Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing Michael Moore’s newest film, “Where to Invade Next.” The general premise of the film is that Moore travels to different countries around the world and “steals” great aspects about these countries. Obviously no country is perfect, but Moore comes “to pick the flowers, not the weeds.”
Having seen a couple of his prior films, I was ready for Moore to do his typical “fuck the U.S., fuck Republicans, fuck Fox News” type shit. Instead, I walked out of the theatre feeling more inspired and positive than I’ve been in a long time. It was potentially one of the most moving and powerful movies I’ve seen in recent memory. I teared up, I laughed, and thought deeply about social, ethical, political, and fiscal issues.
Even though most people know that America is decades behind many countries on many serious issues, I will put a SPOILER ALERT here in case you aren’t already mildly conscious of how most of the Western world is light-years ahead of this joke of a government running the U.S. Here are just a few examples of this that are discussed by Moore:
In Italy, employers are HAPPY to give their employees eight weeks of paid vacation (even though they are legally required to).
The Slovenian government pays for college for anyone that wants to attend… even American citizens that want to attend their universities instead of getting fucked by the U.S. “education” system.
Finland at one point ranked near the bottom of student performance (as bad as America is now). They decided to do something about it. They got rid of standardized testing, as well as most homework. The country gives children more autonomy and more time to be kids, to do things that kids should do. The result of such an obviously silly idea? Finland now leads the world in education.
Schoolchildren in France are given what we would call gourmet meals for school lunches. In the U.S., pizza sauce is considered a vegetable in school lunches by Congress. By fucking Congress. All just to save a buck. The French treat food as something critical to success of children.
The prison system in Norway treats criminals like humans that need to be rehabilitated, not like slave labor. No isolation. Good food, sunlight, autonomy (within the confines of the prison property), and respect. The maximum prison sentence one can receive is 21 years. Even a Neo-Nazi man that went on a 54 person killing spree. The result of this system: the low rates of convict re-arrests upon release of 20%. This rate in America is almost 80%.
Lastly, Portugal decriminalized the use and possession of all drugs (420 blz it lol). Instead of cracking down on users, the government increased funding for treatment centers and support for addicts. Since then, drug overdose deaths and continued drug usage rates have plummeted.
I left the movie theatre inspired, yet discouraged at the same time. How the fuck am I gonna make a difference? In what way can I contribute to the very necessary change that America needs to undergo? I’m just some fuck with a nose ring and a donut tattoo. What can I do?
The main theme of the movie was the radical idea of treating humans with respect. Most of the countries Moore “invaded” stressed the importance of loving your neighbor. Of course every citizen deserves affordable, if not free healthcare. Obviously a woman should do whatever the fuck she wants with her body. It should go without saying that everyone should be able to marry whoever they want. You’d think it would be common sense that companies should treat their employees fairly, and not focus solely on profits.
Just treat people with respect. It’s so fucking simple.
I figured another small, but impactful thing I could do was write this. Maybe someone who reads this will feel as inspired as I do. Maybe he or she will share it with friends. Maybe someone who’s going into politics will read this. Maybe this will change a Trump supporter’s mind. Maybe not, but it’s worth a shot, right?