Memories of Reagan at Bitburg

I was in high school at the time, and didn't quite grasp the significance of Ronald Reagan's speech at Bitburg Air Base on May 5, 1985. But I do remember that there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the visit, since an American president visiting a cemetery where many Nazi SS soldiers were buried seemed to send the wrong message about our role in World War II. He did so, despite the protests of many prominent American Jews.

Today freedom-loving people around the world must say: I am a Berliner. I am a Jew in a world still threatened by anti-Semitism. I am an Afghan, and I am a prisoner of the Gulag. I am a refugee in a crowded boat foundering off the coast of Vietnam. I am a Laotian, a Cambodian, a Cuban, and a Miskito Indian in Nicaragua. I, too, am a potential victim of totalitarianism.

The one lesson of World War II, the one lesson of nazism, is that freedom must always be stronger than totalitarianism and that good must always be stronger than evil. The moral measure of our two nations will be found in the resolve we show to preserve liberty, to protect life, and to honor and cherish all God's children.

Guess who was there at Bitburg the day that Reagan made this grotesquely hypocritical utterance? None other than Michael Moore. He told the story tonight while lecturing to a sold-out audience at San Francisco State University. Not only was the lecture sold-out, there were 700 people who watched a live simulcast in a theater on campus. Moore says he's received enthusiastic receptions everywhere he's been so far, promoting his new book, "Dude, Where's My Country?"

It seems that Moore may be right when he says that the United States is essentially a liberal country at heart, although you wouldn't know that from listening to the government or the corporate media. The fact that "Stupid White Men" sold 4 million copies and his new book has already sold a million copies, while "Bowling for Columbine" has been a huge success, makes it pretty obvious that Moore is saying what people want to hear in a way they want to hear it. Next stop: Albuquerque.