Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Michael Moore & MoveON.org last night 

Last night at the First Unitarian Church in Philly, hundreds packed the pews to hear the live webcast of Michael Moore responding to questions about his new film.

First I want to say that I was glad I went, because it was a great experience hearing Moore's voice discuss the film, Nader, etc.. Hassen had saved us seats, which were pretty good seats, but I have one very big bitch to voice. The Green Party people in the back must have been baked out of their minds. EVERY time Michael Moore said something they liked they'd start applauding, which of course filled the room which is built to carry sound...it's a church after all. And OF COURSE Michael Moore was NOT actually in the room (you dumbass hippy stoners!) and OF COURSE he didn't pause for applause, and we missed SO MUCH of what he had to say. There would be this deafening applause, and it would stop, in time to hear something like, "...as we know about Nader." What about Nader?

But Moore read an e-mail from an embarrassed nonvoter who saw the new film, and has sworn to vote for the first time.

He read another e-mail from a Republican with a grumpy tone, and the guy said that he went to see what the film was all about, and walked out of the theater a changed man. He says he will NOT vote for Bush, and thanks Michael Moore for this. (did Michael Moore say he was going to interview this guy Hassen?)

This event was put together by MoveOn.org, and of course the focus of the night wasn't so much the film, but the film's impact on voting. So Moore and MoveOn are starting a nationwide campaign to get folks to the voting polls. Carpools and rides for the elderly, things like that. And Moore's big challenge is that each of us adopt 5 non-voters and work them till they WANT to vote.

Hassen, you said something last night I found interesting. You said that seeing Fahrenheit 911 was a relief, that it was making it easier in the sense that the information was circulating, that you didn't feel like you had to convince people all the time about what was going on. The sense of solidarity in the air, and now we can work on fighting together, is how I walked away with what you said.

Mary Kalyna was there with us, and she had action alert flyers from the Global Women's Strike about what we can all do to help "stop the rape and torture of Iraqi women and US servicewomen by US military personnel, and women in US prisons." We were helping her hand them out, and most people were interested and wanted to know more about the Global Womens Strike. But there was one older man and his wife who disturbed me. I handed them the flyer (handed it to her, since she was the one who made eye contact). They looked it over together, and handed it back. I took it back without questioning them, then the old man said, "We're here to defeat Bush!"
(me) "Yeah, okay."
(him) "Getting rid of him will change a lot of these problems."
(me) "Women won't be raped anymore if Bush gets elected?"
(him) "Bush is the reason we're in Iraq."
(me) "I know that, I know that. But the war won't magically vanish just by electing Kerry."
(him) "But Kerry will straighten things like this out."
(me) "Really?"
They walked away after that. Now, I KNOW that this old man is not holding any kind of general consensus, at least, I certainly hope not. But I wanted to share this, because it was so weird, and disturbing, but also because it's important to share this sort of conversation to help keep us all vigilant that no one --even in much smaller ways-- gets to seeing things as too black and white that we'd believe merely voting gets the job done.

I really do hope that this energy going into the next few months doesn't fall apart after the election. That old man was REALLY old, and maybe for him, this was his way of saying that voting is all he feels up for doing. Which is fine, but it would be great to take all this steam being built to get rid of Bush, and to then use it to get Kerry FINALLY pointed in the right direction for this country.

Last night I dreamt (probably due to meeting this old man) that an old man was dying, and I was in the hospital to visit Gil Ott, and the old man was saying that he wanted to vote. And I said that the election was months away, and that if he wanted to vote that he had to hold on until November. Then he told me that if you're dying you're allowed to vote ahead of time, and that that's how Bush won the last election, because he tricked dying old folks like himself into voting. How did he do that, I asked the old man. "He promised us life!" What a weird dream.


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