Michael Moore Honors Our Dark Side
by Weam Namou
If you’ve visited Europe and lived with the locals like I have, you would have already realized that, in comparison to other countries, here there’s a big imbalance between the US Government and its people. You would watch Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next and understand that, yes, Europeans have a much healthier lifestyle than we do, thanks to their government. True they pay a little more taxes than we do, but they get the lifestyle fit for a human being not a working machine.
Americans work harder than people in most other countries, sometimes juggling two to three jobs, in order to meet their financial obligations. Europeans, on the other hand, get eight weeks paid vacations, two-hour lunch breaks, and countless other perks. Women get months of paid maternity leave.
When I visited Germany, my cousin’s wife told me that her baby would get a monthly allowance until she turned eighteen years old. For several months, this new mom even had a woman come into her home twice to three times a week to help with household chores, laundry and cooking.
As Moore points out in his documentary, we’re paying these higher taxes anyway – healthcare, college tuition, etc. He says, “We don’t call them taxes, but that’s what they are.”
Carrying the American flag, he “invades” various countries in order to bring back their ideas into our territories. These ideas include the Europeans’ view on work, education, healthcare, sex, equality, and food! It was difficult to watch French school children served gourmet food on china while our children, in the most powerful country in the world, get served— well, I don’t want to even think of it!
One Tunisian woman pointed out that Americans are lucky because they live in the most powerful nation in the world. She says, “But being the strongest stops them from being curious.”
I used to notice, after my trips abroad, how difficult, even insulting, it was for Americans who never set foot outside the United States, to consider incorporating what Moore is trying to do in his film – adopt positive ideas (rather than stealing resources) that would greatly improve our country.
Other things that were uncomfortable to watch because they were simply embarrassing:
- Finland’s educational system is at #1 while the US is at #29
- Portuguese prison guards who treat their prisoners with dignity and decency reminding us of what our forefathers wrote in the US Constitution, that we’re not to have “cruel and unusual punishment.”
- Germans advising us that taking a little care of our neighbor benefits everyone, is “common sense” and in the long run, is cheaper on us
- When stressed, a German can go stay at a spa for 3 weeks (paid by their insurance)
- Norway prison guards using words, not weapons (they don’t carry any) to break up conflicts inside the prisons
- American students going to Slovenia to attend colleges and universities for free
- Germans advising us that taking a little care of our neighbor benefits everyone, is “common sense.”
- Germans educating their youth about the sins of their forefathers in order that something like the Holocaust never happens again.
“In Germany, they don’t white wash what happened, or pretend it never happened,” said Moore. “Why do we hide from our sins when it’s the first step to recovery… We have to honor our dark side and make amends for it so we can be a better world.”
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first female president both in Iceland and Europe believes that it will be women who will end up saving the world. “Women will do that, not with war, with words.”
Other Icelander women believe the same, because, they say, “Women think, What’s good for the whole? Men think, What’s in it for me?”
They feel that when men join women in embracing this peaceful concept to resolving conflict, then yes, we will be able to save the world.
The movie ended and the audience applauded (haven’t experienced that in years).