Show of hands — who has seen the Frank Capra movie from 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Jimmy Stewart is Jefferson Smith, an idealistic young man who gets appointed as a United States senator by a corrupt political machine and ends up fighting against it.
Can you tell me who the hero was? Was it the weak governor who appointed Smith? Was it the crooked senior senator who leads Smith astray? Was it the rotten political boss who tries to ruin Smith?
Okay, whether you've seen it or not, the answer is obviously Smith. (The title kind of gives it away.) But if you live in West Michigan like I do, you might think it was the other guys. Justin Amash, the U.S. House representative from Grand Rapids declared his independence from the Republican party. On Independence Day. In Republican-dominated West Michigan. The move was not, um, received well.
Now Mr. Amash's story may not be the same as Mr. Smith's (starting with the fact that one is literally only a story), but there are parallels: the plucky individual staring down the political machine, standing up for his beliefs, actually reading stuff like the Constitution and the Mueller report to know what's in them.
The big difference, though, is that Mr. Amash's story isn't over. It's just beginning. So whether he ends up as the hero depends on what he does next.
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.