Monday, November 03, 2008

Michael Moore, Mike's Election Guide 2008

A review

For many years, especially across Europe, the left's main limit has been one of communication. When I was at University, I was absolutely stunned by how most lecturers (mostly left-of-centre) appeared to bask in a self-important sea of cryptic language and dense sentences. They may have been well-meaning, yet there was always the suspicion that their main priority was to speak in the arsiest language possible, drowned in a sea of never-ending paragraphs and elitist jargon.

Similarly, it is often said that today's left is failing to speak to people's hearts, even though blunders like the Iraq war and the credit crisis would be the perfect background for the return of ideals based on redistribution, fairness and civil rights.

Michael Moore is the perfect answer to the problem. His latest book, Mike's Election Guide 2008 makes the perfect case for the Democrats in the run-up to the US presidential elections. You don't have to be a political buff to understand his argument. Often tongue-in-cheek, his priority is that of reaching out to any ordinary citizen concerned with their daily problems, without ever resorting to trite populism.

As our readers probably know, Moore gained enormous popularity during the Bush years. Both his film/documentaries Bowling for Columbine and Farenheit 9/11 were excellent arguments against the Republican's grip on American public opinion. Especially in the case of foreign policy and the Iraq war, his stance has been vindicated. While in 2003 70% of Americans were on Bush's side, most people today admit that Moore (and Barack Obama, for that matter) had been right all along.

Mike's Election Guide 2008 starts with some hilarious Q&A in which ordinary members of the public express their prejudices, doubts and concerns. The topics range from people's spiralling credit card debts to gay partnerships.
There are men who ask :"If Iran has weapons of mass destruction we should invade, right?" and women who wonder if their views on abortion are compatible with their Catholic faith. Michael Moore replies that "[W]omen are not allowed to be pastors. [They] are viewed in such high esteem in the Catholic Church that your good pastor is not allowed to be in love with any of them, let alone marry them". Interestingly, Moore is also of the opinion that Hillary Clinton "went against her own heart" when she voted in favour of the Iraq war in order to show America that "she could kick ass and start wars just like a man". Obama, instead, stayed true to his beliefs and voted against the war in spite of all the prejudices against his surname and accusations of not being patriotic enough.

There are also provocative statements such as his call to bring back the draft or the suggestion that anyone who tries to make a profit from healthcare should be arrested and healthcare made free and accessible to every American. McCain and the Republicans still disagree.

Moore also calls for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to be indicted for crimes against humanity. "If I'm asleep at the wheel of my car", he writes, "and that causes the death of innocents then I am liable, and I can guarantee that I AM GOING TO JAIL". By the same token, Moore argues, the Bush administration's mixture of pre-meditation, negligence and incompetence that caused so much death and suffering, from Iraq to New Orleans, shouldn't go unpunished.

Overall, Mike's Election Guide 2008 is a compelling read, quick, trim and amusing. Let's just hope that on election day people will put it to use.


thepatriot said...

Moore has made an absolute fortune from playing the pious soul during the Bush years. Was McCain to lose, Moore may as well start looking for a new job.

socialist sam said...

Wow, patriot, what an observation.
So basically Moore should hand his books out for free or what?
Is that the best you can come up with?
Shall he keep his mouth shut just because the people who oppose Bush are there in the legion and may buy his films and books?

Anonymous said...

fat bloke that moore is. I dont like him