I had the privilege and joy of attending one of the special screenings of “The Undefeated” in New York City last week. My son attended with me, and that made it even more special. He began Cadet Basic Training this week at the United States Military Academy. We won’t be able to see each other for six weeks, so our remaining time together was precious. I would have had this write-up finished and posted sooner were the past week not devoted mainly to him and his start at West Point.
My son was not necessarily pro-Palin and had no particular interest to see the film. But he honored my request to attend with me and confirmed afterwards that he was glad that he did. He’s a faithful son who heeds his dad’s guidance; a beloved son in whom his Father is well pleased.
Certainly he now has much greater respect for Gov. Palin. The film also helped him to better see not only the political but also the spiritual nature of the conflict involving her. Thank God, at least one other immediate family member now better understands my fervent support and admiration for the indomitable Sarah Palin. Once my DVD of “The Undefeated” arrives from SarahPAC I’ll be better equipped to open the eyes of others. Hooah!
As for the DVD version of “The Undefeated,” I do hope that it will contain the full uncut, unadulterated display of malice towards Palin near the beginning of the film. Why? Because viewers of a certain age and maturity should be confronted with the ugliness and depravity of those who cruelly attacked and slandered Gov. Palin and her family. Too many people were brainwashed by a mostly mendacious media and need to be shocked into awareness of what was perpetrated and just how vile some of it was and is. Or, let’s alter the spelling of that word and call it by its name: evil.
We drove into midtown Manhattan, parked a couple blocks away and walked to a 7th Avenue address not far from Times Square. I thought briefly: this occasion is more significant than a silly “ball” dropping on New Year’s Eve, but thankfully we wouldn’t need to contend with throngs of people to be a part of it. Not on that day anyway. Ah, but let the multitudes throng to the theaters when the finished version of “The Undefeated” is released! They and our republic will be better for it.
Filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon and his partners will be better off, too. And that’s as it should be, for he and they saw not only a commercial opportunity but also a need to produce this film to help redress a great wrong; to show more of the real Sarah Palin and her outstanding accomplishments; to undo some of the destructive efforts of her enemies; and as Steve himself pointed out, to focus some light on aspects of our present culture and politics. I’m very grateful that Steve and his associates made this terrific film. May it be very profitable in every way.
The studio was on the second floor of a nice looking but otherwise fairly nondescript building. Wait… could this have been Mark Levin’s secret location when he’s in New York? Was he perhaps there in his command post in the underground bunker beneath the brick and steel of this nondescript building? Well, I don’t know for sure. In any event, the Great One makes a prominent appearance in the film. But I digress.
On the second floor was a comfortable, quiet waiting area. People were already there — young and less young (two WWII vets were present), male and female, a diverse group — but certainly not a crowd. I was curious: how large was the theater?
Meanwhile, my son and I said hello to some of those present. Benyamin Korn of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin was there. We were together at the C4P meet-up in Chicago last November. I shook his hand and said hello, nice to see him again. I also met Jackie of Team Sarah who had extended the invitation to the screening (thank you, Jackie!)
Before long the doors opened and those attending the prior screening filed out. I chatted briefly with a gentleman from Long Island who had run for Congress. He praised the film.
Then immediately I recognized Steve Bannon, said hi, and introduced my son. Steve greeted us both warmly and invited all to enter the theater, at which point I had the answer to my question: there were only four rows of perhaps 8-10 seats each. Intimate and very comfortable. One felt even more privileged to be there.
We took our seats and Steve began to make some introductory remarks about the film and also about his background.
I had met Steve at the same C4P meet-up in Chicago, where he showed and gave to each attendee a DVD of “Fire From the Heartland,” another one of his excellent films. Steve and I had chatted afterwards, so I already knew some of his background: U.S. Navy officer; Harvard Business School; investment banker with Goldman Sachs; and now an independent filmmaker.
As I recall, Steve was wearing a jacket with “West Point” emblazoned on the front that afternoon in Chicago. I asked him why a former Navy guy was wearing a West Point jacket. He told me that his daughter was a senior at USMA (she has since graduated and is now a second lieutenant serving in Iraq). Coincidentally, on the morning of that very Saturday at the C4P Meet-up when I met Steve, my son had been interviewed by a U.S. Senator’s staff and an Army Colonel. First thing next Monday morning they nominated him for admission to West Point. Yeah, I’m very proud of him. Anyway, it turns out that Steve and I have Harvard, banking, and young West Pointers in common besides our admiration for Governor Palin. So we had (and still have) quite a bit to talk about. I hope to be able to stay in touch during the exciting and tumultuous weeks and months that surely lie ahead.
