‘Selma’ shows real heroism



In my last column I wrote about Chris Kyle and his portrayal in the film “American Sniper.”

At the time, I had not seen the film, but I intended to watch it during the coming weekend. Instead I ended up seeing “Selma,” which chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight against the suppression of black voters during the civil rights movement.

After seeing “Selma” I began to understand that this film, like “American Sniper,” focused on heroism.

King applied pacifism and nonviolent resistance to achieve his political goals.

In one scene in the film, King is approached by a young, white man who punches him in the face without any sort of reason or provocation.

Did King fight back or use violence to solve the problem? No. He turned the other cheek and went about his business.

Our culture could learn something from King’s pacifist philosophy, especially at a time where we consider gunning down 160 people the ultimate display of heroism.

Whether or not you think Kyle’s actions in the Iraq War were heroic, it’s not a stretch to say that the success of “American Sniper” has been partially fueled by our culture’s affection for violence.

There is a reason why we have the highest rate of gun ownership out of any country on earth and spend more on our military than the next eight countries combined.

It’s because we as Americans, to a certain extent, believe violence is a go-to option when trying to alleviate the world’s problems. And how often does this mindset work in our favor?

We used violence to overthrow dictators in Iraq and Libya just within my lifetime, and these areas are just as, if not more, unstable now than they were when we intervened.

One argument that I always hear from people who support warfare as a tool in international relations is that “the only way to stop a bully is to go up and punch him in the mouth.”

Well, King didn’t abide by this policy, and he was able to challenge an entire government full of bullies, forever changing the social fabric of our country in the process.