Eugene Jarecki, the award winning director of insightful new documentary, ‘The King,’ told HollywoodLife.com why it’s urgent for America’s young people to fight for democracy, and that means voting in the midterms and a lot more.
“You have the entire fate of the world in front of you right now,” Eugene Jarecki tells young Americans. “It isn’t just one issue or another. It’s about the larger context of all the issues we face, which is no less than a Star Wars-level battle between the Empire and the rebels. The stakes could not be higher. In the face of a “sitting president (who has) demonstrated himself to be such a moral and spiritual and political outrage against any standards of decency, this country has ever aspired to,” he says, “the danger has never been greater, but so, too, the opportunity for real change has never been greater.”
While Jarecki, whose film The King, is now in theaters, presses young women and men to ensure they are registered to vote and then to actually vote in the midterm elections Nov. 6, he exhorts them to do much MORE than that. “Everyday between now and the end of the your life counts toward the improvement and empowerment of democracy. Voting is just part of the process of being an engaged citizen,” he points out. But winning and maintaining democracy is a full-time job for all of us.” And no one has greater freedom and power to so this than young people. Jarecki wants YOU to be raising your voice in protests, town halls, high school and college protests and boycotts between now and Nov. 6.
America’s young people have an historic opportunity to make a huge difference in the 2018 midterms, and in our larger national crisis, if they chose to step up. And he wants them to defy the current president. “He’s counting on young people sitting it out and being apathetic because that’s what he reads in his ‘white papers.’ So the biggest thing they can do is prove everyone wrong — defy the prejudices that are being spread about them, that they are self-centered, only glued to their cellphones, taking selfies of themselves. They can violate that prejudice and it will be an amazing day in the beginning of our path of democracy.”
Despite what he calls “grotesque setbacks” on minority rights, the environment, the detention of migrant children, and attacks on the free press, the intelligence services, and more under the Trump administration, Jarecki feels energized about the future of America. “There are two ways to look at this era. One can be fixated and distracted by the macabre circus of madness that is descending on us from on high at the moment,” he says. “But one can also note that, on Trump’s watch, we have seen the rise and establishment of the most significant social movements of my lifetime: #MeToo, #TimesUp, the incredible courage of the Parkland students to stare down one of the most evil institutions in human history (the NRA), the Poor People’s Movement, the protection of sanctuary cities by mayors flying in the face of a predatory and destructive federal government.”
The director of The King, (see embedded video clip) sees “the incredible glimmerings of a democracy that has frankly been asleep for decades. It falls to us people, to do the work of “of the people, by the people, for the people,” urges Jarecki, pointing out that resistance was necessary in 1776 to form this country. And he truly believes that no group is more positioned to fight for democracy and against the president’s administration than YOU, young people. “They don’t have the shackles and massive accumulated debt that older people have grown into — they have enormous agility, which can be a huge force for social change. I can’t imagine people who are more qualified to be the army of change that society needs.”
So, HollywoodLife readers, first of all, make sure you are registered to vote. If not, you can register using our Rock The Vote module embedded here. But don’t wait until Nov. 6 to vote for change. Volunteer to work on a campaign of a candidate who will fight for issues you believe in. Go to town hall meetings — demand town hall meetings with your current representatives to express your opinions, go to protests, sign petitions, call your congress people and tell them how you want them to vote on key issues. In other words, get involved in democracy.
And of course, also go to see Eugene’s fabulous new documentary, The King. It’s about Elvis and America, and everything else that matters to us.