He always shows up, said director Bill Haney, explaining why he bestowed a bald eagle crafted out of recycled moose antler by Iroquois Indian Stan Hill to Robert Kennedy, Jr. "He walks with kings and still has the common touch," Haney went on praising Kennedy's commitment to the men and women in Appalachia threatened by the raping of coal from the mountains that secure their communities. Kennedy is also a star of Haney's new documentary, The Last Mountain.
The mountain in question still stands grand. Surely not the last mountain on the planet, Coal River Mountain might as well be as it signifies the global struggle for green over greed in the film. Kennedy "shows up," coming to the aid of a citizen's group dedicated to stopping the systematic demise of the mountains as a private company blasts away for coal.
At Wednesday evening's premiere dinner at Rouge Tomate, the talk was on the "coal-friendly" politicians, lobbyists, the betrayal of the Bush administration, what about their "souls," and what they leave behind to their children? And what of the Obama administration's slow movement in protecting this vital piece of America?
But as Bill Haney reminded me, this is not so much about the struggle, which of course is the good vs. evil drama that makes "The Last Mountain" a suspenseful, scary movie, but the discourse on democracy, how citizens can make a difference, and how alternatives are possible. The documentary offers a plan for windmills to become a viable energy source that would have a positive effect on the environment and jobs. Of course, this is nothing new, but an absorbing reminder of the point that the filmmakers want to drive home.
Democracy, says Haney, is not something we are given, but something we have to fight for every day.
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