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To read more about Episode 195, visit the main episode page.

Michael Moore [00:00:27] This is Rumble with Michael Moore, and I’m Michael Moore. And welcome everyone. And yes, you know the song. It’s that time of year. It’s graduation time. Seniors graduating from high school and from college at this time. They start college graduation a little early, but right now we’re right in the thick of the high school graduations. And of course, you know, over the years, we’ve added various other graduations. Now there’s kindergarten graduation, there’s first grade graduation. There’s either before you go to middle school, so it’s either fourth grade or fifth grade graduation, depending on your middle school. You know, you got to graduate from elementary school first. Then there’s middle school graduation in eighth grade and then there’s high school graduation. 

Michael Moore [00:01:22] Man, that’s the racket to get into caps and gowns, right? Somebody run with that. You’re thinking about it, I know you are right now. But this has been an interesting year and thinking about graduation now this week to all all the people who are graduating out there, preparing for today’s show and our special guests that we’re going to have joining us shortly, the valedictorian who gave the graduation speech at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas, a little over a week ago, and that speech went viral. She threw out the prepared text that had been approved by the school administration and decided to give the students and their parents something else. Her name is Paxton Smith. 

Michael Moore [00:02:11] She will be my guest here in just a few minutes. But in preparing for this podcast today, I sort of flipped back and started thinking about my high school graduation some x number of years ago. But it was a wild graduation that night. First of all, something was going on that none of us in the country, and certainly none of us at my high school knew what was going on that night, which is that five burglars were breaking into the Watergate to bug the offices of the Democratic Party committee. They had done it, and so I’ll always remember that date in June. But on that very night, that’s when Watergate happened. That’s how it comes back to me in my head first. Then I start thinking about how, you know, five days before my graduation, I had been elected to the school board. 

Michael Moore [00:03:10] I had run as an 18 year old and got elected. It was the first time 18-year-olds could vote. The voting age had been lowered from 21 to 18, and so here I am that night, standing in line to walk out onto the football field for graduation. I had been elected by my class to be the spokesperson for the class to give the graduation speech on behalf of the class. And not quite sure how I was elected to do this. A couple of weeks before that, they had that kind of thing where they vote on the class [superlatives]. You know, they vote for most likely to succeed, best dressed, you know, all those things. They still do this. Of course I was not voted most likely to succeed. I think that went actually to a student in my class, who went on to invent, co-invent, Barney the dinosaur, the cartoon for kids. She was in our class, and I don’t remember who got voted. 

Michael Moore [00:04:12] But I did get voted for something and it was class comic. And my fellow classmates, sometimes it’s class clown, depending on what school you’re in, it’s usually given to the guy in the back of the classroom throwing out various wisecracks to keep everybody laughing and annoying the teachers to death. That was me. And then a couple of weeks later then I’m elected to give the speech and I’m thinking, You know what? They probably thought because, You know, okay, he’s kind of a funny, weird guy, so he’ll give a funny, weird speech. And I think that’s pretty much what I decided I would do. And then I heard that there was a student who had gotten really high grades, you know, all A’s, couple B’s, but was not allowed in the National Honor Society and was not going to be given those honor chords, because he was in a wheelchair for life, very hard for him to function as a quadriplegic, you know, very hard to talk. 

Michael Moore [00:05:28] And so he had to be schooled at home, but was graded and got these great grades. And it was announced or somehow got around that, even though he got grades similar to those of us who were in the National Honor Society and who were in the, you know, top 30 or 40 of the class, he wasn’t getting any of that. He wasn’t getting any honor cords. I just thought, Damn, that is like so harsh and wrong. So I kept my honor cords from my eighth grade graduation and I went looking for them and found them in the basement and stuck them in my pocket. I thought, You know what, I’m going to give him my honor cords from, you know, four years ago. So I’m called up to the stage to give the speech. I get up there, I’m at the podium, the microphone, I look down and there’s Gene. And he’s right there, right? They moved him right up front in his wheelchair. And he’s, you know, in this kind of contorted thing and very happy, and he’s kind of excited to be there. 

Michael Moore [00:06:37] And I just thought, man, simply because he isn’t like us and he’s in that wheelchair for life probably, he doesn’t get the thing that the other kids get, even though he got similar grades. But you at home, you know, which is what all of you who are students have been doing for the last, you know, 16 months. But that wasn’t really done back in the day. So I get up there and I start my prepared speech and I look up and I see him and he’s all happy and waving and smiling, and he’s got his cap and gown on. No honor cords. And after a few sentences, I just stopped and I said, hey, I don’t feel like giving the speech that I had written. And of course, you know, all the students who had their water guns underneath their gowns and water balloons and all this other mayhem that was going to happen and thinking I was going to be the setup guy for this because I was going to give a really funny speech. 

