Waiting for Superman is a new film by documentary director Davis Guggenheim about the state of public education in America today. And boy, will it make you angry… I haven't even seen the film yet and I'm pissed off already! I'm not the only one either. Tune in to any morning news program this week and you are sure to find more than a few angry talking heads discussing the film and/or its stars: Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, Randi Weingarten, or any of the families the cameras track during their struggle to get their children into the best schools they can.
But that's the point.
What Mr. Guggenheim and Participant films are depending on is our outrage. When we're outraged we spread the word, we pledge to see the film, and as I've said before we ACT. Anger is the single most effective call to action we experience. It sharpens how we define our core values and beliefs and in many cases forces us toward change. By all accounts, Waiting for Superman is nothing less than a national wake-up call.
And the reason we, Americans, are so upset is that the truth at the heart of the film threatens our national identity. Our country was founded on a belief that all men are created equal and should be treated as such. Waiting for Superman proves that equal opportunity doesn't exist in the United States today. It points out our most glaring failure as a society: the breakdown of our education system. Something that shames us all. We are left feeling, "How did we allow a problem this awful to escalate to this degree?"
It's a national problem which mirrors so many of the smaller issues that effect us all on an individual level every day. Sometimes, we allow a problem to persist, thinking that we'll do something about it tomorrow or the next day, but in the meantime the problem continues to grow, often to epic proportions. Until finally an event brings it to light and our anger at the situation and ourselves explodes. This explosion of energy compels us to do something, anything to change the current status quo.
So, let's ride the wave of Waiting for Superman and allow our anger to propel us toward responsible action, no matter how small that action may be. In this case, as in so many others, every little bit helps.
Check out the trailer below: