My wife and I are doing the Oscar Shuffle, hustling to the theater to see all the nominated movies before the big night so we're knowledgeable about them. A friend is hosting an Academy Award party so it's important we know what we're talking about with the nominations. We saw "Argo" yesterday.
I enjoyed the movie. It was from my time. The guys at the CIA and in Hollywood spoke my language, swearing like I often did back in those days, with the same vein of dark humor exposed. Like most, I was struck by how adeptly Ben Affleck kept the tension up, so you worried about what was going to happen, even though you knew the outcome. Looking up the facts afterward at home, we were amused by his dramatic license. But, hey, it's a movie, and it made good entertainment.
The beginning, with the voice over explaining the situation, struck me, though. Once again, there was the third rail. The third rail is the one you don't touch because doing so will jolt you to Kingdom Come, which apparently is so far over the rainbow, you'll need more than some ruby slippers and wishful thinking to get back home.
The original third rail reference is to that rail that provides electricity to a railway train. Now it refers to matters that are considered dangerous to touch. In this case, I thought the third rail was wealth inequality and power abuse.
Jumping back in time, the Shah had been put into place thanks to a coup the US and Brits engineered. He then kept power through secret police and torture. While he lived lavishly, his people starved.
Such behavior is expected from dictators, no matter who installed them. But that situation, that the wealthy are getting wealthier and wealthier while more and more of the world's population goes wanting, is being broadcast across our televisions and the Internet each night. We're not just talking about Syria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Iraq, and Libya, we're talking Spain, Greece, and...the United States. People are being tossed out of homes. Their savings are gone. Protestors are taking to the streets around the world to protest the growing gap in the division of wealth.
Yet, around the world, many wealthy and powerful people are denying it's a problem. The problem in their language is that they're being taxed too much, so they're not able to create as many jobs as they would, if only they weren't so heavily taxed.
Ah, that's the third rail. Don't touch. In fact, many prefer to pretend it doesn't exist. Well, as the Shah saw, things can change.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com