“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Election day is upon us and my mind goes to V for Vendetta. The movie is about oppressive regimes and, more importantly, people finding a voice. It is a strongly emotional film for me not because of the violence, but because of the symbolism. Yes, V is out for vengeance, but we are all V, having been co-opted into a system that doesn’t seem to have our best interests at heart. At least we can vote. The scene at the very end, where V’s future, alternate universe gunpowder plot succeeds, always leaves me with damp eyes. By virtue of watching many movies, I am not prone to shed tears at what I know to be fiction. But some fiction possesses a verisimilitude that fact lacks. V for Vendetta is one such fictional vision.
I grew up a Fundamentalist Republican before such a combination was de rigueur. I also grew up believing in liberty, an idea that often resonates with those who don’t have much in the way of material goods. At least we have our freedom. By the time I attended a Christian college, I learned the error of my ways. I asked around to find out why America always seemed to get involved with conflicts under GOP administrations. I learned that, in some cases anyway, belief that Armageddon was around the corner motivated such wars. Even some presidents believed, as their religion taught, that the end of the world was nigh and it was their duty to hasten the process. Be careful what you vote for.
As I stood in long lines waiting for a bus out of New York City yesterday, I listened as other passengers wanted to talk. Hurricane Sandy left many people in poor circumstances, feeling the pain that is only alleviated by sharing. They told of devastated neighborhoods where people who hardly knew one another came together, naturally, to help each other. I listened to descriptions of those with power opening their houses and sharing their food with people they didn’t know. It wasn’t because the government forced them to—they did it because it was the right thing to do. When I watch V for Vendetta I don’t cry because I approve of violence; I have been a pacifist since childhood. I cry because the vision of justice prevailing is so beautiful that no other response seems appropriate. With that vision in mind, I am heading out to vote.