Last night (June 28th) almost 1500 people met at PSU's Smith Memoria Ballroom to discuss the implications of Michael Moore's new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Michael Moore's anti-Bush "Fahrenheit 9/11" became the highest-grossing documentary of all time on its first weekend in release, taking in $21.8 million as it packed theaters across the country last weekend. It was reported to have even been out such popular films as "Rocky".
The event last night was organized by MOVEON to bring together people of like mind who want to end the Bush Regime. About three-quarters of the those present had seen the film. Others were not able to see the film last weekend because it was sold out at multiple locations around the Portland area.
Amy Hojwoski Oregon's MOVEON Pac coordinator introduced the interactive screen and asked the audience to commit to registering voters, taking friends and neighbors to Moore's film, hosting house parties to get people to discuss the issues and...vote for a viable candidate to replace Bush. The MOVEON viable candidate is of course John Kerry. That was probably the weakness of the event. Many people expressed hope that a real discussion could take place with the audience and Micheal Moore.
The deeper discussions were happening between people who sat around me in the audience. While the MOVEON people took to the podium, audience members whispered their concerns about a strategy that included electing John Kerry. People around me wanted to hear more about what individuals could do to stop Bush. In the row in front of me a women wanted a huge group of people to descend upon the Democratic Convention in Boston and force the democratic party into being a party for the people once more. Others around me had concern that John Kerry would re-instate a draft. Rumors of John Kerry's connections to corporations and deal making, the signing of NAFTA. Did Kerry vote to enter the war? Did he vote to establish Homeland Security? We citizens had lots of questions and no time for deeper discussions. We want out of war on the world. We all expressed that we want Bush and Company to stop draining the coffers of America immediately. We want an end to the environment destruction of America and Oregon. We want an impeachment or arrest of George W and friends to start immediately. None of these discussions or strategies happened in the room. MOVEON had it's own agenda. A simple agenda: get as many people to vote as possible for John Kerry.
I am hoping that the house parties held across the US were small enough that the presentation was not a one-way street presentation but rather a true strategy session. It is time for US citizens to forego politics and take back our country.
Micheal Moore visited the event via an audio transmission he reported that over 55,000 people in 4600 house parties and town hall meetings nationwide took part in the event. While Michael Moore and others spoke to the audience, we were able to view a large screen of a map of the United States. The map showed the location of contributing sites all over the US. Individuals from each site were able to email text messages to Michael Moore (the audience was able to view some of these messages) but Moore and company only addressed a few of these messages.
Portland, Oregon had the largest town hall meeting participation. Other Oregon communities holding house parties were included Toledo and Newport, Medford and Ashland (had 505 participants), Bend, Corvallis, Philomath, Eugene, Dufur, Hood River, Roseburg and Sheridan.
Many left the event and stood in the hall to talk with a few friends. A few voiced an opinion that another town hall meeting should be held, only this time the audience should break up into work groups to come up with ideas of how to stop George Bush and then these strategies should be voice to the whole audience. Many were very concerned that voting does not actually worked anymore. Many had a concern that voting machines are not accurately counting the votes, and what happens if the Supremes are allowed to select another corporate dictator. For many of those attending the event there were many more questions than answers provided. And the town hall meeting was more of a MOVEON/Michael Moore lecture than a town hall meeting. It was exciting to see that so many people across the nation came out of Michael Moore's flick were concerned, very concerned about GW and the direction of the nation. However, we have a long way to go to restore democracy and peace in the US and the world.