During a multi-day event hosted by MiraCosta College and the League of Women Voters, San Diegans filled theaters in North County San Diego for screenings of a new documentary. Patriocracy, by Brian and Cindy Malone, is a non-partisan examination of Washington dysfunction.
The film investigates the forces that have driven a wedge straight into common ground, breaking Americans into stark left and right camps. Patriocracy showcases interviews with politicians and news anchors highlighting uncivil discourse as a cause of radical partisanship. Their points are reinforced by footage of everyday Americans repeating partisan talking points and accompanying news segments.
Director Brian Malone, winner of 5 Emmys, worked on the film for three years with his wife and co-director Cindy. During a brief interview before the screening, Mr. Malone stated that he hopes the film will give viewers a new perspective on the problem. He also mentioned that the response to the film “shows that people are ready to work their way out of [the problem].”
During the film Malone included suggestions for online tools that Americans can use to overcome partisan gridlock, find other independent-minded voters, and non-partisan sources of information.
The opening of the film focused on Congressional gridlock, partisan rhetoric, and a lack of compromise. During an interview with IVN, Rep. Mickey Edwards pointed out that today incivility is winding its way deeper into Congress than it ever had before. He stated that Congress Members are “are not seen as fellow members of Congress, but as members of the opposing party.” This mental shift from fellow problem solver, to obstacle on the road to a partisan goal not only reflects the problem but is the problem. Mr. Edwards pointed out that to fight the problem we need to have open primaries, new districts, and less money in campaigns.
The League of Women Voters of North County San Diego sponsored the Patriocracy screening to bring civil discourse to the community. What began as a single showing ballooned into three screenings as hundreds of San Diegans filled multiple theaters to see the film. Mary Crowley, President of the League of Women Voters, said the event and the response shows “there’s a light at the end of the incivility tunnel.”
Community members responded to the film by explaining their motivations for attending. Ed Knight of North County San Diego pointed to the GOP’s move to the extreme right as a catalyst for him to re-register as an independent voter and come to the event. Though he considers himself to be “on the left” he also considered himself an Eisenhower Republican.
Patriocracy is showing during a series of screenings spread out across the country. The film will debut on the Documentary Channel on October 20 at 8pm. You may also watch the movie at home on Hulu and Netflix.