Michael Moore on the Silent Majority


Michael Moore expanded the social conscience of my generation with his book Downsize This, his films Roger and Me and The Big One, and his television shows TV Nation and The Awful Truth. As much as we agonized over racism, feminism, ageism, gay rights, animal rights, peace-making and the environment, few of us previously thought deeply about the plight of American-born laborers and the unemployed. My elders who suffered the McCarthy Era HUAC hearings even said as much. The WTO riots in Seattle last November demonstrated the first coalition of labor and the green left, all brought together by messages on the Internet.

Michael Moore may or may not have written the wonderful "let's vote the bums out" letter that circulated the Internet just before the last election. Republican congressional incumbants, thinking their victory sealed by the Starr-Lewinsky caper, where shocked to find their numbers actually shaved.

In the past week, a new Michael Moore-signed letter arrived, forwarded to me by several friends.

In case you haven't already received one or more of these missives, I am re-printing it here:


A Letter from Michael Moore to the
Non-Voters of America

Dear friends,

DISCLAIMER: If you are planning to
vote for Al Gore in November, good for
you. Don't let what I'm about to say
change your mind because I've been
told by all the experts that if you do
change your mind based on what I'm
about to say, George W. Bush might win
the election and I certainly couldn't live
with myself if that connoisseur of
pharmaceuticals (the kind you snort up
your nose or the kind you inject on
death row) won, in part, because of a
letter I spit out over the Internet.

So let's review -- you like Gore, you vote
for Gore. He's a decent guy. I met him
last year at some benefit, he came up to
me, big hug -- whoa, this veep is no stiff,
I thought -- and thanked me for this and
that. He even quoted lines from "The
Awful Truth" - whoa, scary, I thought,
what's he doing watching cable
channels above 40 on the box...not
much to do on this veep gig, eh?

I told him I admired what he did when
he came home to America as a Vietnam
Vet and spoke out against the war. That
took a lot of courage, I said (his dad lost
his Senate seat for being an early
opponent of the war).

So, if Al Gore is your man, go for it. In
fact, I insist on it, even if you are just
throwing your vote away.

What I am about to say, though, is not
intended for any Al Gore (or George W.)
voters. If you are one, please click off

To Whom It May Concern:

I address this letter to the largest
political party in the United States - the
55% of you in the voting public who are
so disillusioned with politics and
politicians, so sick and tired of all the
broken promises, so disgusted with all
the b.s. that you have absolutely no
intention of voting in November.

You know who you are.


You rule. You are the Non-Voters, all
100 million of you!

Until now, you have been the subject of
scorn and ridicule. You've been called
apathetic, lazy, ignorant. Your actions
have been viewed as unAmerican (I
mean, what kind of citizen in the World's
Greatest Democracy would not exercise
his or her most important and cherished
right - the right to freely choose your

Well, may I be the first to tell you that,
not only are you NOT stupid and
apathetic, I believe you are smarter than
all the rest of us combined. YOU figured
it out. YOU uncovered the scam. And
YOU had the guts to no longer
participate in a lie. Way to go! In 1996,
you helped set the all-time American
record for lowest turnout ever at a
presidential election.

The reason you, the majority, no longer
vote in America is because you, the
majority, realize there is no real choice
on the ballot. The "two" parties both do
the bidding of the wealthy and agree
with each other on 90% of the issues.
They take 90% of their money from
people who make over a hundred-grand
a year, and then enact over 90% of the
laws those contributors want passed.

On the ballot this November, you
already know there is no contest. The
independent Cook Political Report in
D.C. last week announced that, out of
435 House seats up for election in
November, there are only 47 seats
where there is a "true race" between
opponents - and, of those, only 14
seats have a race that is even "close"
between the two candidates. 14 out of

"Ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of
incumbents running for re-election will
be returned to Congress in November,"
according to the Cook Report.

The Non-Voters already understand
this. And they are not going to waste
one iota of their day on November 7
driving to some smelly elementary
school gymnasium to participate in a
Soviet-style election with no friggin'
choice on the ballot.

