It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time."-- Winston Churchill
Today here in the United States is the one day of the year that can make people well up with pride at the most basic aspects of how our country runs. It's Election Day, and even if you don't live in a swing state where your vote could determine who will become the President (hi, Ohio!) and even if you don't have a clue of who deserves your vote, you get the chance to step into a booth and make your choices among your elected officials. It's something that feels so standard and familiar these days, but when the country was first started 250 years ago, it was revolutionary.
So on a day when a lot of us are feeling especially proud to cast our votes, we decided to highlight some movies that can make you feel equally delighted with democracy, year-round. If you come home from your polling place today and want to keep that warm, fuzzy feeling going, one of these seven movies ought to do the trick.
The American President
A lot of Aaron Sorkin’s work makes you want to rush to the booth and cast your vote. Whether it's on television (The West Wing) or demanding the truth even when you can’t handle it on the stage and screen (A Few Good Men), his career is full of political stories and characters that are almost annoyingly patriotic. Boy do they love to pontificate! And while most of the tales scream ‘USA!,’ one of the quieter demonstrations of Sorkin’s love of country is a romantic comedy where one person in the blossoming couple just happens to be The American President.
Okay, so it’s obviously still a very political film, but framing all the rhetoric around the romance makes the democratic cheerleading seem at least a little bit less in your face although no less effective. Directed by Rob Reiner, Sorkin’s 1995 film follows Michael Douglas’ widowed, single-father Commander in Chief losing favor with the public as he starts dating environmental lobbyist Annette Bening. It’s a great look at the nation’s need to know everything about their leader’s personal lives instead of just caring about how well they do their job. It’s also an interesting look behind the Washington spin scene and the final speech is Sorkin at his most inspiring; “My name is Andrew Shepherd and I am the President.”