John Witter, played by Logan Ramsey in the 1973 version of Walking Tall, tells Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker), “You know ideals and realities are very far apart.” He’s looking to sway Buford’s pursuit of his ideals for enforcing the law.
Sway is perhaps too kind. He is issuing a thinly veiled threat about what will happen if Buford doesn’t comply with the lawlessness of the local, gun-wielding thugs.
It’s based upon real events from over 50 years ago. Pusser was shot multiple times in the pursuit of his ideals but didn’t give in. The line from the movie and the underlying premise and story both have relevance today. High ideals are what our nation is based upon and what we are continuing to refine.
At times they require personal clarity and conviction to know and pursue. Without it you can easily get caught up in what others think and say. Popular figures, the media and those with power can be skilled at pulling you in. This is true even when they don’t advance your best interest or our common interests.
Knowing your personal philosophy explicitly and making it part of your life brings clarity and conviction to pursue your ideals regardless of the difficulties that confront you.
Regardless of where yours come from, we all need the clarity and conviction to stand up to thugs in our lives, our country and our world. Without it, reality will continue to drift further apart from our ideals.