The other day we joined a number of other damned liberals at one of Santa Fe’s local theaters for a showing of Michael Moore’s new film, “Where to Invade Next.” This may well be one of Moore’s best documentaries. Like the reviewer in the article I’ve linked to below, we laughed more than we expected to.
What I didn’t expect was the anger this film evoked. It’s amazing to discover that here in “the land of the free and the brave” the very principles by which America used to define itself no longer exist, while they’re alive and well in Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Tunisia, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway– to name but a few. Amazing and infuriating. (I tend to forget that while I may be a healer in this life, I’ve been a warrior in many others, and that warrior left the theater steaming!)
So after three days of fury directed toward the government, the politicians, and the mega corporations that have basically trashed what once defined us– and the upset stomach that accompanies any bouts of fury I may indulge in– I had to stop and ask myself the question that underlies all the dodging and weaving by which Americans (myself among them) try to avoid confronting the very serious issues that face our country today. What can I do about this?
We can vote, yes. But for whom? And for what? The issues Moore raises in his film are not on the table. Instead we’re urged to vote for the candidate with the most engaging smile, the most refined manner, the most rabble-rousing rhetoric, the most (or least) degree of diplomacy, etc., etc. But not for raising the minimum wage, supporting single parents and seniors, improving the quality of American education, providing access to better medical care and healthy (non-GMO, organic, compassionately raised) food. And if we take to the streets, as many in Moore’s film have done, we’re bludgeoned, shot, and/or incarcerated by out-of-control and heavily armed police. It’s all too frustrating.
Finally my husband, tired of mini meals and leftovers while I struggled with my stomach, reminded me that this was the fourth film of its kind that we’d seen since Christmas. The others were “Bridge of Spies,” “The Big Short,” and “Spotlight”– all excellent exposes of the death of the American Dream. “This means something,” he said cryptically. “Somewhere, someone– or several someones– want this to come out, to be known. It’s been swept under the rug for decades and now all of a sudden, here it is.”
He is right. Finally my anger subsided, my stomach calmed down, and I was able to remember that even though I can’t always “do something” about what troubles me, things are happening offstage– subtle changes taking place– alterations of the matrix occurring that I may not yet be able to recognize.
It gave me hope, and that is the flower in Moore’s new film.