August 8, 2012 by Julia
You may have seen people promoting this movie already, and I promise you, it is absolutely 100% as good as everyone says it is. Rev. C.L. Bryant spent several years raising the funds, and then traveled all over the country filming it. The breadth of people, topics, and ideas is itself a part of the thesis; this movie is not just for small, isolated communities, but for EVERYONE, of any race and in any position in life. Click here for ticket and theater info (no, really, do it–you want to see this movie, which is made of sheer awesome).
Rev. Bryant used to be a leader in the NAACP, until he was hounded out for his opposition to abortion. Apparently, the NAACP wants to ignore the stats about the tragic effect abortion has on the black community. This inspired Rev. Bryant to take a step back and look not just at the single abortion issue, but the entirety of the modern African-American experience. Despite having weathered the horror of slavery and succeeding in its fight for civil rights, the black community appeared to be suffering once more–but from what?
The frame of reference Rev. Bryant uses is Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”
Are members of the black community “free at last?” If not, what is obstructing their freedom?
Runaway Slave suggests–very successfully–that the entitlement state, the reliance on government for one’s wellbeing, has destroyed the spirit of the black community and created a new set of shackles. Starting with LBJ’s Great Society program, which destroyed the family unit, the government progressively (pun intended) expanded its reach into African-American households. Instead of moving toward freedom, they have allowed themselves to become enslaved in mind, spirit, and bank account to the government–and the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, the government has made things infinitely worse with its entitlement tyranny.
The movie is in arranged in segments loosely devoted to one topic or person. Many of the individuals are “conductors” on a new Underground Railroad, freeing people from the government plantation. Especially interesting to me were the sections on abortion in the black community, the interview with Marvin Rogers (containing both a fascinating history lesson about the Democrats’ racist past and eyewitness accounts of the effects of the entitlement state on poor communities), and the introduction to the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
But perhaps most effective was the section on ending diversity-based school busing in Wake County, NC. Rev. Bryant attended an NAACP rally that appeared to be based more on politics than what was best for the students and the community. He then sat down with the school board, which contained people of various races, all of whom were committed to developing the best solutions to help the students, whether the NAACP approved or not. That one conversation debunked everything the NAACP had claimed about the end of the busing program during its rally; clearly, the NAACP was motivated by something other than the truth, and had something to gain by telling people that they were still victims of racism who needed the government to fix everything.
I would not have fully understood the quote at the bottom of the above graphic without having read a book recently, Escape from Camp 14, about a man born in a North Korean work camp. Shin Dong-hyuk says much the same thing: having been born into the camp, he never knew there was such a thing as freedom to wish for. Instead, all he wished for was enough food to eat. It was only after someone from the outside was sent to the camp and told Shin Dong-hyuk about the outside world that he began to yearn for escape and freedom.
Runaway Slave is, hopefully, a similar catalyst for the entitlement generation. There is freedom in providing for yourself, in making your own way; you lose your basic human dignity if you become dependent on the government or the sugar-coated promises of the Left in exchange for baubles. The Left promises the moon, but what you give up–freedom, dignity, the human spirit–is much more precious than what the government doles out in return. And here is the real point of the movie: we are all at risk. Entitlements may have been aimed at the black community, but they are enticing to people of all races and colors. Everyone may be in danger of succumbing to the doublespeak promises of socialism, economic slavery tied up in a gift box labeled “Free Stuff!” This is not a black or a white problem, it’s an American problem, and only a unified America, undivided by so-called racial lines, can set things right.
So run, America! Run toward freedom! And if you get tired, America? RUN HARDER!