Michael Moore and Jian Ghomeshi: revealing injustice

I love listening to Jian Ghomeshi on the CBC.  His show Q has a line-up of guests that rival Howard Stern, but Jian is less controversial.  Jian does not need to provoke or shock, he is well read and well spoken.  He is a news junkie and is able to translate his observations into solid and thoughtful points of discussion with his guests.  Through his research and preparedness he often elicits stories from his guests that may not have been heard before.

This happened yesterday when he interviewed Michael Moore, the American author and filmmaker who made headlines with his books/films like Stupid White Men, Bowling for Columbine and Downsize This.  He also won an academy award for Bowling for Columbine and this was his memorable acceptance speech.

Wow.  Jian asked Moore if there was a pivotal moment in his childhood that forever challenged him to be this passionate and controversial voice.  Moore paused then in a softer voice recounted a story that occurred in his 18th year.  Michael Moore was voted in as the youngest school board trustee ever in The United States.  His platform included the desire to fire his vice principal, whom he said was a tyrant.  Moments from his high school graduation, he and his fellow classmates were lined up for inspection by the VP.  This man proceeded to check that under every gown, each male student was sporting a tie.  The boy standing in front of Michael was pulled from the line because the VP said that his western string tie did not fit the criteria, and therefore he would not allow him to graduate.  The student was shamed and sent home.  He was not allowed to graduate with his class.  Moore said that he was devastated.

This became the moment that he said to himself never again.  Never again will he allow an injustice occur in his presence, or knowledge without responding.  This was the fuel that has carried Moore into sometimes dangerous territory.  He and his family have been repeatedly threatened, and a bomb plot was uncovered as well.

We are supposedly living in a highly civilized time, yet Moore and others like him are putting their lives on the line when they stand up to fight injustice or to express their opinions.  Thankfully, in Canada we are much more tolerant of dissenting views, yet so many are afraid to take a stand on an issue because they don’t want to offend.  I would offer that that borders on laziness and self-protection.  We don’t need to beat our opponents over the head or bash their reputations, but surely we can take a moment to offer our own insights and concerns around issues that affect us.

Lets remember to take a look at what really counts;  and in my mind it is about being human.  It is about wanting the same things for my neighbour as for me. Really , don’t we all want the same things: to find happiness, good health, safe  water and food, a safe place to live, good friends, a loving family and hopefully  to be able express our individual nature through our employment?

Each one of us has the same responsibility as Michael Moore has avowed.  We don’t need to make movies or write books, but we can start to look at each other as ONE.  We are not separate creatures here.  We are all from the same Source.  

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