The Hope and the Change: A Review

Two weeks ago Steve and I interviewed conservative film maker Stephen K. Bannon on his newly released film, The Hope and the Change, after having had the privilege of screening it early.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, as someone who was raised in a politically engaged, conservative household and saw through Obama the second he burst onto the scene, because this film’s sole focus is on everyday, hard-working Democrats and Independents who did believe in Obama’s promises in 2008. Enough to vote for him enthusiastically:

Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was a cathartic moment in American history that promised the electorate “Hope” and “Change.” Citizens United Productions’ latest film, The Hope and The Change, examines the journey of forty Americans – Democrats and Independents – who supported and voted for President Obama four years ago.

This 60 minute documentary follows the daily lives of hard-working Democrats and Independents through unscripted and unrehearsed interviews. Our diverse cast encompasses a broad cross-section of America’s racial and socio-economic spectrum and comes from seven swing states that experts say will decide the 2012 presidential election. Viewers will see how their nation’s economy and society has changed over the past four years under the policies of President Obama.

As I watched the spontaneous interviews, I was struck by how earnestly these folks believed in President Obama, for example, his campaign promise to cut the deficit in half, which of course never happened. These good people described in earnest their utter disappointment and confusion when shortly after taking office, instead of working to improve our ailing economy, Obama passed a second stimulus and auto bailout and rammed a massive government-run healthcare scheme down the throats of the American public.

Although part of me shook my head at their surprise, another part of me felt genuine sympathy for these voters who truly felt “duped” by the President. As one of them states, President Obama pulled a “bait and switch”.

Yet inexplicably, Stephen Bannon notes in our interview that none of them ascribe nefarious motives to the President, viewing him as a nice guy who is just in over his head. Although his policies may scream “socialist”, these disillusioned voters do not see him that way, partially because these are people who are engaged in civic society in their local communities, but not in the political process. In short, they comprise some of the “bitter clingers” derided by Barack Obama in 2008 but because they are low-information voters and/or not listening to or reading new media talk shows or blogs, they are still getting their news through an extremely biased legacy media.

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In the interview, I note some of the absolute filth and viciousness spewed by the left against conservatives, Republicans and everyday Americans, incredulous that decent people could possibly align themselves politically with such degradation. Bannon noted that conservatives “don’t rub their noses in it enough” to wake them up to the realities of the left and today’s Democrat Party. Indeed, he goes on to say that none of the voters featured in the film are going to change their registration to Republican anytime soon.

But none will be voting for Barack Obama, even if not all will be casting a vote for Mitt Romney, which is certainly a “hopeful” development. After speaking with Stephen, I became more determined to get out of the echo chamber and start reaching out to the fence-sitters and moderate Democrats in my life. There aren’t many, but they need to be informed. These are good people who work hard, pay taxes, raise families and basically live conservative lives — it’s simply mind-boggling that they are unwittingly falling for liberal lies.

The biggest lesson I came away with after watching this film is that we are doing voters such as the ones featured in The Hope and the Change a huge disservice by withholding information that can help them make better voting decisions for themselves, their families and the country. Time to toss out the old adage about not discussing religion and politics and start conversing with swing voters who determine election outcomes.

If you’re struggling to understand the mindset of these citizens, I highly recommend watching The Hope and the Change and sharing it with every voter you know. You just might save the country in the process.

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