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Michael Moore, You Used to Be My Hero
by Glenn Sacks, GlennSacks.com
17 February 2004Stupid White Men

Listening to you, perhaps the Democratic Party's most prominent advocate, it's not hard to see why so many men have turned away from your party.

Michael Moore, you used to be my hero. Back in the days of your pro-worker documentary Roger &  Me (1989), I was working construction at a power plant in the South, and you were the one public figure who seemed to speak for working men. The one who questioned the right of a business to take what it wants from a community and then pull out in search of cheaper labor, leaving a trail of unemployment and broken lives behind. The one who opposed union busting and corporate plunder.

Spending every day hanging by my hook belt off the side of a rebar skeleton 50 feet up in the air, my life seemed to be out of a Michael Moore documentary. Our electricians often had to work near live wires because the company refused to bear the expense of shutting down part of the plant so we could work safely. As an apprentice, one of my main jobs was to stand 10 feet behind these men as they worked, holding a rope attached to a harness they'd put themselves in. If they hit a live wire and started to fry, it was my job to pull them out and save their lives.

A recent study concluded that there have been over 170,000 workplace deaths in the United States since 1982. Seeing the way workers were needlessly endangered at the power plant, I believe it.

Michael, you more than anybody articulated the feelings and views of these working class men. The men who put their bodies on the line on construction sites and in factories, mines, and refineries so their wives and children can live in safety and comfort. The men whose special contributions and sacrifices are almost never part of our public discourse.

But Michael, you have betrayed those whose cause you once championed. Once the voice of the unappreciated working man, I have watched in amazement and dismay as you have degenerated into one of the all too common scourges of our society -- the low rent man-basher who pours derision upon the last remaining politically correct target of bigotry: men.

In Dude, Where's My Country? you criticize the Democratic Party for "watering down their beliefs to appeal to all of the dumb white guys out there" -- I guess you mean the guys at the power plan t-- and you imply that the Democrats should simply write them off in 2004. In your view these are the guys who "long for the days of Strom Thurmond and legally accepted date rape," and who oppose abortion because they are male chauvinists who want to control women.

In Stupid White Men you cite declining male birthrates as evidence that "Nature is trying to kill us off" and explain that men have done "plenty" to "deserve this." "[Women] continued to bring life into this world; we continued to destroy it whenever we could...how many women have spilled oil into oceans, dumped toxins in our food supply, or insisted that the new SUV designs had to be bigger, bigger, bigger?"

Michael, of course few women have created factories which have polluted the environment, just as few women have created factories which have produced the staples of modern civilization. You vilify men for the price of progress but give them no credit for progress itself.

In Stupid White Men you enthusiastically try to sell many of the standard modern canards about men, and you even top off your chapter with an asinine semi-endorsement of fatherlessness. This at a time when the costs of fatherlessness couldn't be clearer or more devastating. I doubt many fatherless children will thank you for it.

What's even more amazing, Michael, is that you've gotten away with all of this. With thousands of conservative pundits, talk show hosts, and web-based commentators looking for sticks to beat you with, few if any have cited the man-bashing which has become one of your core themes.

Listening to you, perhaps the Democratic Party's most prominent advocate, it's not hard to see why so many men have turned away from your party. Why should men support a party which at best ignores them, and so often bashes and blames them?

Michael, it saddens me that the beleaguered men at that power plant have lost a valuable friend and gained one more enemy. It saddens me to watch you and your party marginalize yourselves and slowly commit political suicide by spitting on those who once admired and supported you.

And when the Democrats get trounced among male voters in 2004, I know what explanation you'll give. In fact, you've already written it in Stupid White Men: "men are just not as smart as women."

Glenn Sacks is a men's and fathers' issues columnist. His radio show, His Side with Glenn Sacks, can be heard every Sunday on KMPC 1540 AM in Los Angeles and KKOL 1300 AM in Seattle. His website is GlennSacks.com

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