This Land (2022)

On November 3, 2020, the most monumental presidential election in modern memory was held in the United States. We’d been through four years of Donald Trump, a global pandemic and a growing divide between the people of our country. You know, I do my best not to get political on this site — it’s my escape from that world — but this movie forces me to.

This Land looks at Americans from all walks of life, like a Native American man dealing with his past, an elderly gay couple made up of a white liberal and a black Trump supporter, and a rodeo clown trying to be a good father. They all have someone they want to win.

Director Matthew Palmer doesn’t pick sides or push any narrative in this film. He just documents the stories of people as they prepare to cast their vote. It’s surprising when the gay couple goes home to the liberal partner’s family and how they seem to gang up on the conservative; this makes me think of how we don’t even communciate any longer. We’ve made our minds up. Debates are just endless pro wrestling promos. No one is undecided. Much like our favorite football teams, we’ve all picked our colors and cheer them as they play their game. We’re all just watching the ratchet effect in motion, as Crimethinc once describe as “… the Republican Party steadily pulling public policy and permissible discourse to the right while Democrats, in seeking to acquire power by chasing the political center, serve as a mechanism that prevents policy and discourse from shifting back.”

I wonder a lot about what the truth is. I think I know, as much as I can, but I have no idea how anyone can see facts and ignore them. How they can see the truth and still willingly move past them or worse, say that those rules don’t matter or that someone is smart because they know the ways around them.

When I hear these voices, I’m reminded of the buillies that battered me in my youth, that dragged me all over a concrete parking lot and left stones embedded in my back and told me they’d kill my parents if I ever told on them. When I saw a man imitate a man who couldn’t stop shaking and laugh and call people snowflakes for being upset, I thought that this wouldd be the end of their campaign, that we’d see through it, but now the streets of my small hometown are lined with flags that say f*** your feelings and people speak in code like FJB and Let’s Go Brandon, but you know, everyone is complicit.

We’re just circling the wagons as we know that the Earth is growing too hot and we have just years, not even decades, to fix it. Everyone knows the problem and there’s nothing we can do short of revolution and that seems too hard. I’m not blameless. Sometimes I sit here all night and just bombard myself with movies and wonder just how I can bring it all together and realize that I can’t.

This movie made me consider those things and wonder if the choice that it presents was even really a choice. I’d like to think it was. But I also feel like we’re all just covering up the truth with bread and circuses.

This Land is out now on digital platforms from Gravitas Ventures.

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