Just saw Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story. In retrospect, nothing in it should have been surprising, and yet almost every scene was jaw-dropping just the same. Absolutely a must-see.
I was struck by two scenes in particular.
The more sensational of the two was long lost film footage, discovered by Moore’s team, of FDR’s January 11, 1944 Fireside Chat: FDR’s “Economic Bill of Rights” Speech, meant to be a “Second” Bill of Rights guaranteeing Americans, not only certain intellectual freedoms, but a concrete standard of living.
Would that FDR had lived to see this through. He believed that “necessitous men are not free men”. That the hungry can be controlled, can be manipulated, and that only a nation of economically secure individuals can lead to a truly free and prosperous nation.
Contrast this with a scene from more recent history.
Early in the film Moore highlights Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” broadcast of July 15th, 1979.
I vaguely recall this being on television. I was five years old. There was something mesmerizing about the President’s speech. My parents watched in silence.
Now that I am seeing it again, and can truly understand what President Carter is saying, I find it insightful and shockingly honest; like nothing I have experienced from American leaders in my entire adult life. And I think it goes without saying that President Carter’s warning has gone unheeded. America as a nation has let materialism and it’s root cause, unchecked capitalism, get the better of Democracy.
And though President Carter implores us to call on faith to right the nation, I agree with Michael Moore that perhaps only a return to the ideals of FDR — a longing for what is truly right, by the people and for the people — will keep us afloat.