With political discourse getting increasingly divisive and dumb while the stakes get ever higher during presidential primary season, it’s ironic that Michael Moore’s latest film, Where to Invade Next, which opens today, provides something of a ballast. The man known for throwing political Molotov cocktails, whether at the Oscars or in boardrooms, has made a film that really asks Americans to stop, think, and look around. In the documentary, he travels around Europe and looks at how other countries are doing things better than we do, whether it’s prison reform, drug laws, education or quality of living.
Looking at how others do things right isn’t something that presidential candidates—outside of Bernie Sanders, perhaps—are generally willing to do. It suggests weakness, lack of leadership or the ridiculous notion that one doesn’t love this country.
Of course, being able to look outside of one self should be called critical thinking. Moore being Moore, he approaches the subject with an “Oh, gosh,” working-man’s attitude that is a put-on. But the film ultimately provides insight to an inner dialogue that our country should be willing to engage in—not to beat ourselves up, but to, you know, grow.
I wrote in an earlier post that I interviewed Moore, and he offered up his opinion of the presidential campaign, noting that if he were voting for a woman for president, he wished it were lefty Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. And he noted that he’s been saying for a long time that Donald Trump would be the eventual GOP nominee. “I don’t think he believes in a lot of what he is saying,” Moore said. “I think he does what works for the camera.”
Given the subject of his film, I also asked Moore where he’d want to be sent into exile if a President Trump kicked him out of the country, something that doesn’t seem so far-fetched, considering his views on Muslims and immigration. Check out Moore’s response here:
“Michael, where would you want to be sent in exile by a President Trump, if it comes to that?”
Of course, critical thinking can allow for a jest, right? It’s called satire, and it’s what Moore does best.
OK, I’m going to get off my editorial soapbox and put on my alternative tour guide’s hat and suggest the Thinking American’s Idea of a Day of Fun for an antidote to the political meshugas we’re in. I suggest, this weekend, if you’re in or near New York City, to head to the Whitney Museum to absorb Laura Poitras’ Astro Noise exhibit, about the surveillance state; then walk up the nearby High Line, a fabulous development in urban design and public use that all New Yorkers and Americans should be proud of; you can then check out Moore’s film, playing at the Bow Tie Cinemas near the north end of the High Line on 23rd street; and then, finish the day with conversation over a drink and/or dinner at the cozy, lively Half-King, the bar founded by documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein and journalist Sebastian Junger. If you’re in another town, I bet you can find alternative cultural venues and an eatery where you can think and converse.
For me, that’s a perfect way to champion American values.
Where to Invade Next, the latest documentary from award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, is in theaters today. If you can’t make it to a showing at the Bow Tie Cinemas, find a showtime in your area on the official website.