Posted by: Michael George Daniel | November 5, 2012

Letter to Michael Moore

Dear Michael,

I really appreciate the email letter below urging folks to vote. I will even post it and send it to friends because I agree with your mission. I also agree in general with your sentiments and some of the specific points. But I’d like to take exception to just a couple of things. I wonder if you might consider my unsolicited criticism.

I realize there is an element of marketing in your letter. For a long time people have told me that you must meet people where they are. I usually respond by saying, ‘yea, but you’ve got to tell them the truth.’ In your first paragraph you correctly point out the fact that the democratic and republican choices seem to offer little difference in, shall we say, values, approach, objectives, orientation, allegiance, etc. But the examples you cite, underwater mortgage, owing $50,000, war in Afghanistan. As huge as these things are, are they more important than a living Earth? Climate change not withstanding, are they more important than at least the effort to include in the list an acknowledgment that it is the system itself, the deepest story that we tell ourselves, especially as Americans, that is destroying the environment (by commoditizing all of nature), shredding social fabric (by commoditizing all human relationships) and resuscitating an economic system that no longer works?

Surely if you hope to be effective you consider the need to ground down to core issues before responding. Perhaps I am arguing for a different mission here; rather than simply trying to divert those that won’t vote toward a lesser-of-the-two-evils vote, you might raise awareness in a way that can lead to fuller, more effective responses. Let’s be clear. Such a fuller response isn’t idle idealism. It is wholly pragmatic in that anything less is leading us to a global catharsis that literally threatens the capacity of the planet to support higher life forms for, at the very least, a very, very long time. I believe you get this and I’m writing to urge you to start speaking it more clearly and forcefully, as I am attempting to do now.

In the second paragraph the emphasis is on blame; as if prosecuting Wall Street will make a difference. Perhaps eliminating Wall Street would, but to imply otherwise is more manipulative than helpful. More importantly, from this paragraph, not only were “basic constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial…ignored”, they were proactively shredded and replaced with blatant, viscous top-down violence. Being politically correct by suggesting that these rights were simply ‘ignored’ leads to a white-wash of the truth; meeting people where they are in this way is ultimately a disservice. Really the lesson is spiritual; the means (violence) are the ends and until we get this, we’re screwed. I’m arguing for an acknowledgement of how important this really is. To say rights were ignored, but not point out that despicable violence was the insidious power used to keep a failing, destructive hierarchy in place serves to, well, keep it in place.

In the fifth paragraph I reacted to the term, “stole our future.” The reality is that circumstances are stealing our future. The failure to acknowledge those circumstances – peak resources, peak pollution, peak debt, climate change, peak inequity, violent enforcement – to not speak them, not understand their roots, and not respond to them from such a place of ‘truth’ – that is the great accessory to the crime – a theft of soul – the great shaming we endure as a species as we allow life itself to slip away whether through our silence, our unquestioning enslavement to an economic system, or our ignorance of an unprecedented die-off of species diversity every day due to the killing nature of the entire structure. If there are future generations to reflect upon our cowardice, they will surely feel our shame. We should be so lucky. I’m arguing for you to step up even more –for the courage – to speak this deeper reality more clearly and directly.

I find the term “tsunami of hate” interesting. It would be really useful for all of us to recognize the vibration of fear that undergirds everything right now, not the least of which is the conservative perspective. This fear is conditioned into us through the collective influence of all that have come before us and it is amplified by our market emphasis, money system and patriotic, separatist mindset. It is keeping us in denial, and from acting. The opportunity, truly, is to help everyone begin to visualize what the world would be like if a vibration of love, compassion and inter-being resonated through each of us and the systems in which we participate. Thus examples of owning a house, free college, and OMG, new cars; well, they are quite reactionary in their own way, wouldn’t you agree? Property rights plays and essential role in the violent hierarchy. Colleges continue to reinforce the problematic structures we can’t seem to free ourselves from. And our ideas about freedom, entitlement and individualism as they are reflected by, say, the desire for a new car, well, those are really bad things Michael. And they obviously serve to promote more of the same at a systems level and there is no time left for that system.

It is eminently refreshing to recognize that there is a robust discussion right now in our society of how a gift economy works; a vision of the future that doesn’t reinforce the fear-based belief of needing a job to survive. Really Michael, we can do better than the examples you cite as I’m sure you learned making ‘Capitalism, A Love Story’. (I’m sorry if all that sounded preachy. I’m on a roll.)

“That’s all gone. I don’t know if we can get it back…” Well, here’s the opening. Let me try to be a bit more specific. What I’m talking about is the lack of a progressive viewpoint in the conversation and a lack of vision. I live in Connecticut. We have a Fox-Owned TV station here. We are, ostensibly, a ‘liberal’ or democratic/blue state. Yet we have a robust conservative voice literally controlling the media. The voice of real progressive-ism is missing, and this is what is needed most in the world today. Old ideas, old perspectives, old paradigms won’t cut it. I am appealing to you to include a truly progressive perspective in the expression of your voice (and please come to Connecticut and express it.) I believe you share this perspective, but when it is missing in communication for perhaps marketing purposes, being politically correct – (alright, that is probably unfair – I mean, Michael Moore, politically correct?) – maybe more accurately simply trying to ‘meet people where they are, it leads to an error of omission.

