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To read more about Episode 226, visit the main episode page.
Please note this transcript uses the Substack version of the episode, available here.
Michael Moore [00:00:14] This is Rumble with Michael Moore, and I am Michael Moore. Tomorrow -or today, depending on when you’re listening to this- is January 6, 2022. It’s the one year anniversary of former President Donald Trump’s attempted coup of the United States of America following Trump’s overwhelming loss to Joe Biden in the presidential election.
Michael Moore [00:00:41] The impeached and disgraced president spent weeks goading his loyal followers into taking matters into their own hands. And they listened as hordes of right wing militants, QAnon disciples. And all kinds of Republicans. Many of whom were active or former military. They showed up to try to stop the counting of the electoral votes. At the United States Capitol. What followed was a grim day of white terror. An explosion of rage built up by years of their president urging them to become violent on his behalf.
Michael Moore [00:01:30] To try and make sense of all of this, a year later, I’ll be joined by my long time friend from Flint. Congressman Dan Kildee. Dan spoke to me on that day, January 6, last year while he was hiding out in the gallery of the United States House of Representatives as the violent mob tried to break through the doors. Dan just feet away, shielding other members of Congress so that nothing would happen to them. Dan will be my guest here and we will talk about what this day means. And what we’re going to do about it.
Michael Moore [00:02:16] I want to thank everybody who responded to my Substack column about 10 days or so ago about my dad on Christmas Day in 1943 in the South Pacific, where he was a marine. Thank you. I can’t believe the response. I read every single one of your comments and every single one of your emails. And I appreciate all the stories you shared about your father’s or grandfather’s in World War Two. It was very, very moving. Thank you. Thank you all of you for that.
Michael Moore [00:02:51] I want to remind all of you that you can sign up on the free email list to get my weekly letter. Just go to Michael Moore.com. That’s it. Michael Moore.com. A box of pop ups will give you options if you want to be a paid member or not, but you don’t have to be because you just marked the box that says free and you get everything that I write and you’ll get every one of these podcasts.
Michael Moore [00:03:13] So it’s time to bring out my long time and dear friend Representative Dan Kildee. He’s our congressional representative for our shared home of Flint, Michigan. And it was on that fateful day, January six last year where he called me trapped inside the house chambers. We were lucky to have him talk to us live. Then we talked again the next day. That was our Rumble of that week, so to speak, ironically. And I thought it’d be a good idea today to follow up with them to see how he’s doing. Reflect on this dark chapter of our country. And to see what comes next, what can we do about this? Let me just start off by saying, first of all, thank you again for coming on. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for representing our hometown of Flint so well. But I’ve been getting a lot of letters, a lot of emails. Any way, people can reach me. And I have to tell you, Dan, I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know. But the number one number one thing that people write to me about because they are so distraught over what is happening in our country. And that A year ago here — we’re recording this just hours before the anniversary of the attack on the United States Capitol. I’m going to just jump right into this. It’s the elephant that’s in the room.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:04:52] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:04:53] It’s it’s what millions and millions of people are feeling. There was a poll this week and they asked people about, “What do you think the possibility is for more violence, more insurgencies?” And two thirds of both Democrats and Republicans said they expect that our politics is going to be determined by violence. And so let’s just let’s just put it right out on the table right off the get go here. Yeah, the fear, the belief that we are heading towards some form of a civil war and and that in our case, the other side is the well-armed side and has shown that they will participate in in brutal violence and in the case of the Capitol Hill Police, some 140+ Police injured by the side that has always called themselves “law and order.”.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:06:02] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:06:02] And yet they were out to kill, to maim, and in the case of their own Republican vice president, hang! Lynch! Him!?! On the Capitol grounds! It’s… None of this has left our brains. And we are in this state of utter fear and terror, and I try my best to say, “No, no, no, it’s not going to happen.” Look, you know, there’s more of us and there are of them, they’ll realize that this is this is all going to be OK. And here we are a year later. To the president who they believe is not the president, they believe still– there’s still the big lie that he lost. Dan, what are we going to do? What are we going to do about this, because now I’m — I just have to acknowledge, I think it’s a legitimate fear that people have and it’s it’s widespread Dan, it’s widespread.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:07:02] [Simultaneously] It Is.
