We can learn a lot from our friends: from observing their mistakes and triumphs in their times of crisis; and, from their advice and words of comfort to us in our times of need. But frankly, we can learn a lot more from our “enemies”—those who challenge and critique us, who force us to take a long hard look in the mirror (and perhaps for the first time, honestly contemplate what we see in the reflection) in order that we may be able to grow as individuals; or, in the case of Michael Moore’s films, that America may be able to progress as a society.
Whether you love him or hate him, you must admit, Michael Moore has done what few people have managed to do, and that is use an established system as a vehicle for social activism and open criticism of the very system itself. Think about it: Hollywood Boulevard is no less an artery feeding the heart of capitalism than Wall Street is. The stock markets beat the right ventricle on the east coast and the media beat the left ventricle on the west coast. Information and money flow together throughout the capitalist system like blood and plasma. So the fact that Michael Moore is able to produce mainstream activist documentaries in Hollywood and then have them widely distributed at conglomerate-owned megaplexes is as astonishing as it is ironic.
But then, Michael Moore specializes in astonishment and irony, doesn’t he? The astonishing and ironic actions of General Motors documented in “Roger & Me” may have been lost on the American public twenty years ago, so in his latest film, “Capitalism – A Love Story” Mr. Moore makes certain that the astonishing and ironic fact of GM’s declaration of bankruptcy is not lost on Americans today. And yet, GM’s story is but a drop in the bucket in Moore’s sweeping critique of the capitalist system, the bank bailouts, job losses, foreclosures, the demise of the American Dream, et cetera. The astonishing and ironic fact that all this takes place in the wealthiest country on the planet, where 1% of the population are worth more than 95% of the rest of the population, combined.
So why should Americans love Michael Moore? If you count him as a friend, then you can follow his example of working the system to bring about positive change and take his advice about what needs to change. If you count him as a foe, a “left-wing shit-disturber,” a communist, a “royal pain in the ass,” or whatever, then you can look inside yourself and ask “why?” Why are you opposed to considering making changes to the system that are based in compassion, equality, responsibility toward the collective good, and—heaven forbid—love? For at the end of the day, your opposition to (or “hatred” of) Michael Moore, his films, and his ideas does not come from Mr. Moore…it comes from within you. Knowing that, what can you learn about yourself? How can you grow and develop, now that you have new insight into your animosity toward your “enemy”? How can America progress as a society, after looking deep within its own soul, thanks to the tragic love story of capitalism, as told by Michael Moore?