By Keren G. Raz
Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 14, 2004
I learned on Monday that there are two sides to Michael Moore. He has his side that gets caught up in the moment and screams "Argh!" and "Shut the fuck up!" at the College Republicans who are among the 14,500 people in McKale Center.
Then he has his more thoughtful side that talks about how debating different ideas is healthy in a democracy and how we should try to overcome what he calls "the politics of hate."
I wish I had seen more of this latter side during Moore's speech at the UA.
Unfortunately, Moore's "Slacker Uprising Tour," which supposedly began to inspire more people to participate in the political process, degenerated into little more than an anti-Bush lecture.
I left uninspired and frustrated; I knew Moore could have made better use of his own time and my attention.
Regardless of what many of his critics say, Moore has a valuable and credible point of view that should be heard.
Specifically, he couldn't be further from the truth when he tells youth to vote because voting will get politicians to pay more attention to them.
He knows more than most about the political issues in this country (Did anyone notice how he knew about Arizona's Proposition 200?)
He has a team of fact checkers for his documentaries that make sure every fact is correct. You might believe his opinion is wrong, but notice how most of his facts are backed up by hard evidence in his documentaries. Notice how there have been no lawsuits.
And he has access to inside sources that keep him informed about what would otherwise go unobserved or unquestioned. (Did you catch at the rally how he got an internal Pfizer memo from inside sources?)
Before the debate, Moore spoke at a press conference with a more toned-down, more reasonable voice than the one he used at the rally.
What he had to say was incredibly valuable. I wish the 14,500 people who sold out McKale could have heard it.
Whereas Moore called Republicans "poor" and "pathetic" during the speech, at the press conference he admitted he doesn't hate Bush.
"I've never uttered the words 'I hate George W. Bush,'" he said.
When asked what he will do if John Kerry is elected as president, he didn't say he would celebrate or sign up for a government position.
Instead, he said he will continue to do his job and be critical of government.
"If John Kerry is elected, the next day my camera is trailing him."
In the press conference, he was reasonable and fair.
Unfortunately, the audience heard little of this, and as far as I am concerned, that made his speech a big disappointment.
When confronted with a mass of mostly Kerry supporters, he succumbed to exactly that which he criticizes Bush for doing: espousing "politics of hate."
Now I know at this point in the column, College Republicans are probably going to start composing their letters to chastise Moore for perpetuating lies and hatreds.
But they are just as guilty as Michael Moore.
At the speech on Monday, the College Republicans were obnoxious, constantly booing and making noise during his speech.
And they, along with Michael Moore when he's in protest mode, do nothing more than polarize our country.
Even Michael Moore (in press conference mode) admitted the polarization has gotten out of hand.
"Everyone should respect everyone as a human being," he said.
It's too bad Moore, like the College Republicans and the rest of us, can say respect but can't show respect as the election approaches.
It's clear there are a lot of very angry people who have stopped listening and started ranting.
In one of my political science classes, people got into a debate a few weeks ago over the election. It ended in a shouting match.
Witnessing all this, I just wonder how the anger will subside after the election ends. How will the next president get anything done?
Perhaps things would be a lot better if, instead of shouting "shut the fuck up," we all began to shut the anger up instead.
That way we could concentrate on real, constructive discussions of the issues and put aside the "politics of hate."
We have a few weeks until the election. For the sake of this country (and this campus), let's give it a try.
Keren G. Raz is a senior majoring in English and political science. She can be reached at email@example.com.