To the Editor:
In the classic Frank Capra movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jefferson Smith, played by Jimmy Stewart, makes his maiden speech to Congress and stumbles all over himself as he nervously proceeds, to the amusement of the other senators.
He seems destined to inconsequence, especially when he makes further gaffes in front of reporters’ cameras, who make sure foolish images hit the front page. A nitwit, an enthusiastic amateur from the sticks, too wet behind the ears to amount to anything.
Smith arrives in Washington with a high sense of his calling and an awed gratitude for the honor of serving his nation, an attitude his colleagues around him have forsaken. They have become jaded, and some of them have become corrupt.
Their position, power, and perks are what matter to them. And they almost destroy him when he calls them on their corruption. Almost.
Then Smith does the unexpected thing: he returns with all guns blazing, guns of ideals, reminders of our high principles at the founding of this Republic, the things that make America great. And they are not back-room deals that ought to redden every guilty face.
And ultimately (remember this is Frank Capra) he wins them over. Even the Silver Knight (peace on him!) comes at last to his aid.
Why do I write all this? I understand that Doug Hoffman is being criticized for his admittedly clumsy presentation.
We have become so enamored of slick Hollywood sound bites that we have no patience with mere substance, unless it is beautifully packaged.
But beautiful packaging does not a message make. The medium should not be the only message. And too often it is, and disaster follows, as we, halfway through a disastrous presidency, are finding out.
Doug Hoffman is a man of substance, a man for whom two and two is always four, and not sometimes five or three. He is not a Machine man. When he speaks, I believe he can be believed. He loves the principles this nation was founded on, principles that work if they are allowed to operate.
We need this man in Congress, an upright man who will stand for what is right. Alone, if need be. Like Jefferson Smith. Vote Doug Hoffman.
Richard Bastille, Potsdam