Michael Moore [00:07:45] And I said, you know, I just want to say something about school and education and just how off the tracks it is, and especially in this instance, as we know here with Gene, you know, not being able to get his honor cords or be in the National Honor Society, it’s just so much injustice we witness as children. And I’m not going to give you my speech now, but I just, you know, I went on for the next 15 minutes or so with my attitude about how school has to change. And I just meant a lot of it at the school board. And I said, you know, I will try to do what I can do to fix this as a member of the Board of Education. 

Michael Moore [00:08:21] I don’t know how far I’ll get, but I think we need to change this up and we need to do better and we need to be thinking about how in school we can become and should become critical thinkers and creative and stand up for what we believe in. All of this should be encouraged instead of punished. And as I’m, you know, going through this and I’m thinking about what I just witnessed in line before we walked out onto the football field, I’m standing there in line and the kid in front of me, well, I don’t, you know, I don’t want to violate his privacy or whatever, but we’ll call him Billy. If you were in the class of ’72 or Davison High School, you were a witness to this as we were lined up in the hallway outside the cafeteria before going outside the high school and onto the football field. And the assistant principal in charge of discipline, you know, the one who always walked around with a paddle board stick, you know, to whack you, he’s checking, going down to make sure every boy has a tie on because you had to follow a dress code. 

Michael Moore [00:09:39] OK, check tie. Check tie. He comes to Billy. Pulls it down and goes, Where’s your tie? And Billy says, Well, this is a tie. And he was. He was wearing a tie. He was wearing what’s called a bolo tie, which at that time and I think some parts of the South and West, it’s like, you’ve seen cowboy types where it, you know, it’s got two long strings to it. And it’s fastened together into some sort of, you know, metallic thing up at the top. You stick it on your collar and it’s got, you know, a circle and then two strings come down from it, and it’s the tie. So he’s explaining this to Mr. Ryan, and Mr. Ryan says that’s not a tie. He says, Yes, sir. Yes, it is. It is. This is what we wear in my family. I don’t think Billy came from a lot of money. Let’s put it that way, OK? 

Michael Moore [00:10:34] And Mr. Ryan said, Step out one step out. Out of line. But but but. And he grabs Billy. And yanks him out of the line and we’re all standing and waiting. You’re not graduating. You violated the dress code rule. You’re out. Get out of here. And I’m standing there watching this. I’ve just been elected to the school board. I haven’t been sworn in yet. About three days away from that. But I’m essentially being elected. I’m this guy’s boss now, the assistant principal, and I’m standing there and I’m just gritting my teeth. What should I do? What should I say? I should, damn it, oh damn. And before I could think about what to do, Billy was yanked and gone. And to this day, when I think of that moment and as I tell you this story, I am ashamed of myself, embarrassed. Where was my courage? I should have stood right up, right in between the two of them, looked right in Ryan’s face and said he’s not going anywhere.,He’s staying right here with us. 

Michael Moore [00:11:54] And I know the rest of the students, if any of you are listening, you know what I’m talking about, you all would’ve stood with Billy. We could’ve stopped this, but you know, you’re afraid, you’re 18. Some were 17. No excuse, though. No excuse. And I thought about it all the way out, the march out to the football field. Not proud of myself. This is probably why when they called me up to the stage, I was in such a fit about this and about myself. And when I got up there and I looked out at the crowd and I looked down at Gene in his wheelchair and I just said, Fuck it. I tossed the speech and I said what really needed to be said? And I thought any second they’re going to cut this microphone. They’re going to pull me out of here. Mr. Ryan is sitting behind me on the stage, the assistant principal. But I didn’t care. I just motored on and I closed by saying, You know, all of us young people, we’re not going to tolerate this stuff anymore. Someone in my class would that year go on to be the last of the young boys drafted sent to Vietnam. 

