[Posted in 6.14.19 comment thread for “And I Knew When I Got There…“]

In the opening voice-over, Tommy Lee Jones‘ Sheriff Bell speaks about decency, trust, values, tradition. About how previous generations of Texas lawmen had behaved and held their end up and handled their jobs with due diligence. And about a kind of feral madness in the land that, to Bell’s dismay and confusion, has begun to manifest.

The dream Jones tells his wife about at the finale is a bookend — a return to this meditation. The trust and affection he felt for his father and the values he lived by — knowing without being told that his dad was riding on ahead to find a camping spot and build a fire. Jones longs for that history, that sense of assurance and steadfast character in daily life.

“And then I woke up,” Bell says, finding himself in the present with the spreading malice and madness of the Anton Chigurhs and a moral or spiritual atmosphere that will one day embrace even worse things, including the monster that is Donald Trump.