So, to you brave voter-resisters, I say
congratulations on your act of civic
disobedience! I joined you this primary
season and refused to go along with
this charade of "choice." Nearly 80% of
those of us of voting age - over 160
million Americans - staged a sit-in on our
living room couches during this year's
primaries. THAT is the great untold story
of this election year. How much longer
will the punditocracy be able to get
away with dismissing this massive
no-show as "a sign Americans are
content with the booming economy?"

Now that we have made our presence
known (you all don't mind me speaking
for us, do you? Good. In fact, I'll just
assume the currently-vacant mantle of
this majority party and serve as your
leader until you say otherwise...), it is
time to find a way that says, loudly and
clearly, just how mad as hell we are and
how we are not going to take it
anymore. We need to find a way where
our vote screams "None of the Above!"
A chance to act, like that Chinese guy in
Tieneman Square, standing in front of a
moving tank and stopping it in its path.

In November, we should find a way to
follow in the footsteps of those
intelligent Minnesotans who, even
thought they could care less about
professional wrestling (and even less,
I'm sure, for Jesse "The Body"), proved
to the world that they not only have a
sense of humor, but they know how to
stick it to the whole bloody system.
Think of just how high their level of
anger must have been against the
One-Party-With-Two-Heads monopoly! I
mean, state government is no joke -
somebody's gotta build the roads, run
the schools, catch the criminals. You
don't want to turn the asylum over to the
chief lunatic but, damn it, that's what the
people of Minnesota did - just to send a
message! Wow. That took some guts.

So, for those of you who weren't going
to vote anyway, well...what if you
actually did? What if you drove down to
that stinky gym where the little shell
game behind the pretend curtains is
taking place ("Pay no attention to the
voters behind the curtains!"), walk in,
sign in, take the ballot they hand you,
and toss yourselves inside the booth
like a political molotov cocktail.


"You wanna tell me there's a choice
here between two guys who both
support NAFTA, WTO, the death
penalty, the Cuban embargo, increased
Pentagon spending, sleazy HMOs,
greedy hospital chains, 250 million guns
in our homes, more bombing of Iraq, the
rich getting richer and the rest of us
declaring bankruptcy?"


Not me.


I'm voting for Ralph Nader.


Friends, we are losing our democratic
control over our country. We may have
already lost it. I hope not. But in the last
20 years of the Reagan administration,
Corporate America has merged and
morphed itself to such an extent that
just a handful of companies now call all
the shots. They own Congress. They
own us. In order to work for them, we
have to take urine tests and lie
detectors and wear bar codes on chains
around our necks. In order to keep our
jobs we have had to give up decent
health care, the 8-hour day (and time
with our kids), the security that we'll
even have a job next year, and any
unwillingness we may have to compete
with a 14-year old Indonesian girl who
gets a dollar a day.

And how frightening (and great) is it that
the last place we can freely try to inform
and communicate with each other is on
this very Web? Six companies run by six
men control the majority of the news we
now get from newspapers, television,
radio and the Internet. One out of every
two books is bought at a bookstore
owned by one of only two companies. Is
it safe in a "free society" to have the
sources of our information and mass
communication in the hands of just a
few wealthy men who have a VESTED
interest in keeping us as stupid as
possible - or at least in keeping us
thinking like them so that we vote for
THEIR candidates?

I fear the cement on this new oligarchy
of power is quickly drying, and when it is
finished hardening, we are finished. The
democracy, the one that's supposed to
be of, by, and for the people, will cease
to exist.

We must not let this happen, no matter
how cynical and disgusted we've
become at the whole electoral process.

Ralph Nader, to me, represents a
chance for us to at least temporarily
stop the cement from drying. We need
him in there kicking things up, stirring
the pot and forcing a real debate about
the issues. Whether it's Ralph as
Candidate or Ralph as President, he
may represent our last hope to get our
country back from the clutches of the
powerful few.

I am not writing these words lightly. I am
hoping to sound a siren and rally the
majority who, for good reason, have
given up - but might just have it in them
to find the will for one last fight against
the bastards.