Michael Moore [00:13:14] I ended up with a high lottery number, and you know when they…my birthday bingo balls out of the machine with your birthday on it. And that was the order that they called up people to go into the Army and go to Vietnam. I had my plans, I wasn’t going to Vietnam, that’s for damn sure. I also wasn’t going to jail. So living just a few miles from Canada, my friends and I had made our escape plans. We will talk about someday, but didn’t need it because my birthday was so high up in the calling of the numbers. But that night, that Watergate night, the night I graduated from high school, the night I didn’t give the speech, I was supposed to give a speech that upset the administration and what would become my fellow school board members, at the end of the speech, I said, Gene, I’m sorry this institution couldn’t find a way to give you the honor cords that you had earned under much more difficult circumstances than the rest of us. 

Michael Moore [00:14:22] So I still have my honor courts from eighth grade, and I’d like to give you them as your honor cords for tonight. And I walked away from the podium and from the administration people on the stage and hopped off the stage and took the honor cords out and put them around Gene, who was very, very happy. And the class, my class, the crowd went crazy. I don’t know if the parents were so crazy about it. I don’t have a memory of that. My parents were, people I graduated with this, this great class of really, really wonderful people. This great moment. And that’s the story of that night of graduating from high school. It’s the last thing I graduated from. 

Michael Moore [00:15:09] I didn’t last more than a year and a half in college. I dropped out. But I’ll always remember that night, and I’ll always remember the shame of not conjuring up the courage that I knew I had within me to stand up to this six foot four brute of an assistant principal. And a resolve, I think from then I forward to try to never back down or never remain silent again. So maybe that has to happen to each of us at some point. And at that point, we make our turn. And we find our voice and we do brave things sometimes try to. 

Michael Moore [00:17:37] So, Nick, can we crank that song back up? We’re going back into graduation, 2021 on May 30th, a week or so ago at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas. The valedictorian of the class, Paxton Smith, decided at the last minute to throw away her school approved speech to address the never ending war on women’s reproductive rights in a new Texas law signed in May by Republican Governor Greg Abbott that would make all abortions illegal as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Paxton’s speech announcing this assault on women’s rights went viral and has caused a rumble, a good rumble as far as I’m concerned, and I was so moved when I watched her give the speech online after the fact, of course, and wanted to have her come on our podcast this week. And she has graciously agreed to do so. But before we bring her on, let me let me play her graduation speech for you. It is not a long speech. This is how all speeches should be, a little over three minutes. That’s all it is. So take the next three minutes to listen to Paxton Smith deliver the graduating class address at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas on May 30th. 

Paxton Smith [00:19:13] As we leave high school, we need to make our voices heard. Today I was going to talk about TV and media and content because it’s something that’s very important to me. However, under light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in the state. Recently, the Heartbeat bill was passed in Texas. Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Six weeks, that’s all women get. And so before they realized, most of them don’t realize that they’re pregnant by six weeks. So before they have a chance to decide if they are emotionally, physically and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human being into the world. That decision is made for them by a stranger. 

Paxton Smith [00:20:16] A decision that will affect the rest of their lives is made by a stranger. I have dreams and hopes and ambitions. Every girl graduating today does. And we have spent our entire lives working towards our future and without our input and without our consent, our control over that future has been stripped away from us. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter. I hope that you can feel how gut wrenching that is. I hope you can feel how dehumanizing it is to have the autonomy over your own body taken away from you. And I’m talking about this today on a day as important as this, on a day honoring 12 years of hard academic work, on a day where we are all gathered together, on a day where you are most inclined to listen to a voice like mine, a woman’s voice to tell you that this is a problem and it’s a problem that cannot wait. And I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there was a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your mothers. A war on the rights of your sisters. A war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent. Thank you. 

Michael Moore [00:22:00] And there you have it. Paxton Smith with the graduation speech of the year from Dallas, Texas. And I’m very honored to have her with us here today on Rumble. Welcome, Paxton. 

Paxton Smith [00:22:16] Hi, thanks for having me on. 

Michael Moore [00:22:18] Thank you for being on the podcast here and for the speech. I think by now millions have watched it. Some people just heard it for the first time here on Rumble, but maybe just give us a little bit of background in terms of how this came about. Had you written a speech and did it have to be approved by somebody in the school? Did you have to show it to somebody? 

Paxton Smith [00:22:46] Yes. I actually wrote a different speech entirely about media and content and how it’s affected the way that I view the world. And I was anticipating making that speech initially, but I ended up switching it, as most of the headlines suggest, at the last minute. 

