To kill a mocking bird – paralells to today


It’s the end of democracy

Actor Jeff Daniels joins Nicolle Wallace to discuss the Trump presidency, the average American voter, and how the current political climate impacts his performance of Atticus Finch in Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” How about reading the classic book in class and discussing it in light of what is happening in politics today? Watch the clip below and discuss in class.

A literary classic, it’s a distinctly American story and it is a story that America likes to tell about itself – one that acknowledges inequality and the problems of pluralism, but also suggests an arc that bends toward justice, at however oblique an angle. In a small southern town, a black man, Tom Robinson, stands accused of the rape of a white woman. Atticus Finch (played here by Jeff Daniels) is the white man, “a lawyer who gets paid in vegetables”, charged with defending him. Atticus’s children, Jem and Scout, as well as their friend Dill, observe the trial and its inevitable, tragic aftermath.

These experiences teach the children – and Atticus, too – that while evil exists in the world, they must fight that evil with all the goodness they can muster. It’s not such a bad lesson as lessons go, but today its delivery is a problem – an imperiled black body becomes a vehicle for white people’s moral education. Source: The Guardian.

Relevance today and discussing the 2020 election

JEFF DANIELS: Children are watching. And I live in Michigan. After the election, I was surprised, some of the people, you know I said, can you believe this election? They go, yeah, isn’t it great? And you’re going, whoa. And my wife’s on Facebook, oh, we got another Trumper. You didn’t see it coming. Atticus goes through this. I know these people. They’re good people. There are reasons why. He’s an apologist, he’s an enabler, and I think there are people in the Midwest, between the coasts, who don’t know anything about this, who don’t care about this, they don’t have time for this, who have to make a decision now.

You have to decide whether, like Atticus, you believe there is still compassion, decency, civility, respect for others, do unto others, remember that? Do unto others. All that stuff you guys believe in, and you still voted not for Hillary, or for Trump, where are you now? Because your kids are looking up at you going, but he lies. And I think there are a lot of people in the Midwest who are going, it might be enough for them. We’re going to find out. If the big gamble is to go all the way to November 2020, which I agree, and lose, it’s the end of democracy.

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