As the annual session of the Legislature drags on, Sen. David Farnsworth decided his colleagues could benefit from a showing of the classic Jimmy Stewart film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” A handful of them, along with staff, attended. Perhaps the legislators taking in the 1939 movie were not the ones who needed to see it, but the effort was worthwhile.
Farnsworth has been a businessman involved in distribution, real estate and auto sales, among other things. And he decided to get involved in public service, which is commendable.
The Mesa senator said his motivation years ago was the impeachment of Gov. Evan Mecham, which he compared to more recent investigations of President Trump. Many people would make a distinction between those two things, but nevertheless, Farnsworth’s concern about “the swamp” is a beneficial cause.
In showing the film, he said he was making a statement about the way “it’s difficult to drain the swamp because you don’t know who the swamp creatures are because they all wear suits and ties and big smiles.”
A key part of the film directed by Frank Capra is when Mr. Smith stages a filibuster. But that apparently was not a main point for Farnsworth, as filibusters haven’t occurred in the Arizona Senate for years.
Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said the message she got was “understanding how we can all have good, debatable conversations about the topics that are important to all of our people.” That clearly was a good point.
The Legislature’s sessions usually run longer in non-election years, like this one, mainly because members are not under pressure to get out and campaign. Also this year, the fact that a good economy is producing more revenue seems to be making the budget harder to craft because that brings more requests.
Farnsworth’s decision to show the film certainly provided some relief for legislators, and it may just have done some good.