Michael Moore [00:23:05] What was going through your mind when you’re thinking, Boy there could be some trouble here without them approving this. I know there’s the First Amendment. I know that the Supreme Court ruled back in the 60s that students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they pass through the schoolhouse door. That’s the actual quote from the Supreme Court back in the 60s. So you do have rights. I’m just curious what was going through your head and how concerned or maybe even afraid you were to change this thing up at the last minute?

Paxton Smith [00:23:36] After the passing of the Heartbeat bill, I think there was just a turning point for me where I thought, OK, enough is enough because of course, I had seen all of the restrictions that have been put in place across the country over the last year. Of course I’ve seen them and they upset me. But when the heartbeat bill was passed, that was really the final straw for me. And so I felt like I needed to say something, and I needed people to listen to what I had to say because I felt like it mattered, and I wrestled with myself a bit before I had made the speech. It’s not wrong to say that I saw myself in the future, possibly receiving repercussions for this. I anticipated a lot of people to be upset with me, ultimately, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. 

Michael Moore [00:24:27] And so you went with what your conscience said? 

Paxton Smith [00:24:30] Right. 

Michael Moore [00:24:30] Was the right thing to do. And you were aware that there may be repercussions for this, either from the school, they may cut you off mid-sentence, they could deny you your diploma. I mean, I saw on the news this week a student, his parents have Mexican heritage and so he walked up on the stage with a Mexican flag around his shoulders to accept his diploma. And the principal, whoever it was, said, No, take that flag off or you’re not getting the diploma. And she wouldn’t give him the diploma, and she gave the empty case and walked off the stage. 

Michael Moore [00:25:07] So there are instances when students speak their mind to what should be constitutionally protected, and that could have happened that day there at your high school graduation, where they decide instantly to deny you your diploma. And I’m sure you must have thought about the kind of holy storm that might arise on social media from people who vehemently disagree with your position. 

Paxton Smith [00:25:34] Yeah. 

Michael Moore [00:25:34] And yet you forged through all that. You persisted. You went on and did what you thought was right. But none of that happened. They gave you your diploma, right? 

Paxton Smith [00:25:45] Mmhmm. I got my diploma. And I haven’t received very many angry messages, really. 

Michael Moore [00:25:51] So, no serious repercussions yet? 

Paxton Smith [00:25:55] Right. 

Michael Moore [00:25:55] I would imagine you’ve received a lot of very positive feedback from people across the country, in the world, and especially from young people and women and those who support reproductive rights. 

Paxton Smith [00:26:07] I have gotten hundreds of messages and I’m doing my best to read through all of them and respond to each of them. But there’s so many. 

Michael Moore [00:26:16] Has the media been contacting you?

Paxton Smith [00:26:19] So much, yes. 

Michael Moore [00:26:20] How’s that going? 

Paxton Smith [00:26:21] Well, it’s certainly very hectic. There were about two days where I was doing 20 to 30 interviews a day. And since then, it’s died down a bit, but there’s been a lot going on on my end. 

Michael Moore [00:26:34] Have you thought more about it? Like if you could rewind, go in a time tunnel and go back, is there something else that you wished you should have said or could have said or added on to anything? Or was that really that was just that’s what needed to be said. 

Paxton Smith [00:26:51] I thought it was what needed to be said. 

Michael Moore [00:26:54] Did you grow up in a home where your parents encouraged you to speak your mind, have your own opinions, be a critical thinker, that sort of thing, I mean, we did, you know, did you have sort of some flexibility as a child to be yourself? 

Paxton Smith [00:27:09] I think it starts with parents treating you like your opinion matters and like they should listen to what you have to say. So we’ve certainly had a lot of different conversations about many different topics where we might not necessarily agree or we might not necessarily see eye to eye, but we still agree to have a peaceful conversation about it where we can hear each other’s sides. And I think that’s helped shape me into who I am today. And additionally, there is this idea in the house that if you’re going to have an argument about something, you should understand, not just your point of view, but you should also understand the other sides of the argument so that your opinion is better, well rounded, and better grounded. 

Michael Moore [00:27:57] So this new abortion law in Texas, has this been a topic either in school or among your friends? 

Paxton Smith [00:28:03] It hasn’t been a super big topic. We’ve talked about it briefly in government class and outside of school with my friends. It just depends on their level of comfort with discussing that topic because for some people it is a bit uncomfortable. 

Michael Moore [00:28:19] I was trying to listen to the background noise during your speech, and it was hard to pick up. But when you say, especially when you start talking about this is a war on women and this is a war on, you know, people trying to take over control of our bodies. There was some noise. I couldn’t tell, did you get applause for that? Were there boos? I mean, just curious what the reaction was in the moment. 

