Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Mike's Letter

October 31st, 2000 12:00 AM

An Open Letter from Moore to Gore

Dear Vice-President Gore:

Hi! How are you! It's been awhile since we've talked. Everything OK?

Sorry. Enough teasing. I've been getting a lot of calls from your friends and supporters. Man, are they freaked out! They actually think you are going to lose. Talk about no faith in the quarterback! Hasn't anyone told them that Bush didn't even win his OWN Republican primary in Michigan? "Swing state?" Ha!

According to your people, all Ralph or I have to do is wave a magic wand and the Nader voters will "come back to Gore."

Look, Al, you have screwed up -- big time. By now, you should have sent that smirking idiot back to Texas with a copy of "Hooked on Phonics" in his hands. You should have wiped the floor with him during the three debates. But you didn't. And now your people are calling ME, asking ME to do the job YOU'VE failed to do! Jeez, I've got enough on my plate these days, between work and the holidays coming up and the leaves I should be raking -- and now I'm supposed to save YOU? Unbelievable!

If you recall, I sent you a personal letter back in June asking you why I should vote for you instead of Ralph Nader for President. You sent me a four-page reply, thanking me for my "provocative letter," and outlining the VERY reasons that I knew would find you in the predicament you are in this week.

There is something I think you don't understand. You don't realize that it's YOU and the Democrats that are responsible for the possibility of Bush winning next Tuesday. Instead of being men (we aren't putting any women on the ticket yet, are we?) and owning up to your mistakes, you and your people are blaming some rumpled senior citizen lawyer who is only following his conscience. I mean, really! Ralph Nader has devoted his entire life to making the rest of our lives better. Because of him we have the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the EPA, OSHA, airbags and seatbelts, the Freedom of Information Act -- the list goes on and on. What have YOU done to save a few million lives?

Yet, you attack this decent man and those who support him. Let's get one thing straight -- we didn't leave you, YOU left us. You and your "New Democrats" abandoned the poor, the working class, and the middle class. Your support for NAFTA has cost hundreds of thousands of people -- your very supporters -- their jobs. In my hometown of Flint, 32,000 GM jobs have been lost since you and Clinton took office. That's 5,000 MORE GM jobs than were lost there during the ENTIRE 12 years of Reagan/Bush! Are you even aware that two-thirds of the school children in Flint live below the federal poverty level? And you wonder why the race in Michigan is so close! These people you left behind had nowhere else to go EXCEPT to Nader -- unless they choose to just stay home on Election Day, which is what the majority of them will do.

You and the Democrats have created the monster know as "W." There were more layoffs in the U.S. last year than in any year in the past decade. There were more family bankruptcies filed last year than any year in our history. The average family carries more personal debt now than any time since the Great Depression. And yet, you cynically take a bus ride through the Midwest calling it "The Great Lakes Prosperity Tour." Has it crossed your mind why the majority of the "swing states" where the election is too close to call are in the rust belt that begins in Missouri and extends to Pennsylvania?

Your attempts to scare Nader voters have only backfired on you. Once NARAL started running its anti-Nader ads in Minnesota, Ralph jumped up to 10% in the polls! People are not stupid. You can howl all you want about how "Bush will appoint Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Clarence Thomas." But we the people know who voted to PUT that right-wing nut Antonin Scalia on the court. It was YOU, Al Gore, the senator from Tennessee who stood up and voted "YEA!" the day Scalia was confirmed in the Senate! If we ever lose Roe v. Wade, YOU are the one with the blood on your hands, and those of us, including Ralph Nader, who fought the Scalia nomination, will never forget the jeopardy you and your fellow Democrats put women in with that vote. And when 11 of your Democratic senators voted to put Clarence Thomas on the Court, giving him the slim 52 to 48 majority he needed, your party (which was in control of the Senate at that time!) threatened every woman in America. For the love of God, do NOT have the audacity to come at us now with your scare tactics about how women may lose the right to chose. You have no credibility.

So, what do we do? One thing is certain -- George W. Bush MUST NEVER SIT IN THE OVAL OFFICE. Having met both you and George W. in person, and realizing that the two of you are in agreement on most issues, I did come away with the distinct feeling that there IS one difference between you and the governor of Texas.

George W. Bush is a banal, despicable, and corrupt human being.

And you, sir, are not. Don't get me wrong -- you believe in a lot of evil things (how sad I was to watch you during the debate as you sat there in silent agreement while Bush licked his lips at the thought of executing three men). However, as a human being, I believe you are a decent guy, a good father and husband, and somewhere deep down you have a heart and a conscience. I honestly believe that about you. So what happened?

I want Ralph Nader to get millions of votes on Tuesday. I have seen the response to Ralph at numerous huge rallies across the country. There is a progressive movement afoot in America and it needs to explode into a majority movement -- beginning now, not four years from now.

I truly believe Nader is closer to how the majority of Americans feel than either you or Bush. Go ahead, ask around. The majority of Americans want REAL health insurance, a living wage, a chance to be represented by a union, less money wasted on the Pentagon, and no one wants to wear clothes made by a 12-year old in an Asian "free trade" sweatshop. If the media and you hadn't just woken up to the Nader campaign, if you had welcomed him into the debates, we all would have been discussing THESE issues months ago -- and you would have quickly learned how Americans feel about them.

OK, so you missed an opportunity to do the right thing. Now you are asking us to pull you out of your mistake and prevent the reign of terror a Bush presidency will bring us.

How do you want to do this? What will you give the working poor and the young people who have decided to desert you next Tuesday? I am willing to discuss anything short of Ralph not getting 5% of the vote. He can obtain that goal AND Bush can be defeated. They are not mutually exclusive.

But the ball is in your court, not ours. I will not feel one iota of guilt should you screw up and lose on Tuesday. The blame I do share is that I voted for you and Bill in 1992. And I have spent the last 8 years doing what I could, in my own small ways, to try and stop the hemorrhaging that your administration caused.

Did I ever tell you the story about Buell Elementary in Flint? I helped build a computer lab there so that the kids (83% of them live in poverty) would have the same leg up as the students in the wealthier districts.

But you and the President eliminated federal assistance for millions of poor mothers. This year, one of those mothers, living near Buell Elementary, faced eviction from her home. She had to put her kids up at a relative's house so she could at least keep her "welfare-to-work" assignment. Under your watch, she became a victim of your policies, was loaded onto a bus each day and, for 12 hours, transported to and from a wealthy white suburb to work at "Dick Clark's All-American Restaurant." Her 6-year old, homeless, was forced to stay with his uncle. One day, last February, while his mother worked off her welfare payments at the All-American restaurant, that little 6-year old found his uncle's gun, took it to school, and shot a 6-year old girl in the neck, just as they were on their way down to work on the computers I had bought for them.

Have you had a chance, Mr. Gore, to hear the 911 call from the teacher as she was trying to stop the geyser of blood shooting out from that 6-year old girl's neck just before she died? You should hear it. She's the recipient of what you call "welfare reform."

I am reachable by phone or e-mail.


Michael Moore

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