Photo from huffingtonpost.com
By Joe Goncalves
Film maker Michael Moore gave a poignant and entertaining presentation at the Staller Center this past Friday, centering largely around the upcoming presidential election.
Moore kept the event fairly lighthearted, often cracking jokes, doing impressions, and overall having a good time on stage. It all made for a mind opening, but more importantly, fun evening. He also touched on some interesting points that have no doubt been on the minds of most students on campus.
The night began with Moore coming out and talking about the 45 minutes he spent driving around Stony Brook’s campus, and his atrocious experience getting here from New York City. It all started off the evening on a relaxed note.
After the tone of the evening had been set, Moore began asking some questions about the election. He starting off by asking who in the audience was planning to, or thinking about, voting for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. After a paltry amount of hands went up, he began asking the Trump supporters why they planned on doing so, not in an accusatory manner, but with genuine curiosity. Being on a college campus, Moore must know that Trump is not wildly popular amongst our demographic, so this was his way of trying to feel out the mindset of the audience.
Moore continued by mentioning some benefits and drawbacks of either candidates, eventually saying “How is this the two best we could come up with?” This reflected the mindset of so many in the crowd, as it was met with resounding applause. He continued with his educated satire, while bringing up the reasons that so many support the seemingly unpopular candidates.
Moore didn’t seem interested in pushing any sort of agenda upon the audience, something he’s been criticized for repeatedly in the past. Many have accused him of being “Anti-American” and being unpatriotic. The audience instead was shown a sense of strong pride in his country. He told the audience a story about his past, and how he has memories of his childhood involving segregated establishments. He became emotional as he explained to the audience what a beautiful experience it was to vote for an African American President, with those terrible memories of segregation still in his mind.
As much as this moment pulled on the audiences heartstrings, there was more still to come. During the end of the evening Moore took questions from the audience. After choosing to answer a question from a young woman in the audience, the student asked if she remembered a man from his film “Sicko”, John Graham. Graham was one of the first responders from 9/11 that was denied healthcare, whom Michael Moore took to Cuba to get lifesaving cancer treatment. The young woman in the audience told Moore that John Graham was her father, and with tears welling up in her eyes, thanked him for saving her father’s life. A hush fell over the crowd and over Moore, as everyone in the room let the gravity of the meeting sink in. It was an extremely powerful moment.
The night was full of emotion, inspiration, laughter, and interesting dialogue. The students in that auditorium sent Moore off with a standing ovation, and that many minds in that room may have been reignited in some way that night.