Enjoying a pause in Tucson for four days before resuming the screening tour in San Jose, Friday, June 16. It’s 101 F, but it’s a dry heat! LoL Visiting old friends, former students and old haunts. First opportunity to sit down and write this blog.
I’m constantly asked what people are saying and thinking as I travel cross-country for the second time in two and a half months. Right now, everyone is talking about the Comey and Sessions hearings, and Trump’s latest. Russophobia and the demonization of Putin are in overdrive. I think it’s all a well-choreographed distraction to conceal the real agenda.
Most people who attend the screenings are vintage, old-time activists. I get the distinct impression that lots of folks are feeling overwhelmed and helpless, but I think the vast number of Americans are either delusional or in complete denial, caught up in the 24/7 hysteria generated by the media.
Thirty Seconds to Midnight is generating lots of discussion, sharing and community learning. Most are getting copies to share with “all those people who should have been there.” That’s how The Ghosts of Jeju made it around the world, was translated into seven languages and is still going strong like the energizer bunny. I’m amazed at how many say they had seen it. Once people acquire copies, things are completely out of my hands. Because there are no royalties or fees for showing or sharing the film, it spreads quickly.
Over 30,000 people have viewed it on Youtube and the comments are overwhelmingly positive. I can count on two hands the number of people who object for two or three basic reasons. Several get riled up about climate change and insist it’s a hoax. Others object to my rosy picture of Putin believing he’s worse than Stalin or even Hitler. Two people got really angry because I didn’t say anything “good” about America. On both occasions members of the audience countered with, “well there isn’t much good,” and one elderly African American stood up and challenged the guy to “name one.”
Sherri Mitchell, my Penobscot Native American friend, has deeply impressed most audiences with her optimism that the prophecies of her ancestors are coming to light. Dr. Helen Caldicott continues to wake people up to the threats of nuclear war, nuclear power, and climate change. Very grateful to Helen for using her extensive network to promote the film. Many people along the way have attended her presentations and met her. All are happy to learn that Helen is well and still at it.
David Vine, author of Base Nation, leaves a lasting impression about the breath and scope of American bases world wide. Peter Kuznick’s description of Harry Truman’s knowledge that “this wasn’t just a bigger bomb, a more powerful bomb, but potentially the final destruction prophesied in the ancient writings” shocks people. Truman knew it could end all life on the planet.
Ray McGovern, well-known to many, opens eyes to the truth about the coup in Ukraine and Putin’s incredible patience and restraint in the face of extreme provocations. People are surprised to hear Bruce Gagnon’s description of the coup in Ukraine and the massacre in Odessa in 2014. He explains that the end game it to bring Russia to its knees with massive war games involving 25 thousand troops right on Russia’s border.
Yuri Mishin and Manita Mishina are very convincing it telling the truth about the referendum in Crimea where over 94% voted to return to Russia, dispelling the US and NATO lies about a Russian military invasion and Putin’s interference in the referendum.
It has been very rewarding and affirming to meet so many people on a personal level. It makes it all seem so worthwhile. A recent host asked me, “what fuels your passion?” Given the political circus occurring in this country these days, and the dangers threatening all life on the planet, I answered, “anger and rage.” I make no excuses about that.
On the flip side, I’ve lost a few friends. One couple I’ve known since the 1980’s said they didn’t want to meet with me because of my political and philosophical views. They wanted to remember me and the pleasant memories they had from way back when. It makes me sad, not that I’m losing friends, but that they refuse to see the truth.
I figure my mission in life is to reveal the truth about this country and to make people uncomfortable. Only be acknowledging our past can we ever hope to make things better. When the few tell me “to leave if I don’t like it here,” I respond with Leonard Cohen’s line in Democracy is Coming to the USA, “I love the country, but I can’t stand the scene.” And I add, I’m not leaving!