With the premiere of his latest documentary film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” receiving a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore issued a plea to audiences to come away from the movie with an understanding that simply removing President Donald Trump from office won’t do away with the circumstances which led to him being there.
“Donald J. Trump did not just fall from the sky,” wrote Moore in a statement on his website. “His rise to the presidency was not an aberration and should not have come as a shock.”
The feature-length documentary will be released in theaters nationwide on September 21, with the message, as Sophia McClennen wrote at Salon, that Trump is “the symptom” of deep dysfunction within U.S. democracy—”not the disease.”
Notably, that very same message was echoed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in a speech on Friday in Illinois.
The nation’s current crisis “did not start with Donald Trump,” Obama said. “He is a symptom, not the cause.”
The film examines some of the undercurrents of American culture which Moore has explored in his previous films: the unchecked corporate greed which has led to the decimation of whole communities and the 2008 financial meltdown, the subject of his films “Roger and Me” and “Capitalism: A Love Story”; the immense power of private interest groups like the NRA and for-profit health insurance companies, as he explored in “Bowling for Columbine” and “Sicko.”
All those dynamics helped to set the scene for November 9, 2016, when Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States.
“This is not a film telling you what a jerk Donald Trump is or what an [sic] buffoon Donald Trump is or what a liar Donald Trump is. You already know all that,” wrote Moore. “[Trump’s 2016 win] was the logical end result of a long, downward spiral in America that culminated in one of our most loathsome citizens conquering our most powerful office. One of our most deceptive minds, commanding the bully pulpit. One of our most fraudulent hucksters, armed with the powers of the presidency to protect him.”
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