Nothing about the content of the Pledge to America is surprising--it's the same Bush-era economic agenda that got us into the mess we're in today: deregulate business, starve government services, starve the middle class and starve the working class so corporate special interests and the wealthy can feed on the spoils.
But the presentation leaves me stunned.
It's 48 pages of fancy, historic-looking display type and photographs. Lots of photographs. In fact, it shows off photos of 384 white people by our count. One Asian American. A musician who might be Asian. One young man in military camo who may be Latino. And if you look very, very closely, five African Americans. A total of eight people of color.
What America are they pledging to?
It doesn't look like the America I know.
The Census Bureau says people of color made up 34 percent of the population last year. In the eyes of those who made the Pledge to America, people of color are barely 2 percent.
I haven't seen such a false image of who America really is since 1950s-era television, back when Lucy and the Beaver seemed to live on a planet with no people of color whatsoever.
Maybe the people in those photos are the "real Americans" Sarah Palin has talked about. Real white.
What stuns me about the document isn't that the party doesn't have much diversity to photograph in its leadership or among the faithful who turn out at its gatherings. What amazes me is that agenda-setters in the Republican machinery think it's OK to ignore more than a third of the population. No, more than that--they choose to ignore more than a third of the population, choose to keep certain people--including (no coincidence) those who look like President Barack Obama--out of the spotlight, out of their vision of America.
Policies that reach backward toward failure echo a vision for America that looks backward and blinds itself to opportunities to move forward.
While the Pledge to America is reviewed by the media, tens of thousands of union members, faith groups, civil and human rights activists and other progressives are getting ready to come to Washington, D.C., for the Oct. 2 One Nation Working Together gathering at the Lincoln Memorial. People of every race and ethnicity, people of all faiths, LGBT and straight, old and young and in between. We're coming together to put America back to work and pull America back together. Together, we're calling for good jobs, restoring the economy, fundamental justice and high-quality education for all our children. We believe in the American Dream--for everyone who has the good fortune to call this land "home." We believe America's best days are ahead of us.
But the Pledge to America comes from people who don't agree. They say we ask for too much. They say even with all our hard work and wealth, the richest nation on Earth can't afford good wages anymore. That we can't expect secure jobs, or a good life for our children or a decent retirement. That those days are behind us.
They've given up on America.
On its cover, the Pledge to America says it is an agenda "built on America's founding values."
Again, it makes me ask, "Whose America?"
The founding values I was taught, growing up in a heartland town of new American immigrants, begin with the fact we are all created equal and all entitled to the same benefits of a great nation. That we are all free to worship as we choose, free to associate, free to enjoy basic security and the opportunity for success. That's not color based. Not ethnicity based.
One of the photos I didn't count in the Pledge to America was that of the Statue of Liberty--who invites the world to "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Those sacred words don't include a postscript saying: Just don't expect to see those huddled masses included in the GOP Pledge to America.
This weekend, One Nation will issue a very different pledge to America. One that I--a white guy--will be part of, along with my brothers and sisters of many colors, many beliefs, many backgrounds.
I hope you will come to the National Mall this weekend. And when you do, take a photo. Capture what America really looks like. And make your own pledge to the country we love.
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
July 30th, 2013
Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That's the bad news. ...
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...