Steve’s introductory comments to “The Undefeated” were brief. The lights were dimmed, and the eagerly anticipated moment had arrived.
I should pause here and note that many reviews of “The Undefeated” have already been written by people who are better writers than I am. I can’t improve upon those reviews and don’t wish to spoil too much for those who haven’t yet been as fortunate as I to see the film. So I will limit my further comments to a few aspects or moments in the film and the significance they hold for me.
The very first frames of the film take us back to that glorious day known here at C4P as “Sarah Palin Day,” i.e. Aug. 29th, 2008 in Dayton, Ohio, when John McCain introduced “…Governor Sarah Palin..of the great State of Alaska!” That moment certainly gets the juices flowing, every time.
The film is divided into acts and scenes. The opening scene of the film contains a reference to Matthew 7:20, i.e. “…by their fruits ye shall know them.” And that is very appropriate. After the opening frames showing the joyful, lively and lovely Palin family introduced in Dayton, the film then moves to clips of various “celebrities” and others spewing ridicule, obscenities and hatred for Sarah Palin. At least that’s what the “unrated” version is expected to show. Steve indicated that the unfinished version shown at this NYC screening left some of that material out and toned down or masked much of the rest. Again, I believe that people need to see the unvarnished version so as to be confronted with the putrid or dead “fruit” produced by certain people in sharp and immediate contrast to the fresh, lively, “fruit” evidenced by Sarah Palin…from “a servant’s heart.”
Fruit indicates life. The kind of fruit produced indicates what kind of life. For instance, apples will grow only on an apple tree. A sick tree will produce meager or unhealthy fruit, and a dead tree won’t produce fruit at all. These principles in the natural realm have a parallel in the spiritual realm.
I was not aware ahead of time that Bannon had entitled the opening scene that way, but I had read or heard that there would be both a PG-13 version for theater distribution and also an “unrated” version of the film, the difference being the level of toxicity of the anti-Palin venom displayed. Based on that understanding, and knowing Governor Palin rather well (though I have never met her in the flesh), I was confident that the film would show a clear contrast in “fruit.” So as we drove towards the city I exhorted my son to think about the impressions he had of Governor Palin and why. I had brought a Bible in the car, and I asked him to open to Galatians chapter 5 and read verses 22 and 23 (NASB):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….
The word “But” sets that which follows in contrast to that which preceded, which we’ll examine in a moment. Meanwhile note the qualities defined as “fruit (of the spirit)” in that verse. Do they perhaps describe rather well a certain former governor and vice presidential candidate? You betcha.
Next I asked my son to read the three verses in Galatians chapter 5 immediately preceding the above for contrast:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these….
Who would more likely be habitual doers of such “deeds” and producers of putrid “fruit:” Sarah Palin and family, or her persecutors? Rather obvious, n’est-ce pas?
I had my son read verses 22-23 again for good measure. He studies the Bible regularly and diligently, so he was familiar with that section of Galatians. I just wanted him to have that contrast fresh in mind as he viewed “The Undefeated.”
In any event, once the film began I saw that Steve Bannon and I were on the same page regarding “fruit” (or “fruits,” as it were). I smiled at that.
By the way, there are other scriptural lists of what I’ve styled “putrid fruit.” Some of the last few verses of Romans chapter 1 are one example.
While this stark and powerful contrast in the opening moments of “The Undefeated” is to me the essential issue, pointing out as it does the spiritual conflict involving Governor Palin, the film of course goes a long way in setting the record straight regarding the political conflict also. This has been covered in most if not all other reviews to date. No need to reiterate here at length. However, I will mention another highlight of the film for me: the clips from Palin’s speech when she was inaugurated as governor of Alaska. Pure dynamite. I can’t believe that I had not seen the video of that speech previously. Well, there’s always PalinTV. (Thank you, Sheya!)
Then of course there’s ACES and AGIA. The interview clips with members of Governor Palin’s energy team in Alaska are excellent and substantiate the magnitude, complexity and enormous importance of those signature issues and accomplishments of her administration. Geophysics, petroleum engineering and energy economics are not simple matters. I have dealt with companies in the energy industry for much of my professional life, so I know somewhat whereof I speak. Sarah Palin is fully conversant and proficient regarding the energy issues that are so vital to Alaska and the United States. And people call her “stooopid!” They’re simply fools, knaves and liars; purveyors of “putrid fruit.”