Paxton Smith [00:28:43] It was a very positive reaction. You can’t tell on the video, but the cheers started about halfway through my speech and they kept going up until the end, and it was very loud at the end. 

Michael Moore [00:28:57] Wow. Yeah, I could hear it at the end, and I was like, thinking, again, this is probably just my own prejudice about Texas. No offense. I’m thinking this is Dallas, Texas, and they are cheering for her. 

Paxton Smith [00:29:09] Yeah. 

Michael Moore [00:29:11]  I mean, walk me through that. 

Paxton Smith [00:29:13] It would be ignorant to say that there is not a large conservative proportion of the population where I live and definitely at my school. So like you, I was also very surprised by how positive the response was. 

Michael Moore [00:29:29] It gave me hope, actually. You know that because I think there are things in Texas that are changing, even though we have these horrible laws, whether it’s about abortion, whether it’s about voter suppression, you know, just one thing after another, right? And yet you see signs of change happening. Ted Cruz barely gets reelected. It’s, you know, a very close vote. You see that 57 percent of the state is not white, it’s 43 percent white and 57 percent Hispanic, Black Native Americans. That’s a change for Texas. I mean, you know what I’m saying? I mean, just from a distance, it seems like things are changing. And perhaps we are close to things getting better. 

Paxton Smith [00:30:16] I certainly hope so. 

Michael Moore [00:30:17] Where are you going to go to school, if you are going to go to college? 

Paxton Smith [00:30:21] I’m going to the University of Texas at Austin, most likely to study music. 

Michael Moore [00:30:26] Oh wow. What kind of music?

Paxton Smith [00:30:28] Recording technology or music business. 

Michael Moore [00:30:31] OK, so you’re not a political science student? 

Paxton Smith [00:30:33] No. 

Michael Moore [00:30:34] Are you politically active at all in any way? 

Paxton Smith [00:30:37] Define, politically active? 

Michael Moore [00:30:39] Well, we’ll start with, are you looking forward to voting for the first time? 

Paxton Smith [00:30:44] Yes. 

Michael Moore [00:30:45] And you will vote, so ok, that’s a first step. I don’t know. Have you ever gone to a protest? Do you belong to any groups? Do you have political discussions with friends or family? 

Paxton Smith [00:30:58] OK, if that is the criteria, then yes, I will say I am politically active. I’ve been to rallies and different political topics are not uncommon for me to talk about. 

Michael Moore [00:31:11] Yeah, when I say politically active, I really, I’m not trying to set the bar low here. I just want people listening, average Americans, to know that they don’t have to be big political leaders. They don’t have to be politicians. They can just do what you just told me that you do. 

Paxton Smith [00:31:28] I agree. 

Michael Moore [00:31:30] And imagine if most Americans just did what you described you doing. I think we’d live in a better country. I don’t know. Hey, I want to ask you this. You said that you were going to give a speech on the media and how it affects us these days and all that. We didn’t get to hear that speech. I’m just curious, can you tell me a little bit about what you were planning to say about the media in this country right now? 

Paxton Smith [00:31:53] Well, I was actually going to talk about content and media and what constitutes that, so like music, television, movies, art, dance, all of those things and how I watch a lot of it. I spend a lot of time taking that in and in a way that has shaped the way my expectations are of reality. But at the end of the day, that’s not necessarily something that’s realistic to do because that content is just entertainment and that entertainment is catered to you based on what people think you will like. Not necessarily what reality is.

Michael Moore [00:32:33] If you are talking to other young people, young adults right now, what is it that you’d like to say to them in terms of maybe they’ve thought of doing something that might feel like it would require a little bit of courage to do? I’m just curious what you would say to them from this experience or just from your own? I love the fact that you’re a music student. You know, you’re not a political science [student]. That’s not going to be your major. 

Paxton Smith [00:33:02] Probably not. 

Michael Moore [00:33:02] What would you say to people your age? 

Paxton Smith [00:33:06] I received a very good piece of advice after, in the midst of this whole thing, and it was if you can go with your heart and then put your instincts from your heart, with your head, with what you’re thinking, then you can’t go wrong. 

Michael Moore [00:33:22] Wow, that’s great advice. Just before we go, I just want to tell you that I was the graduation speaker at my graduation and not because I was the valedictorian. But we in our school, they, you know, you were voted on by the senior class. 

