Sunday, August 30, 2015
Spare Parts (2015)
The story is simple. We have Carl Hayden High School in a poor community in Phoenix, AZ. Within this high school are a lot of teens who are not legal US citizens, if you get my drift. Their parents are illegal immigrants to this country, and by default, so are they, even though they've lived the majority of their lives on US soil. Spare Parts covers the true story of 4 teenage boys from this high school, all without legal documentation, who enter and win a major robotics competition, going up against prestigious tech schools like M.I.T.
It's a pretty simple story. Four illegals enter a robotics competition and win it.
When I first heard of this film, I wasn't aware that these kids were undocumented. It wasn't until I started watching Spare Parts that the light bulb flickered. And it really got me to thinking. Now, I consider myself conservative, both moral and fiscal. Whatever that even means anymore. This does not mean that I am 100% against raising taxes all of the time. Nor, as I discovered watching this movie, does it mean that I want to ship illegal immigrants back to Mexico.
The boys in this story are real. They were real young men, with real hopes and real dreams and real fears. They were brought here as children. They had no say in the matter. Oscar Vasquez wanted to serve in our military, but couldn't for years because of his undocumented status.
What is America? Aren't we the place of dreams and freedom and liberty? Why wouldn't people want to move here? And if you live in a country where your financial circumstances are so dire that you would risk your very life to sneak across the border, then maybe that's something America should be addressing. I still hate that we have so many illegals in this country. But I understand why they've come, most of them, to create a better life.
And for kids like Luis, Oscar, Lorenzo, and Cristian, there has to be a solution to get them legalized. They're practically US citizens already, but with none of the benefits. Yes, I understand Spare Parts is probably a politicized version of the truth. I am well aware. But I also know that I don't want to see young people suffer because of circumstances outside of their control.
I work for a non-profit whose entire purpose is to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. To rescue kids from the debilitating cycle of poverty and give them a future and a hope. Compassion sponsors kids from Mexico. How can we love children from Mexico and send them $38 a month to clothe and feed them and give the a better life, yet at the same time, hate and despise their illegal brothers and sisters who are in our country? That seems incredibly self-righteous to me. "I'll help so long as it doesn't personally affect me or my politics. As soon as they cross that border illegally, well, throw 'em back." No. These are the same kids that need the same amount of love and support. They're here. They're staying. And we need to do something about securing their future just like we secure the future of poverty-stricken children around the world. To me, there is no difference.
So, to sum it up, Spare Parts is an inspiring story. It's about kids who have experienced, in some form or another, fear of deportation for the entirety of their lives. They're smart kids who work together to make something happen, and all I can think is how many kids there are in the US right now just like them, with undocumented status keeping them from using all of their untapped potential.
It's a great movie. One of those underdog type films that just gets me every single time. And it reminded me that politics shouldn't be about unstinting resistance to the other side's convictions, but it needs to be about people. I don't want to see illegals continuing to charge across our borders. But we need to do something for the ones that are already here. This is their home now, and we need to start welcoming them like family.
Content: A little bit of swearing and innuendo, i.e. the boys use tampons to stop a leaking problem in their underwater robot (it was HILARIOUS). Overall, though, it's a clean movie and one that I'm very glad I watched because it got me to thinking.