Somewhere between civil disobedience and outright violent revolution lies the true compromise we face.
The temperature at which the Bush Administration melts
Yesterday afternoon I went to the Edwards Grand Teton Stadium 14 in Idaho Falls (the closest theater for me in SE Idaho) to watch Fahrenheit 9/11, and it was a real treat.
Attending the 2:10PM showing, I didn’t think there would be many folks there to see it early on a Thursday afternoon. After buying my ticket and hitting the concession stand, I remembered I wanted to buy a Post Register. PR reporter Milan Gagnon has let us here on 43SB know he was writing an article about F9/11's premier. According to the article, Wednesday’s 11:30AM showing had a technical problem, and the theater was unable to show the last 10 minutes of the movie, necessitating a refund to the audience.
When I returned to the theater, the movie had just begun, and the audience had swelled to somewhere between 40 and 60 people. A quick glance gave the impression that a majority of the audience were senior citizens, with the rest consisting of those under 30. Being in my 40s, I was definitely in the minority.
About the movie itself: much of what I saw I already knew about, having previously read the info in news reports and blogs online. But there was also a lot I didn’t know, or perhaps had forgotten (as corrupt and venal as is the Bush administration, it becomes difficult to keep track of it all).
Watching Vice-President Al Gore forced to follow the rules of the Senate and repeatedly gavel down African-American members of the House of Representatives was both sad and disturbing. These U.S. House members were attempting to protest the certification of the 2000 election results due to the disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida. But since no member of the all-white U.S. Senate would sign their appeal (thanks again, Senators Craig and Crapo), Senate rules state they were not allowed to speak, and V.P. Gore had no choice but to disallow their comments. Seeing that happen was painful.
Not all of Michael Moore’s fire is directed at Bush and his cronies. A few Democrats who allowed Bush carte blanche on the run-up to the Iraq invasion are singled out, and rightly so.
The first half of the movie deals with Bush and his administration’s incestuous relationiship with the Saudi rulers, including the bin Laden family, and their connections with the military industrial complex, specifically the Carlyle Group.
Stephen Rosenthal and Junaid Ahmad on ZNet do a good job of explaining the rest of the movie:
Moore then devotes most of the rest of the film to the U.S. war on Iraq. He satirizes Bush’s “coalition of the willing” by listing some of the militarily insignificant countries that did agree to join the coalition of invaders of Iraq. He briefly reviews the now thoroughly exposed lies Bush and his pals presented to gain support for invading Iraq. He dramatizes the human consequences of the war for the tortured and bombed Iraqis, for the American military soldiers who are fighting and dying in this preemptive war, and for the families, both Iraqi and American, who are devastated by the war’s deadly destruction. He provides footage of meetings where corporate leaders eagerly discuss the profits they expect to reap from the exploitation and reconstruction of Iraq.
Most poignant is the story told by Lila Lipscomb, mother of Michael Pederson, killed in Iraq after Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared victory in Iraq. Lipscomb lives in Moore’s hometown, Flint, Michigan. Lipscomb describes herself as a “conservative Democrat,” who used to despise anti-war demonstrators. A white woman married to a black man, she has fought to survive amidst the economic wreckage left behind in Flint by General Motors in its search for cheaper labor and higher profits. She encouraged her daughter and son to enlist in the army, and she reads from her son’s final letter home, in which he says of Bush, “He got us out here for nothing.” At the end of the film, she visits Washington, gets as close to the White House as she can, and pours out her anger at its occupant. Her obviously authentic testimony is perhaps Moore’s most potent ammunition in Fahrenheit 9/11.
In stark juxtaposition to Lila Lipscomb are the Congresspersons who scurry away from Moore when he tries to urge them to persuade their sons and daughters to enlist in the armed forces, and the fat cats attending one of Bush’s fundraisers whom Bush calls his “base.” By the end of the film, we see the immense contrast between the Bush crowd, who have launched a war to increase their wealth, and the ordinary working class people, who, as Moore observes, always make the biggest sacrifices in wars.
The right-wingers, squealing like stuck pigs, are upset that F9/11 is “propaganda.” Well, guess what, folks — it IS propaganda. Dictionary.com’s description of propaganda is:
The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is pure, unadulterated propaganda, but that doesn’t make it untrue. In the Post Register article, GOP committewoman Sheila Olsen of Bonneville County claims Moore’s purpose is “to try to spread lies.” But (probably in fear of overtaxing the tiny reptilian part of her brain), she is apparently unable to point out, and back up with facts, which parts of F9/11 are false. She also admits she hasn’t and will not see the movie. If ignorance is bliss, Ms. Olsen must be the happiest woman on Earth.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a movie I must see again, if for no other reason than — like drinking from a firehose — there’s so much information it’s tough to absorb it all in one gulp.
Folks, go see this movie. Make up your own mind. For me, it confirmed my worst fears about George W. Bush and his misadministration, and reminded me why I’ve become involved in politics in the last few years—the GOP wingnuts have wreaked serious damage to our country, and they must be stopped.
And don’t think it’s just hardcore Democrats who feel this way — let’s send it home with one last quote from the Post Register article:
“I thought the film was factual,” said retired university professor Francis Bybee, who drove from Star Valley, Wyo., with her husband to see the film. “We are Republicans, but I can see now why the Republican Party fought so hard to make sure the American public could not see the movie.”
Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, etc. — we all want our country back. In less than 122 days, working together, we can do it. (Oh, by the way — at the end of the movie, the audience broke out in a huge round of applause!)