Paxton Smith [00:33:35] OK. 

Michael Moore [00:33:38] And so I went up, and when I saw you do this, I just thought, Wow, this is very cool. More of this, please in the United States of America. 

Paxton Smith [00:33:47] Thank you. 

Michael Moore [00:33:49] And all of us to be inspired by we all need to get involved in this fight for women’s rights, for reproductive rights to, you know, fix what I call the gender apartheid situation in this country, where women are the majority gender and yet 75 percent of Congress are men. So that means the minority gender is making the laws controlling everything. It just doesn’t seem right to me. Do you think you’ll ever run for something someday? Would you ever even consider that? I mean, maybe it’s too early to…Have you turned 18 yet? 

Paxton Smith [00:34:19] I am 18. 

Michael Moore [00:34:20] You are 18. OK.

Paxton Smith [00:34:22] Yeah, that’s a possibility in my future. But I’m 18, I don’t know necessarily what it is I want to do yet. I’m really just playing things by ear. 

Michael Moore [00:34:33] Yeah, no, no, you know, enjoy life. Keep that process of learning going and getting your Euro pass when they open Europe back up. Take a bunch of trains across, you know, just do the thing. The pressure I see young people under to get to college and then get a job and. And yes, go to college. And yes, of course, someday, get a job. But nonetheless, man, this is your one life. You know, enjoy it and please keep being who you are and whatever that means. 

Paxton Smith [00:35:04] Thank you. 

Michael Moore [00:35:04] Thank you, Paxton, for coming on my podcast today. Greatly appreciate it.

Paxton Smith [00:35:09] Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it as well. 

Michael Moore [00:35:13] So before we go today, I just, Joe Manchin, really? Dude, I was so nice to you trying to say, just tell us what you want. We’ll get whatever you need in West Virginia, we’ll get it there. I don’t care if they call it pork. But he didn’t respond. And from what I know, he didn’t ask Biden for X, Y and Z for West Virginia in exchange for him voting for these Voting Rights Acts. For ending the filibuster. For the George Floyd Law Enforcement Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. He’s announced that he’s going to put a stop to all of it, he’s going to be the one vote that’s going to block what the majority of 300 million Americans want passed. One man thinks he has the right to do that. Wow. 

Michael Moore [00:38:20] And he [Manchin] said so on Sunday. He just flat out said, sorry, not having any of this. And the Republicans leapt for joy and they were like, Wow, this is cool. He’s one of us. And I was so bummed out all day Sunday after seeing him on the morning talk shows announcing that he was going to block all this good stuff. That night I turned on the Kennedy Center honors and a hero of mine, a mentor of mine, and now a friend of mine, Joan Baez was receiving the Kennedy Center honors, which every year go to people in the arts who have essentially contributed a lifetime of great art for all of us and good works for the world. And so Joan Baez was one of the recipients, as was Dick Van Dyke, and Debbie Allen, Garth Brooks. 

Michael Moore [00:39:16] It was quite a ceremony and moving in many ways, especially the Joan Baez portion of this. So Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter came out to sing a medley of Joan’s songs, songs that she wrote, or songs that she participated in making quite famous, such as the civil rights anthem that she sang on the March to Selma and at the Martin Luther King March on Washington in 1963 there at the Lincoln Memorial, where she sang We Shall Overcome. And so they sang, We shall overcome. She’s sitting there in the front row and they go into the second verse and Joan is smiling and happy and as she should be richly deserved for this award. And then right behind her sitting right behind her is Joe Manchin. Senator Joe Manchin. What’s he doing? 

Michael Moore [00:40:13] Well, what’s he doing there? Suddenly anybody in Congress can go to this. And there’s Manchin and all of a sudden, he joins in singing the song as this tribute to Joan Baez, and he’s trying. It’s the second verse of that night, at least the second verse of the song. And so there he is on live national national television, CBS, Joe Manchin, he was singing that. The guy acting as the sole roadblock in the Democratic Party to stop these laws from being enacted that would prohibit voter suppression. That would reinforce voting rights. That would create a new way to deal with law enforcement in the George Floyd Act. And would take the filibuster away from the Republicans who plan to stop every damn thing that Biden wants to do. 

