Taking The Red Pill: The Tea Party Outside The Matrix
Do you recall the end of the Matrix? You hear a phone ring. It’s picked up and connected to a modem. And then you hear Neo (Keanu Reeves) say:
I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world … without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries; a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
The message is a powerful one, even if it is yoked to a science fiction movie, and it’s worth exploring in context of the Tea Party and modern politics. It’s not for the you, the successful American people who stood up and took a step towards greater freedom. It’s for the statists, and the bureaucrats, and the global governance types who just can’t stand the idea of a free people shrugging off its chains.
Th epower of film is not to be taken lightly. The ability to influence people with pictures and music is well-known, and yet it still retains the power to move us. The modern cinema, just barely a hundred years old, is as valid as medium as the live theater performances of the ancient world. It gives us a common language to discuss the human condition, something to ponder when it’s done. It allows you to ask yourself, if I were a character in the movie, what would I have done?
The science fiction and fantasy fiction genres succeed because they make fans confront moral choices in stark contrast. In Star Wars, you’re either on the side of the Empire or the Rebels. In Star Trek, you’re either an explorer with a good heart or a barbarian/robot intent on destruction or assimilation. In Lord of the Rings, you’re either with the Dark Lord or the Men of the West. The storyline revolves around a character or group of characters with the power to make a difference. Some know they have the power, others don’t (with that discovery forming the basis of the story), but the end conclusion is the same. Given power, would you use it wisely, even to your own destruction?
The Matrix Trilogy is the same basic plot. A powerful champion discovers his gift, decides to use it for the good of the people, and then discovers that it is not enough. Ultimately he sacrifices himself against all odds and teams up with a former competitor to defeat a greater evil, which turns out to be the amoral Mr. Smith, a being who simply seeks to grow by consuming what others have made. Mr. Smith steals the identity of others and replicates himself, creating a mindlesss mass of automatons in a dark world.