Michael Moore Speaks Locally During Book Promotion Tour

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">MICHAEL J. ARVIZU
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Political satirist and Academy Award-winner Michael Moore spoke before a throng of about 2,000 students Oct. 17 at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall in Eagle Rock, part of the Los Angeles portion of a book tour promoting his latest work, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” Moore won the 2003 Oscar for best documentary for his film “Bowling for Columbine.”

Students and fans of Moore gathered as early as 5 a.m. to hear Moore’s noon time speech. They gathered at the steps of Thorne Hall, forming a line that extended almost half a mile, to get a glimpse of the controversial speaker and gamble at the chance to hear him speak.

Before the main event, Moore brought his message to the roughly 1,000 people gathered outside who could not get in. His two speeches were similar although he ended by saying, “Thanks for letting me finish my Oscar speech,” before being led inside by security.

Moore’s talk focused on a range of issues, including the war in Iraq, the recent California recall election and the endless bickering that is found on cable news channels.

“We’ve all got to get involved,” Moore said. “We love this country, we love the principles it stands on. It’s highly flawed, but we can figure this out together. We exist in a liberal mainstream majority in this country. This is who we are. This is America.”

Moving to the recent recall election in California, Moore blasted the voting system, saying that a country such as Canada can determine the winner of an election in roughly four hours as opposed to California, which will not know the official results until about November — almost a month after the election.

According to Moore, it has become the status quo that everything has to do with Sept. 11. Moore said U.S. intelligence reported that some terror groups, possibly linked to al Qaeda, had obtained maps of U.S. mountain trails. The notion that terrorists will strike U.S. camp trails is absurd, says Moore, who blames the Bush administration for conjuring up stories to the point that it will scare Americans into doing anything.
“There is no terrorist threat,” Moore said. “The Bush administration is insulting the memory of that day [Sept. 11],” said Moore. “Get us afraid enough and we’ll agree to anything.”

However, Moore believes that Americans are letting these fears overpower them because America has become a disoriented society.

“When you have a population that is that disoriented … you have a dangerous situation, my friends. Because when you have a disoriented public, then it is easy to manipulate the public with lies and with fear.”

This disorientation stops, Moore says, when the media starts telling the truth and starts doing their job: “There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no connection between Saddam and 9/11. There is no coalition of the willing. There is a coalition of the bribed and coerced. And the French are not our enemies.”

Throughout his speech, Moore compared the United States to our neighbors to the north – Canada, and in fact used Canada as an example for solidarity.

“If one person loses their job, everyone suffers,” said Moore of Canada. “If one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. Most Americans do have a good heart, even though they don’t know a lot about what is going on in the world.”

Moore believes that America is the victim of enforced ignorance. “Why is it that we target the homeless person first? Or the poor person? Or the person in the wheelchair? This country exists as a sharp contrast to other countries whose societies are based on the foundation of helping others for the good of the entire nation,” Moore said.

“Our basic instinct is good. We just don’t seem to act on it very much,” Moore said.

“Dude, Where’s My Country” is in stores now.