There is a fellow from the U.K. that I frequently debate with online.Â He is a proud and avowed neo-con and I am everything that is left after you remove neo-con values His name is Edward, although online he goes by Beaman (his web site http://www.penmeapoem.com/bio/).Â I bring him up because he came to mind several times today while I was watching the internet release of Michael Mooreâ€™s new movie Slacker Uprising (http://www.slackeruprising.com).
Why would this particular voice for most of what I donâ€™t believe in come to mind while I was watching someone I am nearly completely aligned with?Â Well, thatâ€™s where this whole thing gets a bit more interesting.
For as much as I disagree with Beaman, and his world views, I admire his approach.Â He is reasoned, polite and he actually listens to what you have to say before he dismisses your thoughts (that is a joke, he may respectfully disagree; but he is seldom, if ever, dismissive).Â In short, despite our many (MANY) disagreements, I respect him.
By contrast, I donâ€™t know if I have ever disagreed with the approach of someone I otherwise fundamentally agree with, as much as I do that of Mr. Moore.Â I believe, if we were to line up our issues side by side, with the possible exception of abortion, he and I would be in 100% agreement.Â I cannot think of a single statement of belief that he has made that I disagree with.Â However, in his vehement over-generalizations, I am unable to find any common ground.
If you read my blog often, you know of one of my favorite quotes.
â€œYour enemy is never a villain in his own eyes.Â Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend.â€ -Robert Heinlein
Moore seems to lose track of this notion even as he â€œwelcomesâ€ Republicans to his presentations.Â Speaking in generalizations about policy and showing clips of Republican â€œprotestorsâ€ stumbling over their words expressing why they are rallying against Mooreâ€™s presence.
Watching Slacker Uprising this afternoon I felt myself wanting to alternately cheer Moore and usher him off stage (so that he did not do further damage to the cause).Â Not all Republicans are â€œdeviantâ€™sâ€, Michael, no mater how funny that makes the punch line in your gay marriage joke (which was quite funny, despite the over-generalization, but that is the problem).Â You do not need to make all of the republican demonstrators look like idiots, some of them are quite intelligent and just happen to disagree with you.
I admire Michael Moore.Â I watch his movies, I quote him, and I marvel at his ability to ferret out a subtle point or reveal a story. However, my respect for him is eroded with each sweeping â€œus and themâ€ generalization.Â In short, Michael Moore, to me, is doing to Republicans, what he would decry â€œDubbaâ€ for doing to Islam (AKA â€œEvil Doersâ€) et. al.
This is particularly vexing to me, because I think he has the power and the position to be a very meaningful instrument of positive change.Â A position he is, to whatever degree, abdicating with his approach.Â I do not believe the left needs a â€œRushâ€ or a â€œSean Hannity.â€ Further, I do not believe that Michael Mooreâ€™s vast talent should be wasted trying to fill that role.Â I expect more (dare I say… better?) from the people that carry the torch for the same causes that I do.Â For the people I would have be a role model for my children.
The paradoxical dichotomy between Mr. Beaman and Mr. Moore is fascinating to me.Â Both men garner my respect in areas that the other leaves me wanting.Â But ultimately, I think, while disagreeing with him, Iâ€™d listen to more of what Edward has to say than Michael; and Iâ€™m left thinking Iâ€™d have a better chance of being heard with him as well, even if we couldnâ€™t agree less with what one another was saying.