Michael Moore [00:07:03] So here you are, a person who would have been the first to die right on that day a year ago, because you were trapped in there with– I don’t know what there were there in the in the gallery, a dozen of you, maybe a few more–.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:07:21] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:07:22] — Trapped. And they’re trying to get in the door and they’re banging and banging.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:07:24] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:07:26] And we’re going to look back and see that, actually this wasn’t the worst. This was just just the beginning. This was just for them, for the for the QAnon’s and everybody, this was their Lexington in the Senate Chambers, Concord in the House.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:07:45] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:07:46] And you know, luckily in Concord, where they were, they were the first. But there weren’t that many people that died. That what’s going to happen this year, this election, next year, 2024? Dan, we were just talking about John Lennon before going on that song of his. All I want is some truth. Yeah. Gimme some truth, Dan. Give us some truth. The real, the thing that we don’t want to say out loud.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:08:17] So the truth is that what happened on January 6 was not just something that happened on January 6th. It’s– You know, this was not an isolated incident, I know that because of the messages I get, the threats I get, the fact that what January 6th opened. Was a period of violence, of the threat of violence in order to achieve power? And the sad reality is that there is one party, one political party in this country that is playing with fire. And that’s I think the challenge to us all is to not accept this bullshit of equivalency, and I just saw, unfortunately, I saw one of my colleagues — that I’ve given some credit to a guy named Peter Meyer, a Republican.
Michael Moore [00:09:23] Oh yeah. Grand Rapids.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:09:24] And you know, he voted for the impeachment, and he did, you know, he did the right thing a few times. But I saw an interview with him just a couple of days ago where he’s trying to now create this false equivalency that there are extreme voices on both sides of the political spectrum. And we all need to kind of find our way back. And that is just such a disservice to truth, because the truth is there is an element in our society that is embracing violence as a political tool. We’ve seen this happen in societies over history and currently all across the planet. We are not exempt from that reality and we have to acknowledge that in order to deal with it. And I think the big the biggest I think message right now is for people to hear that this can just kind of all fall apart and violence will occur again if somehow we don’t see it for what it is and that is, you know, a real threat to everything we believe in. One of the things that has been hardest for me to deal with. In the wake of January 6, Is that I thought that moment would would break the fever. I mean, how naive could I have been? I thought that that moment would be enough to break the fever and that a majority of right thinking maybe misguided, but you know, patriotic Republicans would say, all right, enough is enough. And for about 24 hours, that’s, you know, less than 24 hours, for a few hours, that was the case. And now they are in full embrace again. Playing with fire, believing somehow if they coddle. These people with violent tendencies. It’s part of the building blocks of their Political coalition that they’re trying to build to win elections.
Michael Moore [00:11:58] And to hold on to the power, that they can’t — if it’s a real democracy and all the votes are counted– They won’t hold that power because now we’ve seen, but the people have spoken across the country that more people vote for Democrats than Republicans. That’s just the fact
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:12:15] The fact that we we meaning those of us sort of in the from the center to the far left believe, many of us believe, that we have we have a system, a political system that’s self-correcting and that it and that we are somehow exempt from the violent tendencies that occur when it comes to a struggle for power, that somehow the United States is exempt from that we’ve it’s been proven not to be true. We for the first time in our 240-some year history, can no longer say that we are the example of the peaceful transfer of power. Because we didn’t have the peaceful transfer of power. We did have a transfer of power from from Trump to Biden. We can no longer say that we we have this amazing principle, this incredible history of respecting the will of the people and allowing for the peaceful transfer of power to occur in full view. What occurred in full view this time was a violent attempt to stop that transfer of authority. And if Kevin McCarthy and the Republican majority, a majority of Republicans anyway, would have had their way, it never would have occurred.
Michael Moore [00:13:47] That’s right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:13:51] And so what that means is that they will become more sophisticated, they will become more adept at achieving their mission, they’ll use the threat of political violence. But they’ll also use other tools, and we’re seeing that happen right now. The threat of political violence by itself can be put down by a strong army. But the threat of political violence, violence combined with shrewd use of fear, of racism — which is what they’re doing right now to manipulate state policies, state law. It sets them up. They’re getting better at what they’re doing, sets them up to take power where… It’s not it’s not legitimate acquisition of authority, because there are more of us than there are of them. But they know that. WE know that. And they’re doing everything they can to prevent the collective will of the American people to be manifest in our government, they’re doing everything they can to prevent it.
