In the Paul Newman movie from the 1960s, "Cool Hand Luke", the rather authoritarian warden of the work camp would proclaim to a prisoner, "Git yer mind right" just before he put them in "the box." The "box" was the 60s prison movie genre version of a sensory deprivation tank. A prisoner would be given a stay in the "box" commensurate with the seriousness of the rule he broke. Paul Newman's character, Luke, spent alot of time in the "box". As a child, I thought sitting in a box by myself was preferable to swinging a pick ax out on a hot road for 12 hours a day. But then I was a strange child. I digress.
After a prisoner's stay in the "box", he would emerge half-dead but with "his mind right." I thought about this movie after the recent election, and how we as Americans have to spend time in the "box" to get our minds right. The "box" I'm talking about is the one created by President Obama and the Democrats. It is constructed of chronically high unemployment, credit worthiness crushing debt, a drowning pool of Federal regulations and the ruination of the best health care system in the world. Not to mention the emotionally draining rhetoric of class warfare and the community organizing strategy of divide and conquer. The President and his thugs are waiting for us to emerge from the "box" with our spirits broken and ready to accept their authoritarian work camp environment.
But the other way to look at the "box" and its subsequent "mind righting", is that we need to spend time in isolation from prosperity and liberty in order to learn our lesson. We can emerge from the "box" with a determination to change our situation and escape from the work camp of Liberal policy. This is the approach that Luke took in the movie. Throughout his many ordeals in and out of the "box", he never lost the will to escape in an effort to separate himself from the clutches of the warden and his henchmen. Even if Luke had to act as if he was broken, he played the part so as to gain the trust of his captors and, when they least expected it, he would escape again.
We can learn much from the fictional character of Luke. He valued his freedom more than anything, even as it turned out in the end, more than his life. Luke's original crime was stupidity, getting drunk and cutting the tops off of parking meters. But like us, even if it meant spending time in the "box", he wasn't going to abandon all hope of being free. He struggled to rehabilitate himself, not from the stupidity of his crime, but from the frivolous treatment of his freedom. We too have treated our freedom frivolously, and we have brought ourselves to the cusp of losing it forever. But like Luke, we must get our minds right. Not in the acquiescent resignation of acceptance, but in the renewed spirit to fight with our final breath, if necessary, to fully restore our liberty.
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