Can Ralph win? Well, stranger things
have happened in the past decade.
C'mon, think about it, not a single one
of us ever thought we'd see the Berlin
Wall come down or Nelson Mandela as
President of South Africa. After those
two things happened, I joined a new
school of thought that said ANYTHING
was possible. Jesse Ventura started
with 3% in the polls and won. Ross
Perot in '92 started with 6% and, after
proving to everyone that he was
certifiably insane, still got nearly 20% of
the vote.

Ralph already has between 7% and
10% in the polls - before he's done any
serious campaigning. He's gone from
3% to 8% in my home state of Michigan.
These are amazing numbers and the
pundits and lobbyists and Republicrats
are running scared. Hey, you like to
watch scared Republicrats running? Tell
a pollster you're voting for Ralph.

Now, look, before you all send me a lot
of mail about how weird Ralph is 'cause
he doesn't own a car or is a "sell-out"
'cause he's got a few million dollars, let
me say this: I used to work out of his
office, and Ralph is definitely one of a
kind. In a future letter I will write of those
experiences but, for now, let's just agree
that Ralph is at least half as crazy as
Jesse Ventura - and about a hundred
times as smart. I'd say he's also saved
about a million or so lives, thanks to the
consumer and environmental legislation
he has devoted his life to.

And between Gore, Bush, and himself,
he's the only person running who would
guarantee universal health care for all,
the only candidate who would raise the
minimum wage to a decent level, the
only one who would get up each
morning asking himself the question,
"What can I do today to serve all the
people of this country?"

The list goes on and on. You can read
more about what Ralph stands for by
going to his website
(http://www.votenader.org). You'll agree,
I'm sure, there's lots of common sense
there, regardless of what political stripe
you are.

But remember. If you are even
THINKING of voting for Al Gore, vote for
Al Gore. Ralph Nader does not need a
single Gore vote. There are a hundred
million of us out there who are
uncommitted and currently not voting.
Right now, Gore and Bush are each
hoping to win by getting only 40 million

If you are in the Non-Voting majority and
want to let 'em all have it, if you want to
get our country back in our hands...well,
if even half of you show up and vote
November 7 then you won't be held
responsible for Bush winning the White

In fact, you won't be held responsible
for putting Gore in the White House,

Rather, you will have made history by
putting a true American hero at 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue.

And you will have given every company,
every boss who's done ya wrong, the
worst nightmare of their lives.

November 7. Payback Time.

The revenge of the Non-Voters!

So sayeth their unappointed leader,
yours truly,
Michael Moore

PS. Come to think of it, Democrats
should be on their knees thanking
Ralph for running. Rather than taking
votes from Gore, Ralph's going to be
the one responsible for turning the
House back over to the Democrats.

When millions of these Non-Voters enter
that booth to vote for Ralph, and they
come across their local race for
Congress, they will find no Green Party
candidate in most of the 435
Congressional districts. So who do you
think Ralph's army of Non-Voters will
plunk down for Congress? The
Republican? I don't think so.

The Democrats are only six seats short
of regaining control of the House. Ralph
Nader will be the reason the Democrats
get the House back for the first time
since Newt's Contract on America in

Democrats should send their checks to
Nader 2000, P.O. Box 18002,
Washington, DC 20035.

(Or, better yet, let's try to elect enough
Greens to Congress -- a dozen or so --
and they'll hold the deciding votes
because neither the Democrats nor the
Republicans will have the majority. It'll
be a friggin' Knesset!)

PPS. If you're still worried this letter
might convince a weak-kneed Gore
voter to flip over to Nader - and thus
lead to President George W. stacking
the Supreme Court to make abortion
illegal, well, it's all a bunch of hooey.
Please read my latest grassroots.com
column entitled, "I Ain't Fallin for That
One Again" at:

PPPS. Tonight, Wednesday July 19, on
"The Awful Truth" (Bravo, 10 p.m.
ET/PT), Crackers the Corporate Crime
Fighting Chicken makes a surprise
return visit. Don't miss it!