If the emperor has no clothes on, it is not our job to find his pants, but rather to see him for what he is. Our social systems of rigged free markets, manipulated capitalism and perverted democracy, and deepest cultural stories of separation, domination, patriarchy, American exceptionalism (that, yes, you seem to cater to) – all have no clothes on now. It is time to see ‘them’ now for what ‘they’ really are. If they were not rigged, manipulated and perverted, they would still be problematic! The real opportunity is to see that these things all vibrate with fear; they are built on a fear-based story. We commit an egregious error when we proclaim ‘get the emperor some clothes’ rather than say ‘throw the privileged, fear-based and fear-mongering imperialist out!’ To the extent that Obama is cut from the same imperial cloth as Romney, we are killing our selves by giving energy to an election that has little hope of making a difference – without at least contextualizing it, as I am attempting here.

The simplest conception of consciousness is choice; recognizing the power of our choice to create and participate in a world that resonates with love. Leaders such as yourself might lend your amazing imagination to helping everyone envision what-could-be – a world that reflects the truth that survival relies not on the strength of our economy, but on the strength of our inter-beingness; our interconnection and, sorry American Dream, our inter-dependence – with all things.

Blaming different political ideologies for the straits we are in is barking up the wrong tree. Yes, the election of the craven, reactionary perspective of the republicans would be a very bad thing. But so is refusing to drill down to the cornerstone of the dysfunctional systems that currently dominate. Your letter is powerful, and I appreciate what you are doing. My hope is that you can take an understanding of the points that I am trying to articulate and somehow weave them into equally powerful efforts in the future. It really is important. Scaring the sh**t out of ‘them’ is a seductive tact. But ultimately we are talking about speaking truth to power from a place of love. Love for each other, love for our Mother and even love for ‘them.’ It is most helpful to recognize that ‘they’ act more from a place of fear than any of the rest of ‘us’. In the end, or maybe more poignantly, to avoid the ‘end’, we need urgently (that means now, not later), to connect the ‘them’ and ‘us’ in a very new way. I urge you to put your awesome skills at work helping bring such a new way forth.  

Here’s Michael Moore’s letter to which I am responding:

Letter to a Non-Voter …from Michael Moore

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

To my friend who is not voting on Tuesday:

I get it – and I don’t blame you. You’re fed up and you could care less whether Tweedledee or Tweedledumber wins on Tuesday – because on Wednesday, your life will be the same, unchanged, regardless who is president. Your mortgage will still be underwater. You will still owe $50,000 on your student loan. Your son will still be in Afghanistan. Your daughter will still be working two jobs to make ends meet. And gas will still be at $4.

Four years ago you gave in and voted – and you voted for Obama. You wanted to believe he would go after the Wall Street crooks who crashed the economy – but instead the banks that were “too big to fail” four years ago are now even bigger and more dangerous. You thought there’d be universal health care – but the new law only went so far (with most of it not taking effect until 2014). You were tired of war and homeland security measures that violated our civil liberties – but we’re still in Afghanistan, we’re sending in drones to Pakistan and basic constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial have been ignored. And you thought you’d have a middle-class, good-paying job like your dad had – but you didn’t know that Goldman Sachs was Obama’s #1 private campaign donor in 2008, and well, he was beholden to corporate America in more ways we cared to think about.

So, I get it why you’ve had it with all these politicians and elections. In the end, it doesn’t really seem to be our country any more. It’s run by those who can buy the most politicians to do their bidding. Our schools are made a low priority and women are still having to fight for just the basic human rights we thought they already had.

So, it’s hard for me to ask you for this very personal favor. It’s OK if you say “no,” but I’m hoping you don’t.

I cannot believe it is possible that, after a group of rich plutocrats wrecked the economy, threw people out of work and stole our future, we may actually hand the keys to our country over to…a rich Republican plutocrat who made millions by throwing people out of work! This is insane, and despite all the legitimate criticisms of Obama, he is nothing like the tsunami of hate and corporate thievery that will take place if Mitt Romney is president. As bad as it feels now, it will only get worse. I need your help to stop this.

I can’t promise you that your life will get better, easier under Barack Obama. I do think he cares and I know for sure that if the other guy is sitting in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you that not only will your life not get better, it will get much, much worse. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask your parents what life was like before a 30-year pillage by the Republicans of the middle class. Your parents bought a house and eventually owned it outright. They weren’t in debt. College was free. They bought a new car every 3 or 4 years. They took vacations and were home for dinner by 5 or 6 PM. They had a savings account in the bank. They didn’t live in fear of not knowing if they’d even have a job next year.

That’s all gone. I don’t know if we can get it back, but I do know that Mr. Romney would love the chance to complete the final elimination of the middle class and the American Dream.

He must be stopped. Take 20 minutes on Tuesday and go vote. If you don’t want to do it for your country, then do it for me! It’s the only favor I’ll ever ask of you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know that you care, and care deeply, about your future and your kids’ future. You have every right to be cynical about all this. And you hold the power to stop the bastards who plan on squeezing every last dime out of you that they can. Take a stand. And make a statement to those who are hoping against hope that you’ll stay home on Tuesday. Your presence at the polls is what they fear most.

Go scare the s**t out of them! For me.

Yours,
Michael Moore

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