Stayed up late last night (okay, after 10 p.m., my 40something definition of "late") to watch Michael Moore on CNN's Larry King show. And I was reminded just why I so admire that rather chunky, kinda plain-looking, somewhat foul-mouthed and always high-octane muckraker.
I admire him, of course, because he is a warrior. But more than that, last night's appearance reminded me that I respect the fact that despite his virulence and vituperative, he is nonetheless neither nihilist nor cynic; his driving force is optimism. I look up to him because he fights, yes -- but more so because isn't fighting so much against things as he's fighting for things.
And some of those things were reiterated last night, when Moore restated some key ideas behind his journalistic forays.
- He believes in government because government is Us, it is the People. Is is all of us working to assure some common good that are best provided by ourselves for ourselves -- like health care and social security. And those things really can work well and efficiently and fairly -- just look at the rest of the civilized countries in the world.
- That he does have a spiritual ethic behind his work (citing his Irish Catholic upbringing) -- but that he doesn't wear it on his sleeve or use his podium to be evangelical. Because he believes religion is a personal choice, and should stay that way.
- And most powerfully, he believes in Americans -- that we are a good, kind, caring people. "We might be a little slow on the uptake sometimes," he joked, but, ultimately, we will do what's right, and correct what's wrong -- if we're given good information.
Like Thoreau said, "Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something."
You can watch Michael Moore's appearance (about 20 minutes total), in three parts: part 1, part 2, and part 3.
PS As a side note, although he didn't explicitly endorse any presidential candidate, he commented that he could not, in good conscience, vote for Hilary Clinton -- even though he has long been an fan of hers -- because of her repeated support for the war "when 40 percent of the country knew from the start it was wrong." Food for thought.