Remember, remember our right to democracy: ‘V for Vendetta’ is a mirror for our society

December 13, 2016 — by Ryan Kim

“Something is terribly wrong with this country: cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. If you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.”

With that, the terrorist and freedom fighter V in the 2005 film “V for Vendetta” launched his revolution to overthrow his overbearing government. Set in the near future, the movie depicts the violent struggle between the democratic wishes of an oppressed people and their repressive London government. The corrupt government leaders had formulated plagues and political turmoil in order to assert power over a frightened nation, thus rising to political dominance over the country.

Since the film’s release, V’s speech has sent chills to audiences worldwide and reminded the world of the need for democracy.

Although the U.S. is still free and democratic, the country is more similar to the oppressed citizens of a dystopian England in the movie than we think. Both the U.S. and dystopian England have allegedly tyrannical leaders, both have experienced the unexpected rise in right-wing political power and both

As the Trump era begins, we must not forget our right and our duty to voice our opposition to all forms of oppression.

While this movie about tyrannical government is already 11 years old, its message about the power of the people still resonates with our society, especially now with the rise of authoritarian governments and populist movements.

The European Union is in disarray with more populist movements leading to Brexit and the rise of right-wing politicians, and the U.S. has overthrown its nascent liberal ideology with the return of ultraconservative politicians.

The film, which discusses the necessity of violent action in overthrowing an oppressive government, offers a more extreme interpretation of the right to depose a tyrannical government, as discussed by Enlightenment philosopher John Locke.

The movie’s message has its relevance today. As more right-wing philosophies return, we should participate more in government to maintain our quality of democracy and retain our freedoms. Just as in the movie, we must fight for our rights to express ourselves.

As “V for Vendetta” claims, “People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” And indeed, we should remember that the power of our Union lies within ourselves.

Obviously that does not justify defacing public works or physically attacking government officials, but it does signify that we define change for our nation through our deeds and our activity in government policy through discussions and arguments.

It is our duty as freedom-loving people to defend our rights without violence. Like in the movie, we need a spark to inspire us to act and precipitate change, but unlike in the movie, we can be our own motivation, our own leaders.

Change starts with us. By participating more in politics and expressing our views, we can direct change as we see fit rather than allow potential strongmen and restrictive leaders such as our president-elect force us to submit to their controversial master plans. Vote, protest, debate: These are what we must do to change society for the better. Let us remember in these tumultuous times to become our own V, our own inspiration to preserve democracy for our nation.

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