As High Noon Awaits America in November, Marshall Kane Provides Lesson to Candidates
Posted on July 31, 2012
Growing up, almost all kids have a number of heroes – people they look up to, want to emulate when they are older, pretend to be when playing outside. One of my all-time heroes turned 60 years old last week: Marshall Will Kane, the main character in the film “High Noon.” I can’t recall just how many times my father and I would watch this movie growing up. It was one of his favorite movies, so it of course became one of mine. Kane represented all that a boy should be when he becomes a man – strong, resolute, courageous in the face of danger, always on the side of right and justice, a pillar of the community … even when the community itself turns on you.
Since I’ve entered the world of politics, I’ve found that I wasn’t the only one who looked up to Will Kane as their hero. Presidents — from Eisenhower to Clinton — have made this film one of the most requested movies for screening at the White House. Perhaps more than anything else, High Noon stands the test of bipartisanship in an era of hyper-partisanship. There’s something from this movie that everyone can take away and claim for “their side,” as one man is left behind to fight for the community when the scales of justice and the American flag are (literally in the film) no longer hanging. For some, Marshall Kane represents the broader community fighting against a tide that they felt was swelling during the McCarthy era, while for others he represents the essence of individualism – the lone person who bleeds, sweats and fights for what he believes. I suppose in this 2012 campaign, he is the figure that we are debating when we argue about what “you didn’t build that” really means.
And, we may never agree about what the “that” means in the president’s comments nor what Kane really represents. Perhaps, that’s the message we should take away as we get closer to the high noon of this election – Nov. 6, 2012. No doubt, both parties will look to their candidates and draw parallels to this character. And, no doubt, whoever wins the job will feel a lot like Kane come January – standing alone against a looming crisis, having to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the community… even when the community itself turns on you. The question the electorate will be asking of them is which candidate will be most like Kane and be willing to be that hero in the face of these challenges?
As Will Kane turns 60, it may be in the best interest of both campaigns to watch this movie one more time, and find out how your man is best like Kane, and make that case to the electorate …or perhaps more appropriately, just like in the movie, find the woman who will really save the day for your man in the end.