Blessed are the peacemakers…
It sure would be nice if peacemakers earn a reward in heaven. Because they always catch a lot of flack here on Earth.
Imagine if President Biden met Vladimir Putin in Moscow for a peace conference. Imagine if they agreed on a lasting peace that included total nuclear disarmament and a permanent respect for the other country’s sphere of influence.
Sadly, partisanship is much more popular than peace. Republicans would not support the President. Only a tiny handful of passionate peaceniks (Sen. Paul, Tucker Carlson) would applaud.
Most would call the President ugly names like “patsy,” “appeaser,” and even “traitor” – an insult that’s always hateful and stupid but very difficult to defend yourself from.
“Broken Arrow” is a powerful, intelligent meditation on peace disguised as a family-friendly western. It’s the story of two men who bravely brokered a peace deal and paid a horrible price for their decency.
It’s Arizona, 1870. Jimmy Stewart stars as Tom Jeffords, a Civil War veteran who is now engaged in an even more vicious war against the Apache. But something in him snaps and he decides that he’s done with killing.
One day, he happens across a wounded Apache boy. Instead of shooting him, he nurses the kid back to health. To Tom’s surprise, the Apache respect what he did and let him leave their territory unharmed.
Tom is intrigued. He learns the Apache language and culture and boldly travels alone to meet with Chief Cochise.
Tom discovers that Chief Cochise is strong, sophisticated, and wise. He is open to peace. But he smartly includes a 90-day probationary period to see if the Americans are duping him again. Like that other great peacemaker Ronald Reagan, Cochise says: “Trust, but verify.”
Though Tom Jeffords and Cochise were a real-life Old West odd couple, this isn’t a history lesson. The movie isn’t really about Native Americans at all. “Broken Arrow” is an allegory about war in general and the Cold War in particular.
Blacklisted screenwriter Albert Maltz was working during the Korean War – the height of the Red Scare. This was a crazy time when a man would be excoriated just for suggesting we become friends with Russia and stop supporting its enemies. Thank goodness nothing like that happens today.
“Broken Arrow” is a first-rate anti-war movie. From Henry Wallace to Edmund Muskie to Tulsi Gabbard, publicly calling for peace and rational conversation with America’s adversaries has always been political suicide. This film shows that peacemaking is the brave choice, the rational choice, the difficult choice, and the moral choice.