Released in 2008, the film ‘Crawford’ produced/directed by David Modigliani is a documentary/biography of the small town of Crawford, Texas before George W. Bush arrived at their doorstep, during the time of his Presidency. (And now after as new President-Elect, Barack Obama, is preparing to assume the office of President of the United States). The film,’Crawford’ is put together in a way that shows the residents of the town, their lives, and the impact of what happens to the town and their lives when George Bush moves to their town to set up his ranch in his campaign for President.
The video is embedded below, obtaining it from and assuming that Hulu has necessary permissions to share it online. If the video does not work at my blog, you can view it where I did, online at his link – Hulu.
I jump ahead of the film, to my own personal experience of Crawford, Texas. Of course, part of the Crawford experience is that month of August 2005, when Cindy Sheehan parked herself in Crawford outside the President’s ranch during his vacation. For perspective as to why Cindy decided to make her stand at that time, remember that President Bush took vacation shortly after one of his press conferences in which he identifies the deaths of troops in Iraq as having given their lives for a noble cause.
Remember that at that time, 23 marines from the Lima Company alone had been killed in Iraq in 2005, 20 were killed over 2 days in August 2005 – six on Aug 1, and fourteen on Aug 3. Cindy, mother of Casey Sheehan, soldier, who was killed in Iraq April 4, 2004, deliberately went to Crawford almost immediately after the noble cause statement to ask George Bush personally ‘What Noble Cause?’ . While the film does not elevate this period of the George Bush ranch in Crawford experience,the film attempts to show the impact on local residents.
I was part of that story, part of that August 2005 experience of Crawford. Since I was not or did not consider myself to be a ‘peace activist’ prior to the Iraq war but chose to present as a military family trying to speak out to a new young generation of military families, the perspectives I have of my own experiences among the peace/activism communities has it’s own unique flavor. My experience of Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey, August 2005 is colored by my experiences growing up as what is affectionately callled a ‘military brat’ on military bases in between the Korean Conflict (war) and the Vietnam war, my experiences as a military wife of a young husband, drafted and deployed to Vietnam, my experiences living in the ‘military culture’, my professional career employment in the social services field during my adult years as a civilian employed in state level public sector, and my inexperience with the culture of peace/activism communities.
The film does justice to one of the many considerations I had when I was at Crawford. How does this tiny town cope with having such high profile people make their mark at Crawford? How does the town deal with and cope with the polarized, political battle of opinions here at home on the Iraq war which I believe came to head at Crawford during Camp Casey in August 2005. Now that I actually do live in a small town, and it is a new part of my life experiences, I wondered how the people in the town where I live would react should something similar happen in their town and lives.
Whatever came after the August 2005, Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey experience, I will always credit Cindy with bringing to head the public discourse which at that time had been embroiled in political limitations to the language of what constitutes patriotism, the flag, and support for the troops. The public political discourse needed to happen and the shift in the political discourse because of that month of August 2005 in Crawford that gave voice to the many-faceted feelings and opinions of the war in Iraq needed to happen.
It opened doors within the public Iraq war political discourse that had been previously deliberately slammed shut. And I would offer those doors were slammed shut with deliberate forethought and premeditation so as to confine, undermine, and squelch any opportunity of public dialogue or public dissent. For myself, an ordinary person living an ordinary life, my experience of August 2005 in Crawford, Texas was extraordinary and has marked me indelibly.
But August 2005 is not the point of this film, it is a part of the film, as it is a part of the Crawford experience. The film is presented in a way that does not favor opinions about the Iraq war, about George W. Bush, but brings to bear the experience of both along with other experiences that often times typifies small town America. The ending of the film shook me up – was something I did not know and was very unsettling.
I hope you’ll watch the film. It is not a trailer, but the full length film, 1 hour and 15 minutes, so recommend watching it when you have some time to watch it.
Excerpt of one review of the film ‘Crawford’ by Joe Leydon at Variety
By JOE LEYDON
David Modiglinai's "Crawford" offers an evenhanded and occasionally poignant account of the impact on the citizenry of the small Texas town chosen by President George W. Bush to be the site of his so-called "Western White House." Filmed over several years, docu plays like a rise-and-fall drama populated with colorful, contrasting characters who have profoundly mixed feelings about being used as props in Bush's political stagecraft. After a spin on the fest circuit, pic might get limited theatrical play before pubcast and/or niche-cable airdates.