A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away...we were introduced to a world filled with compelling creatures, magic, lightsaber battles, pod races and romance. For decades now, fans across the world have followed this saga and debated it to the hilt, but one thing that cannot be debated is that, at its heart, Star Wars is an inherently political story. A devout Star Wars fan and friend to FTF Media eloquently said that "the saga, when taken as a whole, is essentially about the rise and pervasiveness of a fascist, authoritarian state and the small spark of rebellion that’s required to keep fighting." In between the arguments over who shot first, the discussion about what the heck midichlorians even are and the dissection of who we might find out is related to whom in the future, Star Wars tells the story of a world where hubris and complacency leads to the rise of fascism; a rebellion then sparks in an effort to defeat that regime and, when said empire falls, the lack of a political plan to replace it then leads to the inevitable rise of a similar order.
Decades later (or millions of years later, in potential continuity), in a world known to some as Midgard and to others as Planet C-53, fans were presented with a rag-tag team that Tony Stark himself labeled "Earth's mightiest heroes." Across twenty-four movies, multiple series and many more of each still to come, we were introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; initially, this story was told through the lens of a weapons dealer with US Government contracts who became a superhero when his convoy was ambushed in the Middle East. Iron Man soon joined forces with a WWII era super-soldier, an Asgardian Monarch, international spies, an African King, a physicist with anger issues and many more to fight national, international and interstellar battles. Along with these battles, we also see the group deal with Senate and Congressional Hearings, International treaties, NGOs and United Nations oversight.
All of our favorite stories, when broken down to their components, tell stories rife with politics. Harry Potter had to fight an ineffective government and problematic educational reforms, in addition to battling the most dangerous wizard of his time. Frodo and his fellowship were hamstrung by wizarding hierarchies, dueling kingdoms and often indifferent elves.
While we may often look to entertainment or sports as a means of momentary escape from the world in which we live, art is a mirror of our lives and therefore just as messy and political as our world is. This isn't something that we should shy away from, but rather something I believe we should embrace and learn from! Frodo and Sam, Harry and Hermione, Luke and Leia, Iron Man and Black Panther, these are heroes not only because they fight against the forces of evil, but because they stand up to those in their world who wish to use the systems in place to do harm. Through the course of their sagas, these characters learn more about the worlds they live in; they then adapt and go on to shape the world in ways that benefit everyone. So, where does that leave us?
As new members here at FTF Media, Chris (@ChrisHandloser) and I don't presume ourselves to be heroes like King T'Challa, but through our individual life journeys, we've studied and gathered knowledge on numerous topics that it seems many in power intentionally try to shroud in darkness. It is our belief that the collective actions of our various politicians shift and change our lifestyle regularly, but do we really know what those actions are? Why are policy discussions often held in back rooms? Why are bills not more readily accessible to the public that they will affect? Why are those who represent us (on all sides) so quick to jump on favorable media programs to spin their own narratives? Finally: how does any of this help the day-to-day folks who are living and dying with the decisions made in Washington, D.C. and other state capitals around the country?
Humbly, this is where Chris and I are hoping to play a small role. In a first-of-its-kind show here at FTF Media, we would like to take this opportunity to present you with our newest podcast, Track and Shield, which aims to be a regular program where we do the dirty work of researching and breaking down new laws, rule changes, court decisions and much more. We will track what's necessary and shield our listeners from all (err…most) of the bullshit that too often makes its way through traditional media. While Chris and I will always and obviously have our opinions and biases, we hope to have an open and honest discussion with each other, any guests and extra defenders brought on and also our listeners, with whom we hope to engage as much as possible. Our government and democracy is in a time of crisis and, as King T'Challa once said, "in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."
It's time to talk to one another again, to engage in good faith and, most critically, it's time to learn from each other. To that end, it is our humble hope that, like the Starlight given to Frodo by Galadriel, this show can act as "a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."
- Mike (@MikeRoderickSD)