05 July 2012


It's been well over a month since I gave Dish the boot and went with Netflix. I'm still enjoying Netflix as much as when I first signed up. It is, IMO, a terrific value.

I recently watched a Robert Redford movie called The Conspirator. I don't always agree with Redford's politics but I have always admired him as an actor and film maker. The Conspirator is about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the subsequent trial of Mary Surratt who ran the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators hung out.

When the government rounds up the conspirators Mary is caught up in the net and thrown into prison with the rest. Surratt is defended by a reluctant young lawyer who by the end of the movie believes that Mary is a victim herself. Her only crime being she owned the boarding house and spawned one of the actual conspirators. It was Mary's own son who brought the conspiracy into her home.

Instead of being tried by a jury of her peers Mary was tried by military tribunal. Her treatment was appalling and the bias toward convicting her pervasive. The secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, is hell bent on hanging Mary. He really could care less about her guilt or innocence. He simply wants her hung and will use his considerable power to have his wishes carried out.

Over the course of the trial Surratt wins over her reluctant young lawyer and in the end a deal is struck so that Surratt may escape the hangman's noose. For no apparent reason, other than an over the top ego, Stanton talks president Johnson into reneging on the deal at the eleventh hour. Mary swings with the rest.

This isn't the best Redford film I've ever watched, by far.  I do trust that Redford tried to make the movie as accurate as possible. And, it left me thinking our government has been rife with corruption and power hungry, soulless politicians since its inception. That their have been those in power playing fast and loose with our liberties all along. The older I get and the more I learn I realize what I was taught in school was carefully crafted propaganda. It makes me wonder if the America I grew up loving ever existed at all except in our minds.

©Kinsey Barnard

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