Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore spoke at a rally at PSUyesterday, his speech marked with calls to vote out PresidentGeorge W. Bush and fierce attacks on the right-wing, the crowdresponding with keyed-up hollering and applause.
The rally, intended to encourage people to vote, especiallystudents, was organized by the Young Voters Project and CollegeDemocrats. Sierra Club helped organize and provided thefunding.
“We’re the majority and they’re the minority,” said Moore, “andon Jan. 20, they’re going to be the official minority.”
At the rally, which took place at the Urban Plaza at noon, Moorecriticized Bush and the Republican Party for everything fromnegative politicking to anti-gay marriage efforts to the war inIraq.
“They would much rather send the poor, the Hispanic, theAfrican-Americans from Portland to Iraq, than their own sons anddaughters,” said Moore, touching on a familiar theme from hisrecord-selling documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11”.
“They’ll never send their children to die in a foreign countrywhen they can send the children of the working people of thiscountry to line the pockets of Halliburton and the oilcompanies.”
The free event was the thirty-third of 60 dates on Moore’sSlacker Uprising Tour. Attendees with filled-out ballots were givenpriority for admission.
Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope also spoke at therally.
“Young Americans in particular have not been stepping up to theplate,” said Pope, “and Michael Moore has a particular power and aparticular message for young Americans that, in fact, they do makea difference, that, in fact, their vote is important and isvaluable.”
“[Kerry] is probably the member of the United States Senate whohas most steadfastly stated a really important truth: our continueddependence on fossil fuels and oil is bad for our nationalsecurity, is bad for our economy, is bad for our health, is bad forthe environment.”
Moore defended Kerry against critics that label him aflip-flopper when it comes to the Iraq war.
“So Kerry and 70 percent of the American people were wrong. Whatwas their crime? They believed the president of the United States.You’re supposed to be able to believe the president of the UnitedStates,” Moore said to the delight of the audience.
“You know,” continued Moore, “all Kerry needs to say to Bush is,’You know, Mr. Bush, I’ve only had one position on this war: Ibelieved you, and you didn’t tell the truth. You let us down, andnow you have to go!'”
A small group of Bush supporters, flagging Bush/Cheney signs andT-shirts, gathered at one corner of the rally to protest thefilmmaker’s appearance.
Though Moore repeatedly referred to the Bush supporters duringhis speech, there were no immediate reports of threats, abuse orassault.
“I thought it was good for Democrats,” said Andrew Ross, aRepublican. “Michael Moore made his point, he stands and believesin what he wants to believe in. I admire Michael Moore’s cause, butI disagree with his politics, and that’s the beauty ofAmerica.”
PSU student and Democrat Willian Hollaway shared this view.
“It was nice to see that there was a diverse crowd of alldifferent ages, different looks, different types of people, andthat people out here really care,” said Hollaway. “Even the Bushsupporters were out here fighting for what they believe in,although they may be different from my personal beliefs.”
The event, which was scarcely advertised due delays in securingfunds, was set up by the Young Voter’s Project, an organizationthat works to encourage youth voting, in conjunction with PSUDemocratic political group, College Democrats.
According to Molly Woon, president of the College Democrats,Moore spoke at PSU for free, whereas he usually charges a speakingfee.
“He devoted his time to the Young Voters Project,” saidWoon.
At the press conference Moore illustrated his intentions for hismovie and this tour.
“This year there’s a clear choice and we’re hoping, through ourefforts, to remove George W. Bush from the White House,” Mooresaid.
On the matter of voter-fraud, Moore said he and his wife arecontributing money to a lawyers’ group, which will send over 3,000lawyers to Florida, as well as encouraging concerned Floridians toform an “army of video cameras” to watch over the election in caseof foul play.
And if Bush wins, Moore said, “I and others will call for massnonviolent civil disobedience. I will not allow our White House tobe taken from us again. The right to vote, and the right to haveall the votes counted, is a precious right. It is the cornerstoneof a democracy. We will not sit back this time, and I regret we didthe last time.”
Moore also talked of his plans for his next film about HMOs andpharmaceutical companies and read passages from his new book, “WillThey Ever Trust Us Again?” which is a collection of letters toMoore from disgruntled soldiers in Iraq.
At the press conference, Moore made a point to mentionFahrenheit For Free, a program starting next week in which numerousindependent video stores across the country will be renting”Fahrenheit 9/11″ free of charge up until the election.Representatives were present from Beverly Hills Video and VideoUnderground, both of which are participating in Fahrenheit ForFree.
Information on participating video stores are available on hisweb site, www.michaelmoore.com.
At the rally, Moore spoke out against the mass media and theirrole in the war. “My question is to the media, and some of them arehere today: Where were you?” Moore asked, pointing his finger atthe press people in their closed off area. “Why didn’t you ask thehard questions and demand the evidence?”
“It’s absolutely embarrassing and disgusting,” he said.