Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Mike's Letter

November 2nd, 2000 12:00 AM

An Open Letter to Governor Bush

Dear Governor Bush,

It's been awhile since we've talked. I believe your last words to me were, "Go find real work!" You kidder, you! That very night, it was you who found real work for yourself by executing your 117th human being in Texas. How DO you do it?!

Actually, the "real work" I do now, my job, is due in large part to your family. Few people know what you and I know... that it was your cousin Kevin who shot much of "Roger & Me."? At the time, I didn't know that your mother, Barbara Bush, and his mother were sisters. Kevin must have missed the train the rest of you were on! He came to Flint to return a favor to me for helping him on a film he was making about hate groups. He is the person who taught me how to make a movie. Without his generosity, "Roger & Me" might never had been made.

I remember the day your dad was inaugurated as President. I was editing the film in a ratty old editing room in D.C. and decided to go down to watch your dad be sworn in on the Capitol steps. How weird it was to see my mentor/cinematographer sitting next to you up on the dais!

Months later, when the film was released, your dad, the President, ordered a print of "Roger & Me" to be sent to Camp David for the family to watch one weekend. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall as all of you watched the havoc and despair your father and Mr. Reagan had helped wreak upon my hometown. I've always wanted to know -- at the end of the film, as the deputy sheriff was tossing the kids' presents and Christmas tree out on the curb because they were $150 behind in their rent -- were there any tears in the room? Did anyone feel responsible? Or did you just think, "nice camerawork!"

And now you want to be President of the United States.

I'm sorry to tell you, but that can't happen.

The American people need to know a few things about you -- and they had better consider them right now, before a tragic mistake is made.

You know what I am talking about.

Your possible victory on Tuesday is a threat to our national security.

That may seem a bit strong, but I don't make this charge lightly. It has nothing to do with your positions on the issues (all of which I disagree with) or your patriotism (I'm sure you love your country).

It has to do with you. I believe, with all due respect, that if you sit in the Oval Office, this nation of ours, its security, and in turn, the security of the world, has the potential to be in great jeopardy.


There are three reasons.

1. It appears you cannot read and write on an adult level. I'm sad to say it, but you may be a functional illiterate. How can we entrust our nuclear secrets to you if you can't read them?

As I have pointed out before, all the signs of either dyslexia or illiteracy are there -- and no one is asking you about it. First, you lied about your "favorite book" as a child ("A Very Hungry Caterpillar" you said). That book wasn't even published until a year after you graduated from college!

Then there is the question of your college transcripts and if, in fact, they have been doctored. How DID you get into Yale when the prospective students we uncovered had higher SATs and grades? During this campaign you have made up answers when asked to name the books you are currently reading (when quizzed about the books' contents, you didn't know what to say). Is it any wonder you have not had a press conference in over a month and a half? Your handlers are scared to death of what might be asked or what you may say.

One thing is clear to all -- you can't speak the English language in sentences we can comprehend.? At first, the way you mangled words and sentences was cute and funny. But after a while, it became worrisome. Now, I'm just scared. If you are Commander-in-Chief, you have to be able to communicate your orders. What if your subordinates don't understand you? What kind of chaos could that cause with our national security? No wonder you want to increase the Pentagon budget. We'll need all the firepower we can get after you accidentally order the Russians to be "wiped out" (when you meant to say that the Russians are just "whipped" these days).

Your aides have said that you don't (can't?) read the briefing papers they give you and that you ask them to read them for you or to you. Your mother was passionately committed to reading programs as First Lady. I assume she knew first hand the difficulty of raising a child with a learning disability.? 

I say none of this to knock you personally. Forty million adult Americans cannot read above a 4th grade level and millions are dyslexic. There is no shame in this. In fact, there is help. But for you to have your finger on The Button when you may be disabled in this way is too great a risk for the country to take. You need help -- not the Oval Office.

Hey, I'm not one to talk -- just look at this letter and all its wacky syntax! But I ain't runnin' for President. At the very least, the voters deserve an answer to this question of your illiteracy by Tuesday.

