Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paul and Moore are Good for American Democracy!

Recently there has been a lot of heat on two individuals from opposite ends of the spectrum. On the one end is film maker Michael Moore, superhero to the left, whackjob to the right. His latest movie, Sicko praises the socialized systems of Canada and Cuba, and has got him in trouble with the law for violating a trade ban. On the Republican side, Ron Paul, candidate for president is facing heat from his party for saying that 9/11 was the fault of American interventionism in other countries' business. There is a temptation to cast both aside as looneys, but maybe we shouldn't.

First Moore. His movies are biased and predijucial, and frankly often dishonest. And yet they're powerful. I hate Moore's politics, and him personally, and yet would never turn down the opportunity to see a Moore flick, simply because he has a way of putting his viewpoint in perspective. I have read that in Sicko, Moore deals with the death of an 18-month old who was denied access to the ER. Inflammatory? You bet, as it should be when an infant dies. Of course, Moore papers over the flaws in the Canadian and Cuban systems, but then again, no one in their right mind would consider Moore balanced.

Ron Paul is less famous, but I think he does more to uplift the Republican debates than so many of the candidates out there. Don't get me wrong - I principally oppose many of his viewpoints. And yet, there is something to be said for a candidate who believes in what he does and is willing to stand by it, who doesn't answer by opinion polls or pander to a base. Here's what I believe - take it or leave it ... that's an exciting credo. And it brings focus to issues rather than personalities. Indeed, I find myself waiting for his turn, even if I shake my head when he talks of disbanding the Department of Education or essentially abolishing a foreign policy.

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