Meg Stapleton does an excellent job in the film explaining some of the context for Palin’s resignation of her governorship. Steve Bannon also includes snippets from her surprise announcement on July 3rd, 2009, i.e. “Sarah Palin Independence Day,” another celebrated day here at C4P. I might have included the bit where she spoke about retreating in order to fight on another battlefield, or words to that effect. I don’t remember her exact words or whether she may have said them in her official resignation speech at the end of that month instead. My recollection is that she said that bit during her “Independence Day” remarks. Again, that’s what PalinTV is for. Videos of both speeches are surely still there. I’ll refresh my memory, perhaps on “Sarah Palin Independence Day” this Sunday. While sipping a glass of All-American red wine in her honor.
But I’m still bemused that some people had difficulty understanding what Governor Palin said on that day two years ago about what she was doing and why. I heard her clearly, and it all made complete sense. But then again I understand her; I know her quite well; we’re related. How’s that, you ask? Well, here’s a clue. Here’s another. Plenty more where those came from. Take a look at the book. It’s all been written down for nearly two millennia.
I would be remiss not to mention the appearances in the film of Andrew Breitbart, Mark Levin, Tammy Bruce and Kate Obenshain. Their comments are all excellent. In particular I was again struck by Tammy Bruce’s exceptional ability to articulate and communicate. I’ve met Tammy twice. She was the keynote speaker at both C4P Meet-ups last year. Tammy is remarkably talented, and I’m thankful that she is such a staunch supporter of Governor Palin.
Other reviewers have mentioned the photos and home movie clips of young Sarah Heath. They really are delightful. One in particular stood out to me: a clip of Sarah in a gym during a basketball drill, dribbling around the cones, flawlessly…left-handed (she’s right-handed). Reminded me of the German colloquial expression mit links, which literally means “with [my] left [hand]” and is used more or less in the same way as we would use the expression “with one hand tied behind my back.” In other words, “I can do it, no problem. I’ve worked at it; I’ve mastered it.” Mit links – no, not a clumsy allusion to an exclusive Romney family golf course and country club (sorry). But maybe it’s an apt metaphor for the life story of Sarah Heath Palin.
I mentioned my gratitude that Steve Bannon made this film. Not only grateful, I’m gratified and excited. Steve taking on this project validates a point I made in this post nearly a year ago, namely that true leaders with integrity and courage such as Sarah Palin motivate and inspire loyalty in others. People of ability and commitment rally to such a leader, especially when that leader is unjustly attacked, just as valiant men rallied to support and defend David when King Saul was seeking to kill him unjustly. Allow me to cite a portion of that post from last August:
Near the beginning of this article I asked whether there ever would have been an independent United States of America had it not been for the leadership of George Washington. Many of us now wonder about the future of our beloved country and whether it will survive as the constitutional republic that the Founders sacrificed so much to establish. I submit that the issue hangs in the balance. Leadership and loyalty are clearly needed: loyalty to our Constitution and to humble, God-fearing leaders who will protect and defend it.
Let’s briefly reconsider 1 Chronicles 12:22. “For day by day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army like the army of God.”
That happened then because of the quality of the leader’s character, and certainly because of God’s grace in raising up such a leader. It has happened similarly at other times in history, including at the birth of this republic. Perhaps it is happening again right now.
I’ve believed for some time that such is the case. Steve Bannon’s production of “The Undefeated,” done quietly over many months, is a prime example. Many others have rallied to support and defend Governor Palin, including some able and influential people mentioned above. Perhaps others that we don’t know about have been volunteering assistance quietly, confidentially, behind the scenes, appropriately.
Governor Palin is one who keeps confidences. As she did with sensitive information received while Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard because of its unique role in the nation’s missile defense system. She could have talked about those matters during the 2008 campaign and easily dispatched the silly Tina Fey narrative, etc. But she didn’t. Why? INTEGRITY. Sarah Palin is devoted to public service, not serving herself. That among many other things comes across clearly in “The Undefeated.”
Fellow countrymen, please see this film at your earliest opportunity. Then make up your minds about the nature and quality of national leadership that is needed. I for one made up my mind a long time ago. This great film provides additional substance and further validates that mindset. See it, absorb it, promote it. That’s not much to ask when compared to what Governor Palin, her family, friends and staff have endured, God bless them all. Now let’s do our part.