JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Stranger at the Gate | The Martha Mitchell Effect (Directors: Joshua Seftel, Anne Alvergue, Debra McClutchy) - March 21, 2023 id="543337086">

Stranger at the Gate | The Martha Mitchell Effect

4.5 4.5

A pair of shorts that are long on substance.

Stranger at the Gate
29 minutes
Joshua Seftel
Four and one half stars

Paper targets that bleed

In just under 30 minutes, the story of ex-marine Richard McKinney’s extraordinary metamorphosis from Muslim hater (slaughtering untold numbers in Afghanistan), to convert and mosque leader is extraordinarily welcome in these days of war, increasing racism, wokeism (whatever that actually might be…) and, too frequent, the inability for so many of us to get along.

Ironically, the conversion by the love and kindness shown to the angry vet at his intended bomb target: Muncie Indiana’s modest place of worship for the area’s believers, saves many lives and most certainly transforms the would-be assassin.

At first (unless privy to the backstory), many viewers (myself included) watch with dread, fearing that McKinney’s candid interviews were being given while on death row.

But as the emotional tide begins to turn, I was struck by an incredible notion: What if newcomers and the different amongst were able to hold their breath (in this case the Bahrami family), and, literally, embrace their potential enemies rather than fail to turn the other cheek and push them into cowardly acts of senseless bullying, scorn and deadly violence?

As positive as this production is, its heartwarming message of real-life hope will be lost on those who know (and profit) from being better than the rest of us. JWR

The Martha Mitchell Effect
40 minutes
Anne Alvergue, Debra McClutchy
Four stars

Once again, doomed to repeat history

Substitute Donald Trump for Richard Nixon, Michael Cohen for John Mitchell and—most notably—Liz Cheney for Martha Mitchell (two embattled women, daring to speak truth to power) and it’s easy to see the sins of Watergate coming back to the White House in the present day, but with many more sequels: Inciting an Insurrection, Hiding Top Secret Papers, Fiddling the Books for Corporate and Election Gain, to name just a few.

Nixon copped a pardon from Gerald Ford (it’s what Republicans do), but I can’t see Joe Biden continuing the trend when, at long last, the former president’s orange jumpsuit matches his over-coiffed hair.

Let’s all hope that the current sorry state of affairs will be the last in this series of the pathetically powerful neglecting their oath of office.

As Ruth Ben Ghiat recently said, “Making sure you have immunity, while those who have done your dirty work go to jail, is an essential strongman skill”.

Please, not again. JWR

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