[Caution: “The Butler” Spoiler Alert!]
“In the first two or three minutes there are references to two lynchings, a rape (of the butler’s mother) and a racist murder (of his father). None of these things happened to the actual butler, who also didn’t have an activist son or another son who died in the Vietnam War” – John Boot, in his article entitled “5 Ways Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” Rewrites History to Suit Liberals”
A number of conservative pundits are upset with the movie’s historical inaccuracies of President Ronald Reagan. For example, three of Reagan’s biographers slammed the movie for maligning the president on his general policies on civil rights. Craig Shirley, who had worked on both of Reagan’s presidential campaigns, reminded an interviewer that he signed the laws authorizing the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and extension of both the Voting Rights and Fair Housing Acts.
Paul Kengor, author of two books about President Reagan, The Crusader and God and Ronald Reagan, addressed the movie’s characterization that Reagan was racially insensitive this way: “I’ve talked to many White House staff, cooks, housekeepers, doctors, and Secret Service over the years. They are universal in their love of Ronald Reagan.”
Kiron Skinner, who authored “Reagan, In His Own Hand” concurred by offering this bit of history: after his record on race was challenged in 1975, Reagan responded, “In my eight years [as governor] more Negroes were appointed to executive and policymaking positions in state government than had been appointed by all the previous California governors put together.”
And Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan, excoriated the movie’s depiction of his father as being racist. He wrote:
“The real story of the White House butler doesn’t imply racism at all. It’s simply Hollywood liberals wanting to believe something about my father that was never there… Despite what Hollywood’s liberal hacks believe, my father didn’t see people in colors. He saw them as individual Americans. If the liberals in Hollywood — and Washington — ever start looking at people the way he did, the country will be a lot better off.”
Two authors rebutted the movie’s mischaracterization of Reagan’s stance on apartheid in South Africa. Kengor and Craig Shirley, another Reagan biographer, challenged the film’s depiction of President Reagan being indifferent to apartheid. They defended Reagan’s acceptance of South Africa’s regime since the alternative was a Marxist-totalitarian regime. Kengor said, “Clearly…Communism was a far greater infringement…In Communist nations, people were literally lined up and slaughtered — and starved — on mass scales.”
Most Vietnam Veterans as well as many other veterans are not really concerned about the accuracy of the film nor the denigration of President Reagan simply because of Hanoi Jane being in the move: we won’t bother to see it in the first place. Everyone else will have to make up his or her own mind!
In the mean time we are still shaking our heads at Oprah saying we were racist. Our aforementioned Fort Hood staff sergeant succinctly put it this way, “The general consensus [among all of my fellow soldiers] is that we have each other’s backs; we are “brothers in arms””.
And we veterans say, “AMEN: been there; done that!”
“The Butler” is troublesome to veterans besides Hanoi Jane – Part 1