Often when I read the morning paper, I feel like there is nothing but discouraging news. The “economic recovery” is slower than molasses, foreign nations are in turmoil, and political fights at home divide Americans. Even many of the TV shows and films we watch don’t inspire. They too can reflect the pessimism America is feeling.
Now is the perfect time for the release of “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” the movie. Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, the story of tenacious railroad executive Dagny Taggart, has inspired millions. I was honored to attend a screening today.
I was nearly moved to tears during the first run of the John Galt Line. My heart sank when Dagny discovers the fire at Wyatt Junction. In disbelief, Dagny screams “No!” in the face of what has happened. She feels utterly alone in a struggle against a tanked economy and an overbearing government. Sound familiar?
Today so many American women are breadwinners for their families. They work all day and come home at night to a stack of bills. Sometimes it can feel like things will never change, that some obstacles can never be overcome. I remember one passage from the book, when Dagny nearly reaches hopelessness one night in her office:
“Her face pressed to her arm, she moved her head, shaking it slowly in negation. She would never find it. Her own thought of what life could be like, was all she would ever have of the world she had wanted. Only the thought of it – and a few rare moments, like a few lights reflected from it on her way – to know, to hold, to follow to the end…”
Dagny is longing, not for a man, but for an idea. She wants a life where she sees the fruits of her labor. She longs for a world where hard work can be rewarded.
So many American women will identify with Dagny’s struggle. They will be inspired by her success in the face of adversity.
Who is John Galt?