Michael Moore [00:15:02] So when you’re referring to some of the things they’re doing– well, one of the big things they’ve done so far is in how many state legislatures that they passed new voting laws to do whatever they can to help restrict, suppress, distract people who are among the poorest of the poor in our society. People of color, young people, you know, the groups that do not vote for Republicans generally. And so the way that they’ve figured out the way that we’re going to hold power is to stop these groups from having their say at the ballot box in any way possible that we can get away with it. I mean, it’s frightening how far they’ve gotten in just these 12 months.
Michael Moore [00:15:55] Yeah. And that’s the part of the frustration that I think a lot of us feel is that, while on one hand we’re doing everything we can to expose the truth of Jan. 6, which is important and we have to do, we have we’re obligated to do that. But at the same time, simultaneously, more subtly, they are implementing their strategy of reinstating Jim Crow all across the country, finding ways to create hurdles and hoops for people to jump through in order to exercise their right to self-determination through the ballot box seems far less violent than an attack on the Capitol. But the effect of it is just as profound. And you know, we were talking earlier privately about Harry Chapin, I remember Harry, who’s a friend of yours, used to say all the time that our political system is a participatory democracy. And if you’re not participating, it’s not a democracy — a paraphrase of what he used to say. But that’s kind of where we are right now. People that really need to get activated. They need to understand what’s happening.
Michael Moore [00:17:20] When I’m being interviewed, especially in another country, and they’ll describe me as an American activist and I will stop them and I’ll say, “You’re being redundant, by calling me an American activist because we’re a democracy and we cannot exist as a democracy unless all the people are active. If we’re not activists, if we’re not active in our democracy, if we sit on the bench, if we don’t participate, then it’s over. You can’t call it a democracy anymore.” But Dan, I just I want. Do you feel can you say, can you say what you know, you shouldn’t say? Like, I don’t want to say it because I want people to leave this discussion with hope and not going to bed in fear. But how do we speak the truth? Even though knowing we don’t want people to feel hopeless, but in fact, that we have something knocking at the door. And there are millions of them, and they are knocking at the door, and they want a takeover. They tried to pull this off a year ago, kind of ham fisted. I mean, Trump’s the leader of it. So, you know, and his lieutenants are Rudy Giuliani and and Don and Eric and all that.
Michael Moore [00:18:49] So, you know, it’s it’s probably not going to work that way. But nonetheless, the mask got pulled off the face of of the opposition here and and they are willing to use violence. They are willing to kill if necessary. Aren’t we facing something here that we don’t want to even think about that, that this sort of a 21st century style civil war? The first guns have been fired a year ago and they have spent this year not retreating. But as you say, just about everyone running who’s a Republican either in Congress or in their state legislatures, either as an incumbent or the new people coming up, they want to identify with Trump and QAnon and the whole deal. And if that’s the case, they’re saying, as a couple of members of Congress said this week, maybe what we need is a divorce in this country. One woman member of Congress said, “We need to cut away. We need to secede. We need the…” This is this seems like it’s coming down and. And are we doing a disservice to people on the other side of the fence, to Democrats and liberals, and progressives and people that care about what’s going on, by not just calling this what it is?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:20:26] Yeah, and I think the the the struggle and the big concern that I have is that the threat of violence is no longer theoretical, right?
Michael Moore [00:20:38] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:20:39] We know that. I mean, we’ve always talked about it in the abstract, and even when many of us have been threatened. You know, I get threats all the time. Increased dramatically since January 6, but we’ve had them over time. They’re no longer an abstraction. It’s no longer theory. It’s it’s it’s a fact. I experienced it. I lived through it. My life was saved by some of those Capitol Police officers. You know, it’s a that’s a complicated situation, because of the history of policing in this country, but they saved my life and I’ll never, ever, ever forget that. But I think the other aspect of this is that the threat of violence is as effective as the violent act itself in some ways. And I worry that a lot of people are no longer participating. People are choosing not to participate. Because they see the possibility of being at risk and they say, you know what, I’m checking out of this, I’m just not going to be become a part of it.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:21:58] But the other worry that I have is this, this is what this is why the work that Congress is doing right now is so important to daylight thi,s to tell the story of what happened on January 6 in really stark terms because there is an effort to create this sort of equivalency of extreme voices. And there’s — it’s a complete fallacy. It’s ridiculous. But this is their method right now. Watch for it. This is what we’re going to hear in the 2022 election is some effort to create equivalency that “Yeah, there are extreme voices on both sides,” and to try to minimize any concern that people have about a Republican takeover. Because a Republican takeover is what they’re really aiming for, and they’ll use every tool they can to achieve it. But it starts first with them trying to whitewash Jan. 6, as if they’re seen as being responsible for it –which clearly they are– but if they’re seen as being responsible for it, I think most Americans will take the position that we cannot let this go on.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:23:17] But if they win the argument that what happened on January 6 was just the Republican version, and there’s a Democratic version that occurs as well, and it’s sort of this false equivalency… I really worry that they’ll achieve their goal, not through violence, but through sort of reframing the violence that has occurred. Basically convincing people that their voice and their vote is not consequential using the tools they have to try to minimize those people who actually try to get through the hoops that are put before them. And they want to win a majority. Illegitimately, but win a majority, and they’re going to do it if we can’t figure out a way to shock people to the reality that they better get involved, and they better not let this false narrative somehow stick. I’m really worried about it,
Michael Moore [00:24:24] But that’s how history — I mean, this is exactly what happens, and then it’s too late and people go, “Why? Why didn’t I stand up and say something before? Why didn’t I do something? Why didn’t I…?” Because, it just seemed unbelievable that that this could happen.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:24:39] I never I never in a million years… I remember talking to you on that day.