Michael Moore [00:41:21] One guy, Joe Manchin, and he is standing right behind Joan Baez singing We shall overcome. We shall not be afraid. It was so surreal, my friends. And, Joe, if anybody’s playing this part of my podcast for you. What the fuck? Seriously, stop it. Yesterday, on Tuesday, all of our great top civil rights leaders went and met with him to try to convince him, Please, please, please don’t do this damage to us now, not here in post-Trump. Don’t do this. And they said he was respectful and he listened. Maybe they moved him on a couple of things, maybe. But no he’s not going to, he’s not going to stop and he doesn’t leave office until, you know, this term that he’s in right now, he’s elected until January of 2025. 

Michael Moore [00:42:19] So there’s no way to remove him. We either got to convince him to go along or we’ve got to get more people elected next year, and I’m sure you’ve listened to and heard all the early prognoses of what might happen next year. We could lose the House and the Senate. So we’ve got a big ball of crap in front of us here. And we need to get smart and we need to get busy and we need to get loud. We can’t let this moment pass. We can’t let the Republicans stop the majority as a majority. I mean, that vote that took place a week or two ago, where the Republicans threw their filibuster threat, stopped a bill from being passed that would form a commission, a bipartisan commission to examine what happened on Jan 6th, the insurrection, to study the act of terrorism on Jan 6th. The commission, well, it passed in the US Senate. 54 in favor. 35 against. 

Michael Moore [00:43:28] But because of the Republicans saying that the majority is not 51 anymore, it’s 60, you got to have 60. So they only had 54. They didn’t get to 60. So legally, officially it didn’t pass. This has to change. What kind of a Democracy is this? This nonsense has got to stop. The filibuster is racist, it’s been racist for 100 years. Needs to stop. Need to get rid of it. Biden needs to stand up. He’s tried to listen to get them to come on board. They won’t come on board. He’s not going to back down on this stuff. I mean, he even went so far as to take a trillion dollars out of the infrastructure bill and not raise the corporate tax rate up into the 20 to 25 percent. But let him just have it at 15 percent. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are like no, we’re not increasing any taxes, if it means some corporations pay no taxes, great. 

Michael Moore [00:44:25] That’s their position. Their position is to stop Biden. Vote no on everything, just like they did with Obama. Obama let him get away with it. Biden, I don’t think, is going to. I hope he’s not going to. We need to be loud about this, my friends. Our voices must be heard. This is some serious stuff. And Joe Manchin singing there because you’re right next to Joan Baez and you’re singing that song and you’re going to turn around the next day or two after doing that and tell all of our Black leaders that you’re going to vote against their voting protections, you’re going to vote essentially in favor of voter suppression. It’s a lot of gall. And we are not going to settle for it. You better figure out what you’re going to do, Joe, because we the people we have spoken. 

Michael Moore [00:45:23] We have decided who we want running Congress and the White House, and we’re going to have to get the Supreme Court somehow back into the hands of what the majority of Americans want. That’s what I wanted to say, closing out here. You have to deal with us. We have to fight it. It’s serious, folks. The Republicans have every intent on taking over Congress next year at the election in November 2022. So we have to recommit ourselves to making sure that doesn’t happen, and that the things that the majority of Americans want take effect. 

Michael Moore [00:46:04] I hear the music, the music is playing. I think it’s time for now. I have to march out off the football field and go on with my life. I want to thank Paxton Smith for being my guest today. I look forward to what she’s going to do in this world and all of you, all of you graduates, whatever you’re going to do, however, you’re going to do it, you know, be yourselves, follow your heart, follow your conscience. Question everything. See the world. Don’t let society pressure you into giving up your youth so you can make money, so you can pay back those student loans. We’re going to get rid of that. 

Michael Moore [00:46:52] We have to fight for that, to get rid of these damn student loans. But enjoy this time of your life. And be fearless. Be fearless the way Paxton Smith was last week. More of that. More of that from all of us, and we’re going to live in a better country. Thank you. And my two fellow graduates, the executive producer of this episode, Basel Hamdan, and our engineer and editor Nick Kwas. If you guys want to pipe in and tell us what your GPA was. 

Basel Hamdan [00:47:30] Nick’s was a solid 2.2. He wasn’t a show off. And mine was a 3.5. 

Michael Moore [00:47:38] Impressed by both of you. And you’ve gone on to live a life. Neither of you went to Wall Street. Well, thank you, the two of you guys and thank all of you, whatever regardless of what your grade point average was, you will judge yourself in this life by what you do for others. And I’m counting on all of you to do exactly that. Blessings to all of you. I’m Michael Moore, and this is Rumble.