"If we're not going to be on the planet, then why do we need the money?"
That's a question from a more sober-minded member of the short-lived Open Mind Forum, a group with some pretty wild beliefs that sprang up around the turn of the 21st century. Chief among those beliefs is the idea that prior to leaving office United States President Bill Clinton signed legislation for something known as NESARA, the National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act. While NESARA started as a legitimate (if not somewhat naive) proposal in the late '80s, the idea gained a weird life of its own thanks to the Internet. Tied in amongst more plebian notions of universal debt forgiveness and the abolition of the IRS, Open Mind Forum (and other) NESARA believers expect Jesus Christ to ride in on a UFO and eventually take his seat as leader of the free world, thus vanquishing the forces of darkness and exposing George Bush as an evil alien reptile.
Intrepid filmmaker Zeb Haradon (Elevator Movie) clearly has a lot to work with in his stunning documentary Waiting For NESARA, he couldn't have picked a better topic, as this stuff simply writes itself. In fact, it's such an overpowering topic that we find it hard to tackle critiquing the movie. As documentaries go, this 77-minute-long feature has some draggy moments and sports production values that aren't out of reach for pretty much all of you reading this review. Haradon's ability to get his subjects to open up completely, (or perhaps their need to open up) his sense that this was a subject that would make for compelling viewing, and his oversight of the editing process (the trump card in any documentarian's hand) are all factors in the ultimate success or failure of this documentary. For all those reasons, he's got a sure winner for Fortean scholars, lovers of human nature, and anyone who likes it weird. You can't watch Waiting For NESARA and leave unmoved - even if your personal reaction is characterized by much stifling of laughter. Haradon, for what it's worth, doesn't explicitly reveal his hand - does he believe these people? I'd be very surprised if he did - let's just say he gives them plenty of rope.
Circumstantially, Haradon scores on a number of brilliant visual jokes - juxtapositions let's say - that are too good to pass up. The fact that these things aren't contrivances but actually just the sad reality of Open Mind Forum meetings makes them all the more poignant and trenchant. From confused diners looking on in shock when the Forum is forced to meet in the corner of a restaurant, to NESARA patron Saint Germaine sharing 'altar' space with Colonel Sanders, it seems like the Forum can't get a break. These manifestations of bland consumerism meeting bemused disbelief, however, are the legs on which Waiting For NESARA stands, and they're sturdy.
This story is so compelling because it combines so many things that Americans in particular obsess about every day. As Open Mind Forum leader Jim frequently asks his small audience, who in their right mind wouldn't want all debts forgiven, the IRS to go away, and large 'prosperity checks' to arrive in the mailbox? Why, it's everyone's dream! And if Clinton signed it into law, then what's the hold-up? This is where NESARA gets tricky, and makes for compelling (if not forehead-slapping) viewing.
It seems as if the whole NESARA ball got rolling in Utah, stronghold of the Mormon faith. Like Open Minders, Mormons are known to have some pretty wild beliefs. Then again, what religion doesn't flout the bizarre and supernatural? It just depends on what side of the fence you're on, right? So, even though plenty of Open Mind followers appear to be poor, disenfranchised whack-jobs, who are we to judge? Belief in the unseen is sort of a core element of being human, (possibly one of the reasons why the human animal is so messed up) and as Haradon seems to imply it just depends how far along that scale you are as to what theory you'll buy into.
The NESARA folks (if the whole thing didn't actually start as an out-of-control Internet hoax) ultimately got the timing thing wrong, however, as freakishly distorted pay-per-minute phone messages from various saints and hybrid aliens constantly push the date of NESARA's enactment further into the future. I certainly am looking forward to those 'prosperity' checks (though as one interviewee points out, when St. Germaine's billions start flooding the market inflation might become a problem). However, as Open Mind leader Jim points out, my negative thoughts on the matter might be hampering our progress towards divinity. In this case I need to let the Violet Flame Of Transmutation turn my frown upside down.