Bravo Bill Moyers!
October 31, 2001 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Bravo Bill Moyers! Once in awhile there comes a personality that can bridge ideological gaps. Granted these "gaps" are left, center left and moderate right. At that, Moyers is quite the ace. In this keynote address, Moyers speaks of patriotism, unity, heartbreak, renewable energy, "it could have been worse" scenarios, further terrorist attacks and who's side We the People should be on.
posted by crasspastor (13 comments total)
I've ocassionally thought that if I had to be someone other than myself, particularly someone in the public arena, Bill Moyers always comes to mind. From involvement in the White House on one hand to the wide-ranging series of conversations (back in the 80s, he had a great PBS series of conversations), documentaries (his death and dying stuff is both moving and informative), etc., this is one guy who has had a life full of learning and passing that learning on to others in a quality way.
posted by fpatrick at 8:18 PM on October 31, 2001

Great link.

It will be interesting to see who the naysayers are for this one...
posted by websavvy at 8:41 PM on October 31, 2001

Yes, yes, yes. Good link, good content, and a source people can respect. This would be an email forward I wouldn't mind getting ten times a day.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:40 PM on October 31, 2001

"We will be defined not by the lives we led until the 11th of September, but by the lives we will lead from now on...Stick your own neck out. Let your work be charged with passion, and your life with a sense of mission."

What a speech! At first daunted by the length (it's late here), by the end I had sprung from my chair, energized and hopeful, ready to heed his call.

A notable excerpt:

"...[W]e are not the President's minions. If in the name of the war on terrorism President Bush hands the state over to the energy industry, it's every patriot's duty to join the local opposition. Even in war, politics is about who gets what and who doesn't. If the mercenaries in Washington try to exploit the emergency and America's good faith to grab what they wouldn't get through open debate in peace time, the disloyalty will not be in our dissent but in our subservience. The greatest sedition would be our silence."
posted by mapalm at 10:05 PM on October 31, 2001

I've literally read and reread this thing. There will be a lilt in my step tonight as I go out (my Friday). Most poignant to me:

But listen: today's heroes are public servants. The twenty-year-old instant millionaires and the pugnacious pundits of tabloid television and the crafty celebrity stock pickers on the cable channels have all been exposed for what they are-barnacles on the hulk of the great ship of state. In their stead we have those brave firefighters and policemen and Port Authority workers and emergency rescue personnel, public employees all, most of them drawing a modest middle-class income for extremely dangerous work. They have caught our imaginations not only for their heroic deeds but because we know so many people like them, people we took for granted. For once, our TV screens have been filled with the modest declarations of average Americans coming to each other's aid.
posted by crasspastor at 10:19 PM on October 31, 2001

Damn fine speech. Really wonderful. Thanks for calling it out to us crasspastor.
posted by kokogiak at 11:31 PM on October 31, 2001

Bill Moyers has always been fantastic. In many ways, he makes me think of a Liberal George Will, except for the better writing, more common sense, and less baseball. My only criticisms of the speech (as if I could write or give a better one) are that he a) tends to get a bit melodramatic at points -- while everywhere Americans' cheeks are still stained with tears [now honestly, Bill], and b) that he really did end up talking about the soul of democracy dying, or at least many symptoms thereof.

But these are just a couple of subjective nit picks that others are likely to disagree with anyway. If my cable company offered a Bill Moyers channel I'd sign up in a flash. Fantastic speech and great post, CP. Thanks.
posted by Bixby23 at 12:33 AM on November 1, 2001

I've just printed Bill Moyers' speech out for myself (and to pass along). Thank you, crasspastor, for this link to a voice of reason.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:45 AM on November 1, 2001

Excellent speech.. And nice to see someone else saying that informed critique/dissent is a patriotic duty, and is not "un-American."
posted by yesster at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2001

Wow, what a great speech, and thanks for the link!

I lean strongly towards the conservative side of things, politically speaking, and one of the things that gave me pause on 9/11 was the whole issue of civil liberties, and how that landscape would change. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, etc., etc., and I can't say that any other administration wouldn't be doing the same thing. This assumes of course, that misdeeds and skullduggery are taking place under the guise of national security, and all of us are smart enough to make that assumption, albeit in different degrees.

Hurrah for vigorous and (hopefully) respectful dissent! It is one of the Very Special Things about America, and should be not only "tolerated" but encouraged, even in a time of war.

And I just like to confuse the marketers because I give money to both the ACLU and the NRA.
posted by ebarker at 8:21 AM on November 1, 2001

Bill Moyers:great mind...for me I get a jolt from: "In the course of fighting the present fire, we must not abandon our efforts to create fire-resistant structures of the future." I don't think we've done much of that, and until we do, it's gonna be more of the same.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:12 AM on November 2, 2001

Ah hell, yeah, he says some of the things that I wish I was informed enough, clever enough, articulate enough to say as well.

I agree with pretty much everything the man said. But I finished the speech feeling very low indeed, because I am very afraid that the things he warns against, the theft of democracy and the triumph of the Little Men, is happening now and will continue to happen.

"Let's face it: they present citizens with no options but to climb back in the ring. We are in what educators call "a teachable moment." And we'll lose it if we roll over and shut up. What's at stake is democracy. Democracy wasn't cancelled on the 11th of September, but democracy won't survive if citizens turn into lemmings." Moyers says.

I'm afraid too many people will roll over and shut up, or just not care, while the war sleight-of-hand pulls their eyes from the real, long-term action.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do.

(Full disclosure : I'm not American. But, for better or worse, you are we, and we're all in it together.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:33 AM on November 2, 2001

Great speech, great thread.
posted by mmarcos at 4:41 PM on November 2, 2001

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