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The Defiant Ones

In an effort to take a break from politics this weekend, I decided to take a few minutes and do some channel surfacing and then I came across the 1958 movie, “The Defiant Ones.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the film, it stars Tony Curtis and Sydney Poitier. It’s a story of two escaped prisoners, one black and one white, who are chained together and have to co-operate in order to survive.  In the beginning, the two hate each other, but they are forced to work together out of mutual self-preservation however over time the two earn respect for each other and later actually like each other. However, at the end of the film, Curtis’ character dies in Poitier’s arms while waiting to be captured by the authorities.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but draw some parallels to House Speaker Brian Bosma and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.  Here are two smart, strong-willed,  individuals who really don’t like each other very much right now, but though current circumstances, you could argue are politically and metaphorically speaking “chained” together.

Hill is accused of groping several women in a bar this past Spring.  Bosma has come under fire for paying $40,000 to a law firm, which some are accusing of using strongarm tactics to intimidate a woman who says she had a sexual encounter with the Speaker back in 1992.   Bosma has called on Hill to resign and a lot Hill supporters think what’s happening to the Speaker is a classic example of karma doing what karma does. The Indiana Inspector General is preparing a report on the Hill allegations and Indiana Democrats are calling for an investigation into the Speaker.

I’ve had the chance to chat briefly with both the Speaker and the Attorney General over the past week and both were pretty adamant that they were not guilty of doing anything inappropriate.   I’ve known both men for a while, and absent evidence to the contrary, I tend to have this odd belief that individuals are innocent until proven guilty and that when allegations start becoming automatic convictions we are in big trouble in this country.

Despite that, as I watched the Defiant Ones, all I could do was think of Hill and Bosma and how things might be a little different if these two actually sat down and talked.   I think the recent news cycle shows they would have plenty to discuss. And by communicating, it would probably make this entire situation a bit more politically palatable for the two (and a lot of other people in state government) since they are somewhat in the same boat.

Of course, at the end of the Defiant Ones, Tony Curtis is shot dead and Sydney Poitier’s character is captured and taken back to prison, and there are some people out there who would like to see that happen to Hill and Bosma, in the political sense of the terms, at least in the film the two protagonists got a lot further working together than engaging in a perpetual battle.  

Photo:  Indy Politics

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