What Fahrenheit 9/11 Means to Me

The New York Times says this about Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”:

The most moving sections of “Fahrenheit 9/11” concern Lila Lipscomb, a cheerful state employee and former welfare recipient who wears a crucifix pendant and an American flag lapel pin. When we first meet her, she is proud of her family’s military service ó a daughter served in the Persian Gulf war and a son, Michael Pedersen, was a marine in Iraq ó and grateful for the opportunities it has offered. Then Michael is killed in Karbala, and in sharing her grief with Mr. Moore, she also gives his film an eloquence that its most determined critics will find hard to dismiss. Mr. Bush is under no obligation to answer Mr. Moore’s charges, but he will have to answer to Mrs. Lipscomb.

In what I believe to be the saddest film I have ever watched, the last sentence from the Times encapuslates the movie for me. Forget whether or not you’re conservative or libel, republican or democrat, whether you hate Bush or can’t stand Moore’s weight, this movie isn’t really about that. The purpose of Fahrenheit 9/11 is to show that the actions of government greatly effect the general public.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” opened today at the Arclight flashing the words SOLD OUT on the main screen. Complete with security guards, the theater was packed…

Of course the movie takes numerous jabs at W which, I’ll admit that I found pretty satisfying, but I realize that these sceens (which get the most media attention) are preventing people from seeing this movie who would actually be moved by the real soul; the soliders serving in Iraq and the families who want them to come home. The soliders talking about the war are especially poignant – the young men and women who find the military as their only way to advance themselves, the dying men in battle, the Marine who refuses to go back because he says he won’t kill anymore people for no good reason. These are the people who are there and who don’t have the luxory like we do to make judgements safely in front of a television or computer screen. If anything, this movie should have just focused on them with their scared faces full of doubt, their buddies burning alive next to them, and then, in the best reward possible, the wounded soldiers in hospitals who the government won’t pay their bills.

One particular part of the film had me fighting back some serious sobs. It’s when Moore (in one of his two “prankster” type bits in the movie) approaches members of Congress to enlist their children in the military because only one Congress member has a son in the forces. And as silly and irritating as this move might be, it sadden me intensely to see all these families so willing and eager to have their sons/daughters go into the military, just as my family was when my brother joined the army, and yet how removed the people who help make these “war” decisions are. Why is my brother good enough to die but your son is not? It’s more than insulting.

Ultimately it’s more fun to make fun of someone’s weight, their politics, their way of speaking but I’m hoping that people just get over themselves and realize that this is a movie. Granted, it’s a powerful film made in a time where a lot of folks are searching for answers and it touches upon issues that may seem controversial at best to some, but I think that’s what makes living in America so fabulous.

Note: I turned off the comments to this because I’m not interested in debating this. The movie is providing the forum to create dialogue.