Bridges That Cannot Be Torn Down



Film Rhetoric uses the film Bridge of Spies to look at America's treatment of other people

In today’s world distrust, paranoia and xenophobia run rampant. These are concepts that the media helps to spread and is then reinforced by a variety of groups of people. These groups may range from isolationist, nationalist and faith-based. The susceptibility of an individual to fall into distrust, paranoia and xenophobia is heavily influenced by economic status, life/world experience and a level of general ignorance. The effects of this can be closely felt and very wide ranging. Falling into these relatively negative concepts may cause people to demonize the wrong person (or people), make life decisions that impact others and unnecessarily make life harder for themselves.

This problem is one of many themes and points of discussion brought to light in the film, “Bridge of Spies”. Director Steven Spielberg has a strong history of making historical relevant films. Among these include Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple and Schindler’s List. In “Bridge of Spies” the plot revolves around the American treatment of a Russian spy who had been arrested and the subsequent trade of the Russian spy for an American fighter pilot captured behind the Russian border. This film takes place during the cold war. A time period during the 1960s where Russia in the form of the U.S.S.R. embodied the role of boogeyman in American society. A country who was stable and strong enough to compete with the U.S.A. and with an economical system (communism) that Americans were taught to fear and demonize.

The American treatment of this Russian spy is demonstrated through the public opinion of the common American riding a commuter train during the course of the film and in how an American judge and law firm treat the spy in making him an exception to the law. As the foil to this treatment of the spy is the lawyer who represents the spy. Without exception he believes in the purity of the law and that his country should demonstrate to the world who they are. That they can stand above the differences between two groups of people and treat the spy as a human being rather than a citizen of a foreign power.

Fast forward to today, some would describe the country’s current state of affairs as one of “a fight for civilization”. We are in a conflict with a group who appears to aim at disrupting several countries’ governments and economies in the name of their faith. It is not a conflict of spy operations as the cold war was but one of military strikes, security placements and retaliations. While during the cold war the large threat on the public’s mind was on attack of a nuclear nature; now the threat is a downed plane or a suicide bomber. Though we have traded a competitive economic system for a competitive faith.

As opposed to condemning a person because he chose to serve another country; we as a country are condemning more than a quarter of the world for their beliefs. We are condemning them for the very thing that makes us who we are. We are raised with the notion that as an American you are free and protected to believe in what you want to believe in. Should this belief end for people who were not born in the U.S.A. or have enough money to find their own way into the U.S.A. Shouldn’t we in spirit and perspective extend our value system to the world; Shouldn’t everyone in the world be free to believe in what they want to believe in as far as our perspective and lent opinion goes.

The adoption of this global position would be a key element to surviving this current conflict that we ind ourselves in. This would teach our children a new level of acceptance which would then reciprocate through the generations and on an immediate level we would show the world who we are and we could help the world itself to end this particular cycle.


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