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It was April in 2019 when a documentary film called “Slay the Dragon” has been released in America. It was produced by Participant and directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance. This film is tackling something that some people may not be aware of, or is aware but chooses not to comment nor talk ill about it since it elicits controversies and strong opinions. This film features Katie Fahey who is an activist, who fought against gerrymandering in the state of Michigan. She was also the founder of Voters Not Politicians. This documentary has succeeded in receiving rave reviews from some critics. It was referred to as stirring, the most important political film of the year, exciting, interesting, and tough but necessary to know about the decaying democracy. Maybe this topic has been eluded for quite a long time that finally someone had the guts to release a documentary about it. This film features a protagonist who slay dragon and probably won against the dragon.
What is gerrymandering?
For the sake of those who are not familiar with the term, “gerrymandering” refers to the process of dividing territories into election districts but gives a full advantage to one political party. This term goes way back in the year 1812 when the governor of Massachusetts Elbridge Gerry decided to change territory lines so he can win the majority of votes for the senate election districts, which was by then called the Democratic-Republican Party. So his name “Gerry” was added with an animal that is called a salamander, which was compared to the new district lines that were formed. Therefore, the word “gerrymander” was born and created.
Battling against gerrymandering
Both parties in America have had a very long history and sparked a lot of events that seem impossible to rekindle. “Slay the Dragon” is one of the documentary movies out there that is really going to stir opinions and open the eyes of the public about what the society is currently under in. Since gerrymandering has existed far longer than anyone had ever known it to be, it just heightened more because of Project Redmap and Chris Jankowski, who is both the founder of Project Redmap and the leader of GOP strategists. The documentary entails a brave investigative research force and approaches by both Goodman and Durrance. It was in 2010 when the Republicans finally launched its sinister intent which they proudly refer to as gerrymandering 2.0. The Republicans felt that they were impassable since they succeeded in redrawing the Michigan map into everlasting majority districts. They have stopped relying on the voters. Since they figured this strategy, they could do anything they want.
Has America reached its end of democracy?
Some may claim that the documentary is a far cry from letting others know what’s currently happening about the political system in America. But one thing is for sure, this is one of the most important political movies in this decade. The film is focused on pointing out why gerrymandering has been anti-democratic. The title is perfectly suitable as a slaying dragon refers to the salamander where the term “gerrymandering” is referred from.
Gerrymandering as an effective strategy by the Republicans
Republicans have been garnering biased legislative authorities in states where the majority of the voters support the Democrats. Candidates of the Democrats party have won votes slay in some states but with gerrymandering in the picture, that fact actually is considered null and void. Gerrymandering strategy voids your popular votes as long as your voters are crammed only in some small number of districts. Or you may have some votes too in your opponent’s districts. Thus these numbers of votes are easily dissipated. Now even much more badly, gerrymandering is one of the terms that has been partnered with data analysis and makes it even more difficult to have a fair play in elections. In today’s digital age, anything is possible.
Why is the title, “Slay the Dragon”?
When you hear the title of this documentary, you wouldn’t even think it is politically inclined. Perhaps you’d expect it to be slaying and killing dragons. However, as others perceive the similarities of the situation as a David Vs Goliath scenario, then the title does satisfy such expectations. The title really is actually much more connected to gerrymandering. Slay means to “put an end” and the dragon here represents the system of gerrymandering. Perhaps to slay dragons mean to remove politicians that have been elected quite unfairly into the government.
What the movie is about
In this movie, you will see that it’s not entirely focused on ousting the Republicans. The movie’s leading role, Katie Fahey, who is a resident of Michigan, and who doesn’t have any political background whatsoever, finally got on social media and used this platform to jumpstart a grassroots movement. And it became successful. She finally named this movement as Voters Not Politicians. It seems that she used her inexperience and young age to an advantage to tackle political issues and race awareness to a lot of Americans. This documentary is effective in galvanizing audiences to take a look at this map in a bold new way. It makes you realize the importance of battling against gerrymandering. It allows you to be aware of how democracy is changing if the system will not be changed. In other words, this movie is a big eye-opener for everyone.
This documentary is definitely stirring and is considered as a breakthrough for dragon slaying, otherwise known as eliminating gerrymandering. What do you think about this documentary? Share your review below.
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