come awfully close to showing us what our world would be like when computers managed our lives; everything from scheduling our day to operating military exercises. There was also Will Smith's thriller, Enemy of the State, where we were introduced to the possibility of drones listening in to our conversations and following our every move. And remember the 2006 television series Jericho, where Americans experience first, nuclear attacks, and then an EMP, and must learn to survive in a whole new world? And who could forget X-files? The leading characters fought government conspiracies and cover-ups every single week for 9 years!
At the time, we think how clever these writers and directors are; how are they able to think up such far-fetched plots ..... yet they have a sense of reality to them. It's not until we look back, that we wonder. Were they trying to tell us something?
And with the reawakened memory of a short conversation with John Milius, PLW and I decided to revisit Red Dawn. It was with a mixture of nostalgia and anticipation that we began the film. Instantly, I was amazed at the accuracy of the setting of the movie, which is explained in the first seconds and blazed across the screen in bold type:
--- Soviet Union suffers worst wheat harvest in 55 years
--- Labor and food riots in Poland. Soviets invade.
--- Cuba and Nicaragua reach troop strategic goals of 500,000. El Salvador and Honduras fall.
--- Green Party gains control of West German Parliament. Dictates withdrawal of nuclear weapons from European soil
--- Mexico plunged into revolution
--- Nato dissolves, US stands alone
As we watched the rest of the movie, so much came into focus; things I never paid attention to and things that didn't have any significance 28 years ago. As the teenage heroes escape the early stages of the invasion by foreign troops, they stop by a friend's general store who instructs them to clean out the store: "take sleeping bags and food, arrows, lanterns, toilet paper, ammo, knives, batteries and down jackets." Pretty much a prepper's dream, right?
Scenes that seemed unfamiliar and impossible at the time are now openly talked about in some circles. Remember the scene where the boys steal back into town to find out what is happening, and the girl in the store warns Jed..... They took a lot of people away; those who were going to cause trouble; those who had guns. They took them to re-education camps.
But perhaps the most disturbing scenes are when the Spetsnaz (Russian special forces) are brought in to quell "the insurgents." Did you know that Russian special forces are currently training with our military at Fort Carson, Colorado? Does that make you feel just a little uneasy?
At the end of the movie, America survives. A Colonel of the invading Cuban forces recognizes the bravery of his young adversaries and allows them the dignity to die on their home soil, unmolested. "Go with God," are his parting words. I dare say that our enemies today will not give us the same decency. Finally, the movie fades with an image of a monument to the American brave who "in the early days of WWIII ...... gave up their lives so that this nation shall not perish form the earth."
As the credits rolled up the screen, I reflected on how different this movie affects me today. Back then, I was able to wipe the thoughts of any actual invasion or combat on American soil from my mind as inconceivable. But at this time, the film is much more disturbing and realistic. I urge you to rent it on Netflix and watch it in context of today's political climate; and then compare your reaction to the movie with how you felt the first time you saw it. For me, gone is the super-pride in American butt-kicking, and left in its' place is a sense of apprehension and recognition. I am anxious to see the new version, only to see if they do justice to the old. I'm pretty sure it will be more politically correct, and not as honest. One thing I know for sure ..... We are not the same country as we were in 1984, and I pray that the movie was more fiction than truth.
Ecclesiastes 9:12 "Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. "