“A blind person is a mouth with no hands.”–Nepalese Proverb.
I confess that lately I’ve let too much time elapse between blog posts. I haven’t given up on “media that matter,” the mission of my blog, FrontRowCenter. But, frankly, I admit that I’ve been short-circuited by media “on the dark side,” i.e., the Donald J. Trump Dog and Pony Show playing out via every news media franchise, talk show and stand-up comedian in the universe. I can’t get my head, hands or heart around the fact that Americans … Americans I know and love … are actually going to vote for Donald J. Trump for President of the United States. Have they become so beguiled by the media coverage and “message” promulgated by this snake oil salesman that “magical thinking” has become the norm?
What will possess American voters to kick common sense and the lessons of our shared past to the curb and give a thumbs up to Donald J. Trump for the highest office in the land? Do they care to remember the mission of our founding fathers and the hard-won tenets of our U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights’, women’s and LGBT movements; or the lessons learned from our wars fought at home and abroad, and the seeds that continue to incite fascist regimes on foreign soil.
This is a man whose public cred comes via his ownership of The Miss Universe Pageant and The Apprentice reality show franchise and has a boatload of failed businesses on his unbalanced credit sheet. This is a man who has farmed out production of his own products to Third World countries and whose get-rich-quick “Trump University” scam bilked hard-working, unemployed middle-class Americans out of thousands of their hard-earned savings.
How do working-class Americans justify Trump’s anti-immigrant stance and Bill Clinton vilification in light of Trump’s own womanizing past, his foreign-born first and third wives, and his collection of solid gold-appointed homes? Will taking an adversarial stand against the free press and our Judicial system pay big dividends? Some of us are still waiting to see your tax returns, Mr. Trump!
Is Trump the new role model for our children and our children’s children who may aspire one day to become President of the United States? Will rude, crass behavior become the norm: bullying, belittling the handicapped, treating women as sex objects, fanning the flames of paranoia and inciting violence and suspicion against those of different races, religions, nationalities or sexual orientations? Do Donald J. Trump or his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, belong in the White House, once the home of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, JFK, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt?
As an antidote to the incendiary hoopla that is bound to unfold this week during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, (July 18-21, 2016), I draw your attention instead to Open Your Eyes, a short, touching documentary filmed by Oscar-nominated director Irene Taylor Brodsky. Her film debuts on HBO tonight, July 18, 2016, 7:30-8:10 p.m. ET/PT. (Check listings for additional HBO playdates in the weeks ahead and availability on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand.)
Brodsky documents the three-day odyssey of an elderly Nepalese couple, Manisara and Durga, as they journey from their remote farm in the Himalayan Mountains to an eye hospital in the city for life-changing cataract surgery. Blinded and weathered by a lifetime of exposure to the sun, the couple soon lay side by side in an operating room where their cataracts are removed free of charge in approximately six minutes. They return to their farm and their family with sight restored. And, after years of being relegated to the sidelines as virtual invalids, they are clearly energized by the sight and feel of the gorgeous Himalayan landscape on the horizon and beneath their bare feet, as well as their “reintroduction” to their livestock, and, most movingly of all, to their children and grandchildren.
Open Your Eyes notes that “nearly 40 million people worldwide are blind, mostly from cataracts, and 90 percent of them live in the poorest countries.” The film shines a light on the sight-restoring work of the Seva Foundation, the international nonprofit headquartered in Berkeley, California, that is responsible for supporting the implementation of free cataract surgery and other sight-related services to millions worldwide.
If you need a respite from the empty rhetoric and negativity emanating from the Republican National Convention this week, take a break and explore the work of the Seva Foundation and watch Irene Brodsky’s latest film, Open Your Eyes. This lovely little slice of positivity debuts on HBO tonight, July 18, 2016, 7:30-8:10 p.m. ET/PT. (Check listings for additional HBO playdates in the weeks ahead and availability on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand.) –Judith Trojan