June 7, 2011, - 3:07 pm
There are so few movies out there about American history that are truly accurate. And few of those are the kind from which you truly learn something. “The Road to Independence,” an animated movie, is one of them. It’s written, directed, and produced by SiriusXM Patriot Channel morning host Mike Church. (Full Disclosure: I do movie reviews on Mike’s show, every Friday morning between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Eastern. But if I didn’t like this movie, I wouldn’t post a review). It’s the story of the Founding Fathers’ debate whether or not to declare independence from the British and how from 1774 to 1776, we were headed on a path in which independence was unlikely to happen.
This movie is especially good for family viewing and educating school-aged children–and even college and grad students–on something they’ll never learn elsewhere, so they don’t grow up ignorant. But it’s good for parents and those without kids, too. And it’s a great companion to his first animated movie, “The Spirit of ’76” (read my review). The movie involves Thomas Jefferson, in old age, recounting to a newspaper reporter, what happened in his philosophical fight and debate for America’s independence. We not only see the debate between the states at the Continental Congress, but also General Washington’s demoralized discussions with his wife about the state of his troops during the fighting in the Revolutionary War. We also see the battle plan that eventually beat the British at Bunker Hill and the battle plans for Long Island.
Some of the dialogue might surprise those who are less than adequately informed about American history–which are, sadly, most Americans. John Dickinson, one of Pennsylvania’s delegates to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, eventually become Governor of that state. But he wasn’t that gung ho on the whole independence thing, speaking out fervently against it and being moved out of voting on it so that the vote would be unanimous.
Some of Dickinson’s statements sound all too familiar, as they are reminiscent of today’s leftists who seek international approval and the applause of enemy states before America makes a move . . . or as THE reason that America makes a move, such as our ill-fated waste of billions in President Obama’s current, ceaseless attack on Libya, which is going nowhere. In opposing the Declaration of Independence, Dickinson demands that we wait until France (and other foreign powers) recognizes the new American state and establishes foreign relations. Huh? We were supposed to let our independence ride on the whim of the Frogs? That was Dickinson’s position. And he had a lot of others among the Founding Fathers considering his position.
But, in the movie–and his real life dialogue, Dickinson’s words show something I’ve always known about the Founders, even those who opposed independence or strongly debated it. He and all of the Founders–no matter whether they were loyalists to the King or ready to move on to our own nation–were men of great intelligence, intellect, and oratorical and written skill, whose depth was so immense that today’s leaders and elected officials–almost all of them from both major parties–are embarrassingly bankrupt in comparison. We were so lucky to have such great men developing this inchoate nation. We are so unfortunate, today, to have the morons, ne’er-do-wells, and frauds, who simply are insects urinating on the sidewalk in comparison to such giants like Jefferson, Dickinson, and Adams. You knew that. I knew that. But this movie really brings it out in such a stark way.
Dickinson had a great quote, which he used to argue against declaring independence, but which has bold relevance today:
Men covet history and delude themselves that they may have a glorious place in it.
Yup, that’s George W. Bush pandering to Muslims after 9/11 and imploring us to respect “women of cover,” a BS-term he made up for Muslim women wearing the headscarves of hate and oppression, which they wear so that Muslim men don’t have to control their impulses.
Barack Obama deludes himself this way, giving speech after pandering speech to the Muslim world instead of fortifying our borders. But, hey, he already has his “glorious place” in history ‘cuz he won a meaningless Nobel Prize for nothing.
And every single Israeli leader deludes himself into this view when he further amputates his country thinking it will bring the non-existent peace with Islamic terrorist surrounding his already anemic borders.
That quote from well over 200 years ago describes pretty much every Western leader today.
But “Road to Independence” isn’t just Jefferson and Dickinson. John Adams plays quite a big role in the movie. And he’s shown–contrary to most contemporary portrayals–as kind of a slob, in both appearance, dress, and demeanor. But a brilliant, patriotic slob. Mike Church, who is truly a scholar of American history, says that this was the real Adams, and he wanted to capture and bring that forth. His wife isn’t sure he should be so involved in the forefront of America’s independence, and neither is he, at first. But, then, he is resolved to go forth. And he really shoots down the more polished (at least, in appearance) Dickinson’s arguments against the new nation emerging. It’s debate like that you rarely see today, and definitely don’t see in a Congress obsessed with private parts on Twitter. The debate in the movie reminded me of the intellectual sparring the late William F. Buckley, Jr. used to nimbly perform on his television show.
There are also the best and some of the greatest speeches given by Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin (played by Jay Thomas).
We know the ending: America eventually declared independence, and we became a nation. But it’s how we almost didn’t get there–and the heated debate between great men–that is well presented here in a way that reinforces my belief in Mike Church as an important American historian in contemporary times and truly brilliant. And a tremendous patriot. Mike Church and his family poured their heart, soul, and minds, as well as considerable finances, to produce a terrific portrayal of American history in the making. His Founding Father Films is the kind of studio we need more of in America and throughout the West.
Get your copy of “Road to Independence-The Movie” in time to watch before Independence Day/July 4th.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: 1774, 1776, American History, American Independence, animated, Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, delegates, George Washington, John Adams, John Dickinson, Mike Church, Mike Church Show, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Patrick Henry, patriot, Patriot Channel, Road to Independence, Sirius, SiriusXM, Thomas Jefferson, vote, XM