I was not disappointed. Outside McKale, it was clear that profanity was protocol for the evening. Everywhere you looked the Bush Mafia was engaged in verbal combat with squishy liberals and desperate lefties. I was bemused, but stayed out of it, for the moment.
We were late to the sold-out arena, which meant a hike to the rafters, where we saw a cluster of empty seats. Upon approach, we saw why they were empty. A whole row of Bushies was whooping it up, annoying everyone in range. We continued past them to the top row, but still had an excellent angle on a spectacle that promised to be more entertaining than Moore.
Moore spent his first 15 minutes engaging--baiting--the hecklers. There were at least a hundred scattered around the arena, but the clot nearest us was the loudest, and Moore often addressed them directly. He handled them pretty well at first, but later let them distract him. When he screamed "Shut the fuck up!" it may have been for effect (it generated one of the loudest cheers of the night), but clearly he wearied of the game. An older man in front of us seemed particularly agitated with the disruptions.
While he fumed, his companion made repeated pilgrimages to the security guards in a vain attempt to have the protesters removed.
I eventually settled on what I thought was a nice counterpoint to the Bushies' "Four more years!" chant: "The mo-rons are here! The mo-rons are here!"
It was all very ugly. But that's the thing about politics these days: They're gittin' uglier and uglier. Uglier than the hairy white ass of the naked fool trying to get his hands on the free underwear Moore was handing out. Uglier than the boorish idiot who shouted "Take it off!" when Moore introduced his niece, who attends the UA.
During the show, we were presented with the pathetic sight of Michael Moore, gadfly champion of the left, picking on Ralph Nader and crudely ridiculing anyone who would consider voting for him. Well. I may be voting Libertarian this time around, but on this point I would have to say Moore is indeed a Big Fat Stupid White Man.
But it's not just The Big One who's down on Ralph. My (usually) like-minded lefty-liberal friends can't even discuss the subject calmly anymore. Many of them are happy that Ralph was kicked off the ballot in Arizona.
Amazing. Erstwhile do-gooder Democrats celebrating what can only be characterized as an anti-democratic turn of events, just because they're so scared of the big bad Bush they can no longer hear the blasphemies coming out of their own mouths. Perhaps my chant should be spelled, "The Moore-ons are here!"
ONCE MORE FOR THE RECORD, FOLKS: There were 100 reasons why Bush won the White House four years ago, exactly one of which reads "Ralph Nader." The other 99 are evenly split between savage, cunning Republican cheating and bone-headed Democratic campaigning. Ralph-bashing and infighting are exactly what the Republicans want (even if they are rooting for Ralph to "steal it from Kerry"). It distracts from the other 99 reasons our democracy is going to hell.
Considering the polarized tenor of the times, it's no surprise that Moore's road show descended into melee. When the security guards finally booted the nearby Bushies (a move I disagreed with), several Moore fans couldn't resist some face time with the departing goons. I took my place in the gantlet and proffered the appropriate sign language.
Right about the time I was thinking, "Go on, swing at me, you fucking ape, I will see your ass in jail," the agitated old liberal guy dove headlong into the scene and planted a handful of trash in the Bushie's face. The cops quickly tackled and cuffed him, with little regard for his 65-year-old bones.
Truly ugly. A cop grabbed me, too, from behind as I was walking away, at which point I reverted to years of nonviolence training (I know that grip well enough), calmly convinced him that I didn't hit anyone, and returned to my seat to ponder an age-old political question: "What the hell is going on here?"