MT. PLEASANT, Mich. — After watching weeks of political polls in the corporate media that extolled the strength of the Bush campaign and the weakness of his Democratic opposition, an event occurred at my university that gave me faith once again in the strength of our grassroots movement against the ultra-right.
I am from a small town in central Michigan and I have felt a certain sense of disillusion. While Michigan was historically the center of union militancy and progressive politics, it seems to have moved more in the direction of support for militias, corporate downsizing and welfare-to-work programs. I’ve felt like my state was out of touch with the struggles occurring worldwide against the Bush agenda.
But then a voice of comfort and inspiration appeared, mobilizing the progressive voices of my community to turn out for an evening of dissent and motivation. Yes, this evening Mt. Pleasant, Mich, received a visit from a local hero, Michael Moore.
While about 50 Republican students attempted to hold a pro-Bush rally outside of Central Michigan University’s Rose Arena, students and community residents of all ages lined up for several city blocks to hear Moore expose the hypocrisy and deceit of the Bush administration. Moore received cheers for the work he has done in denouncing the criminal and dangerous nature of the modern Republican Party.
Moore’s message was not one of despair or simply of condemnation, but a wider message of hope that challenged students to not simply be passive observers, but to actively involve themselves in the election. Moore appealed to the students to follow his three-step program: “Wake up at noon, change your underwear and vote against Bush on Nov. 2.” Unlike his stance in the 2000 elections, Moore chastised the Naderites, stating, “There is too much at stake in this election, people are dying and will continue to die under Bush.”
Moore encouraged youth disillusioned with politics to go to the polls this year stating, “Kerry sucks and Bush sucks, but I’m voting for Kerry.” By targeting swing states with his “Slacker Uprising” tour, Moore may help to make the difference in mobilizing the youth vote, which is so vital in defeating the Bush administration this year.
Joel Lewis is a Ph.D. candidate in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.