One of the big lies taught to American school children is that the United States single-handedly won World War II for the allies and saved the world. This distorted view of history, of course, leaves out the fact that our faithful European allies had been holding off a deadly foe for several years before the US had the decency to join them. Even then, it took the attack on Pearl Harbor to get this country moving. A fair reading of history reveals that it was the steadfastness of our allies, particularly Britain, who saved our civilizations. History now seems to be repeating itself, and once again much depends upon the determination of the British people.
It came as quite a shock to see how quickly Tony Blair enlisted the UK (and by his influence, much of the rest of Europe) to support the American government's decision to begin a war on Afghanistan. If ever there has been a time for proceeding slowly and fully evaluating the facts before committing to a deadly course of action, it was in the weeks immediately following September 11th. I still think our world would be a better place if the international political community had urged more restraint from those in control of the government in the United States.
What has now been done in the name of the American people cannot be easily undone, although undo it we must! The only question is where to begin, for our resources are few and must be used wisely. Perhaps the following information will prove helpful in this quest. I learned these facts recently and haven't been able to stop thinking about them.
The most important thing I discovered is that there's a sizeable number of people who are quite passionate about ending America's wars on the poor, the weak, and the less advantaged.
If you live in the US, right now and are receiving your information from the mainstream media, there is no way you could know this movement even exists. If you are not living in this country today, it will be difficult for you to understand the loss of freedom we have experienced here since the events of September 11th. Our media is now feeding the public a steady stream of government propaganda and outright lies. Virtually all of the U. media -- radio, television, newspapers, and magazines -- are ultimately owned by just six corporations (some experts now say five). And these six corporations are also very influential in government circles. In a way, this nation has become somewhat like Sarajevo when it was under siege in the 1990s. The only truthful information received is coming in over the Internet, and then passed by word-of-mouth to those who aren't connected. Fortunately, the lines of communication are still open. Which brings me to last Friday night in San Diego, a beautiful but highly conservative California city. Perhaps its conservatism stems from the area also being the home of several large military bases.
Into this uptight city, which is full of gas-guzzling SUVs flying flags as they speed along the freeways, rode the quintessential American cowboy. Although I didn't see his actual entrance, I am quite certain that Michael Moore must have come into town riding on the world's largest white horse. Under cover of a book signing tour, Moore led the most exciting political rally I have ever attended. My wife and I arrived two hours early, along with the rest of the Internet crowd who had been following Moore's tour online and knew what to expect. With an hour remaining before the program was to begin, the fire marshal closed the doors because the audience had already exceeded its capacity of 800. After receiving the gracious approval of those in the audience, Michael Moore began his presentation outside the auditorium speaking to a crowd of more than 1,000 people who weren't allowed into the main venue. It was too bad that no radio station was there to broadcast his remarks to the additional throng of people who were stuck in the massive traffic jam surrounding the area. (By the way, I could find nothing about this event in the local paper the next day!)
While we were waiting for Michael to join us, representatives from a wide variety of organizations gave brief presentations about their work and how we can assist them. Even the most dedicated long-term activists seemed completely taken off guard by the huge turnout. A powerful spirit is beginning to move once again in this land. And on Friday night that spirit was embodied in the persona of Michael Moore.
Unlike the slowly developing, fine-tuned speeches we hear sliding out of the mouths of our politicians, Michael Moore wasted no time getting to the point. Some of my favorite lines are:
"There is no recession, my friends: No downturn, no hard times. The rich are wallowing in loot, and now they want to make sure you don't come-a-lookin' for your piece of the pie."
"Our water is poisoned, the ozone's in shreds, and the SUVs are advancing like a plague of locusts."
"The government has been seized by a ne'er-do-well rich boy and his elderly henchmen."
"If you just do a little, you can sometimes do a lot."
Moore spoke for over two hours and then he answered questions from the audience. Hundreds of people were in line waiting to get Michael's autograph in their copy of his new book, Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation. This book, by the way, was printed on September 10th. After the tragedies of September 11th, the publisher decided it was "too out of touch with the American people," and they made plans to destroy all 50,000 copies of the unreleased book. Only by sheer force of will (and the invaluable help of the world's librarians who organized a support campaign through the Internet) did Moore force the publisher's hand. Released just two weeks ago, the book has already gone through nine printings and is at the top of almost every bestseller list in the country.
In his book, Michael Moore doesn't just tell us that the Emperor has no clothes, he also exposes much of the corruption that is eating away the very heart of this country. The good news is that word of Moore's courage to speak up is spreading like a wildfire throughout the land, which brings me to the second fact I learned that night. On our way to Moore's rally, we heard a radio interview with a man responsible for conducting some of the recent polls that I find so disturbing. For the most part, the man being interviewed reiterated all of the dreary numbers that seem to indicate that my countrymen and women have gone collectively mad. But then he let out one little fact that gave me great hope.
As the world already knows, the Bush-leaguers in Washington have signaled their intentions to escalate our current wars to include a full-scale invasion of the nation of Iraq. They say they intend to do this "with or without" allied support. Something startling came up in recent polls, however, which isn't being reported. Without the support of our allies, the power elite in Washington do not have the backing of the American public to attack Iraq unilaterally. You heard that right. This time the American people are looking outside themselves for approval. If none of our usual allies are willing to support our invasion of Iraq, the American government is going to find it next to impossible to retain the support of the American people for their foolhardy wars.
Far too many Americans have temporarily lost their courage to speak. Michael Moore is beginning to change that. Millions of people will soon have read his book. Things are stirring. People are beginning to come together once again to search for peace. Courage is returning. What we need now is a single cause upon which to focus. Expanding the war in Iraq may be such a cause. But time is short, and we need all the help we can get.
This is where our friends in the International Community can provide help that is valuable beyond measure. We need every peace-loving member of the human family to petition their government to think long and hard about supporting an expansion of the war on Iraq. This is a far too dangerous move to make without the fully informed consent of every citizen of every nation on Earth. There is no end-game for such a war. There is no plan for what to do if the leadership of Iraq is killed. This is nothing more than two rich oilmen, father and son, seeking revenge and more oil.
The shock of September 11th has become a permanent dull pain for most Americans. Large numbers of us are now ready to begin, once again, our search for ways to make this world a place where all forms of life can live together in peace and harmony. We Americans are far from perfect, and we know we don't have all the answers. At least, We the People know that. And now, We the People are asking for the help of our friends all around the world. Please speak-up. Petition your governments. Rally for Peace. And for the sake of all humanity, would some of you please remind Tony Blair that he is not running for office in the United States. If Blair withdraws his support for Team Bush, we might be able to get the attention of enough people over here to turn the tide. England, America now desperately needs your help. We know you will not let us down.
Postscript: After Michael Moore had been autographing books for over an hour, San Diego police stormed into the auditorium shouting threats of arrest to the people waiting quietly in line to have their books autographed. And, of course, the next day's newspaper made no mention of Moore's appearance or of the heavy-handed police tactics that are now being used to stifle dissent in this country.