Last Updated: October 17th
In Why I Write, George Orwell observed a truism that transcends any era: “In our age, there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues.”
The dude nailed it. In 2018, politics has bled into every part of our lives. Racism, classism, gender bias, environmental degradation… the woes we face as a nation are deeply rooted in our political system. Even the means by which you’re reading this — the internet — is inextricable from the political machine.
There’s a flip side, though. Politics has the ability to inspire us to action and lead us on the good fight for a better future. It has the potential to launch movements and, ideally, become a vital ingredient in the universe’s gradual arc toward justice.
In this high-stakes chess match — where the lines of good and evil can get easily muddled or even lost in the mix of opinions, facts, and actions — the onus is on you to stay informed. No one is going to hold your hand when it comes to navigating the topic, you’ll have to dig and dig until you find something that approaches the truth.
To start your excavation, check out these ten great political documentaries currently streaming on Netflix.
11/8/16 follows more than a dozen stories across America on that wild election day when Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton to win the White House and usher in the Trump years for America. The documentary’s strongest points aren’t the triumph of Trump, but the personal stories of why people living and working across America — from literal coal mines to the beaches of Hawaii — voted for either Trump or Clinton. It’s a slice of life from a single day when some voters found unexpected victory and others suffered a loss they didn’t see coming.
Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (2015)
Best of Enemies seems both quaint and groundbreaking at the same time. The 1968 televised political debates between conservative William Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal became legendary and the basis for almost all televised political discourse to this day. In the end, the right won the day with Richard Nixon coming to power. But it was Vidal’s calm ability to speak bravely when confronted with bigotry that resonates to this day.