June 26, 2018

When Peter Fonda "understood" illegal immigration

Jack Kemp

Or the writers of the Robert Wise film Peter Fonda starred in understood it. Mr. Wise supplied the, well, "Wise" dialogue.

In 1973,Peter Fonda and Lindsey Wagner were the leads in a movie called "Two People." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_People_(film)   In the film, Fonda portrayed Evan Bonner, a U.S. Army deserter from the Vietnam War who lived overseas in Moscow, Sweden and (at the beginning of the film) in Morocco. In Morocco, Evan Bonner starts an affair with fashion model Lindsey Wagner. The both fly from Morocco to Paris. In the course of all this, Fonda's character explains to Wagner that he got tired of living as a stateless nomad and has met with American government officials and worked out a plea deal to return to the U.S. to serve some time in prison so he can get on with the rest of his life. This leads to The Great Scene.

The deserter and the fashion model were at a location that has appeared in many a romantic fashion and perfume advertisement, the outside of Paris's Notre Dame Cathederal. The Cathedral is located on the island that was the origin of the City of Paris and also the home of nearby government buildings. Lindsey Wagner pleads with Fonda, saying that they could just stay in Paris, live on her fashion model earnings, and he wouldn't have to return to the U.S. and face legal consequences. In response Fonda's "Evan Bonner" character then grabs her hand and shows her the crowd of people standing on line outside the Prefecture of Police waiting up to eight hours for a temporary visa once every month so that they can stay in The City of Lights. He then starts to pull her towards the line and says they should practice living like stateless nomads and join the line to wait all day for a French Government temporary visa. The fashion model withdraws her hand from Fonda's, as he knew would happen, because the reality of living like a stateless but well dressed vagabond is not something that appeals even less to Wagner's character than to Fonda's. I thought it was one of the best scenes showing the difference between romantic escapism and harsh reality that was ever put on film.

Apparently Peter Fonda has long forgotten the lines his character read in "Two People," a character who understood the problems of being a stateless person who had to deal with governments and national (and nationalistic) policies which made such stateless people a less than welcome guest, and - to borrow two literary titles a permanent Stranger in a Strange Land and a Man Without a Country. But Fonda's tepid apology to Pres. Trump is a realization that while he now won't have to stand on line at the Prefecture of Police, the federal police just might be coming to visit him if he doesn't tone things down very soon. As for his part, President Trump realizes that Peter Fonda has now just added a significant number of swing votes to the GOP this November - and during President Trump's reelection campaign in 2020.

Thank you for your service, Peter Fonda.

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