2. Are you an alcoholic? Again, there is no finger being pointed here and no shame or disrespect intended. Alcoholism is a huge problem and it affects millions of American citizens, people we all know and love. Many are able to recover and live normal lives. I greatly admire anyone who can deal with this addiction. You have told us that you are not able to drink, and haven't touched a drop since you were 40. Congratulations.

But it has just been revealed tonight on CNN that, in the past, you were arrested for drunk driving (and that you tried to cover it up). You have told us that you used to "drink too much" and that you were "more in love with the liquor" than you were with your own family. That is the definition of an alcoholic. This does not disqualify you from being president, but it does require that you answer some questions.

Why won't you use the word "alcoholic?" That is, after all, the first step to recovery. What support system have you set up to make sure you don't fall off the wagon? Being president is perhaps the most stressful job in the world. What have you done to insure you can handle the pressure and the anxiety associated with being the Leader of the Free World? How do we know you will not resort to the bottle when faced with a serious panic? You have never had a job like this. For 20 years, from what I can tell, you had no job at all. When you stopped "drifting," your dad set you up in the oil business with some ventures that failed and then he helped you get a ball team which required you to sit in a box seat and watch a lot of baseball games. Now you have served as governor of Texas, a relatively ceremonial job in that state. How will you deal with a massive world crisis? Do you have a sponsor you can call? Is there a meeting you can attend? I know this is very personal, but the voters have a right to know.

3. Please, tell us the "felony" you committed and anything else of a similar nature that you have been hiding. When you were asked last year about your alleged cocaine use, you replied that you have committed "no felonies in the last 25 years." That implies that you DID commit a felony before that. What was the felony? 

The reason I am asking this is not to seek retribution for what you did. I am concerned that if there is some deep, dark secret you are afraid of, it means you are, in effect, providing ammunition for whoever discovers this secret, be it a foreign enemy (that Bin-Laden guy) or a domestic enemy (ExxonMobil). If they discover your secret felony, they will have something over you -- and will be in a position to blackmail you. That makes you a national security threat.

Trust me, someone will find out what you are hiding, and when they do, all of us will be at risk. You have made yourself a national security threat and you have a duty to disclose whatever this felony was that you committed. To reveal it will nullify its potential use as a weapon against you or this country should you be elected.

There are enough scary reasons why you should never be President. You will oversee further destruction of our environment. You will push to have more people executed. You will make sure your rich buddies make a killing off the hard work and suffering of those less fortunate than you. Any of these reasons is enough to stop you on Tuesday.

But, no matter where any of us stand on the political spectrum, liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican or Green, all of us have a right to know the answers to these three critical questions.


Michael Moore

Addendum (added 11/05/2000):
My apologies to my dyslexic friends. That portion of my letter to Mr. Bush was not as clear as I intended it. Dyslexia and illiteracy are NOT the same and, yes, a dyslexic cannot only be President, he can be Albert Einstein (yes, Einstein was dyslexic). I do believe that George W. Bush cannot read and write on an adult level and that he has learned to be a functional illiterate (which means, I guess, he still hasn't read my letter). This is not to say that Bush is dumb or Reagan-like. It is meant to only point out that he is friggin' dangerous.

Also, regarding the other danger I referred to in my letter to Bush -- his "drinking problem" -- the issue is NOT that Bush is an alcoholic -- alcoholics can and have been President -- but that he refuses to acknowledge he is an alcoholic (the first step to recovery) and the way he so quickly wants to blame everyone else but himself. That's a dangerous sign. For those who say, "well, c'mon, it's his personal life, that was 24 years ago," I have this to say. I was hit by a drunk driver 27 years ago, and to this day I cannot completely extend my right arm. When you go out on a public highway drunk, that is no longer your PERSONAL life. It is MY life and the lives of my family.

To watch Bush swagger and smirk as he tried to reduce his "youthful indiscretion" off on just him and the boys having a few beers (smirk, smirk), I felt for the families of the half-million people who have been killed by drunks like George in the 24 years since his "little adventure." Thank God he chose to drive drunk for only ANOTHER 10 years after he "learned" his "lesson."

And the nerve of him using his daughters as the reason he covered up this conviction! "SNL" put it best tonight: "George Bush said he didn't reveal the drunk driving charge because of what his daughters might think of him. He had preferred that they think of him as a man with numerous failed business ventures who now executes people."

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