The Netflix limited series documentary “Amend” reminds an already deeply divided America that words like “unity,” “progress,” “equity,” and even “love” are only valid so long as one side of the political aisle has the sole power to define them. Ideologically, Americans are speaking two entirely different languages, a reality “Amend” puts on full display.
Netflix spared no expense in production, employing Will Smith as the narrator of the series, backed by a bevy of Hollywood hard-hitters including Helen Hunt, Samuel L. Jackson, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, Dermot Mulroney, and the star of the wildly popular Disney series “The Mandalorian,” Pedro Pascal. Producers also include most of the leading voices in the “war on language,” using activists such as Linda Sarsour and intersectionality maven Kimberly Crenshaw along with historians, civil rights lawyers, and other experts.
The overarching message of “Amend” is to replace the First Amendment rights to speech, religion, assembly, association, and the right to petition the government with an all-encompassing interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection clause.” In particular, the documentary holds up the issues of racial equality, the feminist movement, LGBTQ preferences, and immigration policy as examples of how the equal protection clause can be used to revise American traditions, institutions, values, and laws.
Indeed, in his interview for “Amend,” Al Gerhardstein, the lead attorney in Obergefell v. Hodges, argues, “We founded the government a second time … that’s what the Fourteenth Amendment is.”
To understand the intent of the documentary, one has to understand how leftists use terms in ways that are foreign to most English-speaking Americans. For instance, for “Amend,” “equality” — or “equal protection under the laws” — does not mean a black man should get the same treatment in a court of law as a white man. “Equality” to leftists means that black men should not be convicted of crimes in disproportionate numbers to their representation in the overall population.
In the third installment of “Amend,” entitled “Wait,” the claim is made that black Americans still do not have equal protection under the law in the present-day United States. Cases such as Michael Brown, George Floyd, and Treyvon Martin are cited as instances of how racial minorities are being robbed of their rights.
Yet, while the Floyd case is pending, we now know the Brown case was arguably a justified use of deadly force, and the Martin case was deemed self-defense. Still, the line of argumentation for the entire documentary series is that “equal protection under the law” really means “equal outcomes under the law.”
Consider, for instance, recent statistics on incarceration. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, black Americans represented about 12 percent of the U.S. population in 2020, yet made up 33 percent of those incarcerated in U.S. prisons. “Equality” in this instance would demand that at least 27 percent of those prisoners be released.
Moving beyond crime to the realm of education, according to the documentary’s understanding of “equality before the laws,” blacks represented in each of the nation’s colleges and universities should number at least 12 percent.
“Equality for women,” on the other hand, to leftists means that women should overtake and control at least half of the roles traditionally held by men. In one of the more revealing scenes in the documentary, Sarsour proclaims, “I can assure you. When women get power, we’re going to make everyone’s lives better.”
While that remains to be seen, Sarsour is sure to tell the audience what she seeks: power. And, as women represent roughly 50 percent of the population, for the Fourteenth Amendment to be fulfilled, women should have 50 percent of the public positions of society.
While it is unclear what kind of “power” Sarsour and her movement seeks, “Amend” makes it clear what is required to gain power. First and foremost, and thematic throughout the episode entitled “Control,” is the notion that women must have control over their bodies — which in the documentary, means unfettered access to abortion and birth control.
To have “equal protection under the laws,” the left believes women must be unfettered from burdens like pregnancy, marriage, and family life that might hinder their access to power in the workplace and politics. Again, as with race, “equality” means absolutely proportional outcomes in life for men and women alike. If 1,000 men are admitted to Harvard, then 1,000 women must also be admitted. Something like pregnancy cannot stand in the way of achieving these equal outcomes.
Finally, the documentary’s concept of “love equality under the law” stretches the Fourteenth Amendment once more in the mission of redefining the word “love.” Smith proposes the following hypothetical: “If someone was trying to tell you what you and your partner do in your bedroom is illegal … I mean … I’d bet you’d feel some kinda way about that.”
Of course, the government does indeed have an interest in what two people decide to do in their bedroom. Thankfully, by law, husbands are not allowed to assault their wives in the bedroom or elsewhere. While a person could consent to be murdered by another person “in the bedroom,” the notion that consent was given and it was done in private does not make that act any more lawful than if it were done in public without consent.
The exclamation point to the “Amend” series concerns immigration. This episode entitled “Promise” causes the viewer with a more traditional and historic understanding of equality and justice to begin to ponder what this notion of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment might not include. To expand the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to say women can dispose of unwanted children, citizens can do anything they would like in the privacy of their bedrooms, and America shouldn’t really have meaningful national borders, one wonders, “Where does this stop?”
Truly, it wouldn’t be a leap to suppose that a foreign national considering whether to immigrate to the United States might not be horrified by “Amend,” conceptualizing the United States as a hotbed of fear and suffering instead of a land where one can freely prosper like no other place on earth.
Who would want to come to a place where men were enslaved, tortured, lynched, denied rights, and murdered in the streets by government officials that we call “police”? Who would want to come to a place where women are routinely treated as childbearing housemaids? Who would want to come to a place where you could lose your job for who you love?
Sadly, this is the America “Amend” portrays — contorting and redefining the language of liberty, freedom, and prosperity. At its heart, “Amend” amounts to a well-produced, well-acted, and well-expounded helping of propaganda for the ongoing war on language and history.
Effective propagandists are not going to forthrightly proclaim, “Release violent criminals. Murder unborn babies. Have sex with anyone at any time. Then we’ll be free.” Instead, they are going to complain of “mass incarceration,” “a woman’s control of her own body.” Insidiously, “Amend” seizes words like “equality,” “love,” and even “democracy” and transforms them from good, noble things into manifestations of destruction, and ultimately, evil.