Michael Moore [00:24:46] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:24:47] Not in a million years would I have imagined the possibility of of of a violent attack by Americans on the United States Capitol. But this is only an example of what they’re willing to do. They’re also willing to use other methods to try to undermine our democratic system methods that, they do violence to our constitution. They do violence to the things we believe in. But it doesn’t take on the same sort of character as the violent attack on all of us, so I agree that the potential and political violence is real, but we can’t let that realization obfuscate the fact that they’re doing violence every single day, right in state legislatures to the legacy of John Lewis and Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King. They’re doing damage. They’re doing violence to that every single day.
Michael Moore [00:25:55] So what do we do to stand up to this? What do we do to stop it? Because we the people I’m talking about, we the majority of this country that elected this president, that throughout every state. You know, when you put it all together, there are more people that, as I said, vote for Democrats. But what do we do than other short of going to the gun range, short of going to Walmart and buying a couple of rifles and going to the gun range to learn how to shoot them? I don’t think that’s where people want to be. And I think, you know, we are –the greater we of liberal, left, you know, progressive America– are peaceful people, and they have no desire to have this turned to this kind of violence. But enough people Dan, you know, are really are very concerned about this. So what what advice do you have, what guidance here do you have for us because this is coming down the pike? And it’s coming down very fast andit’ll be over before we know it, and we’re going to go, “What happened to our country?”
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:27:15] Right. Well, there are two things we can do. One is more difficult than the other. And one is to somehow persuade the United States Senate to take up H.R. 1, H.R. 4, and pick up–
Michael Moore [00:27:29] These are the voting rights bills.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:27:30] Voting rights legislation. Take a big step toward securing the the the precious right to vote #1, but also what what we would do with H.R. 1 is attack the insane impact that wealth and money have on our political system. That’s going to mean getting Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema to get off this notion that the filibuster is some institutional tool that needs to be protected. It’s the remnant of Jim Crow. I don’t think we’re going to succeed in that. So it leaves us the other thing and that is to overwhelm this distorted political system with participation. To overwhelm even a distorted, unfair system that they’re continuing to try to distort– overwhelm that with numbers that are so incredible, that are so powerful, that not even the Republican agenda of distorting the body politic, distorting the interest of the American people can succeed. And that’s the only thing I think we have left Mike. I don’t, unless somehow somebody can show me how we’re going to get the U.S. Senate to take up these tools that guarantee the right [to vote], the only way to succeed is to overwhelm the system with more people than they can cheat.
Michael Moore [00:29:19] And what does that look like? How does this participation, in what form does it take? And what can people who are listening to us right now do as soon as they’re done listening to us? What can what you know, realizing participation is perhaps our only shield against the downfall of our democracy. What does that participation look like? How do we do it? How do people listening in this do it?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:29:44] I mean, there are good, well-organized, progressive organizations all over the country that are working to organize people to mobilize, and of course, people can do it on their own. But there are also existing organizations, or environmental organizations, or civil rights organizations, or progressive organizations in Michigan, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Georgia. Connect those to those organizations. I’m sure these are people you’re familiar with Mike — get people to believe that their voices and their energy actually can make a difference, right?. I mean, look what happened in Georgia! I mean, nobody ever would have believed we had a shot at winning, correct?
Michael Moore [00:30:34] Absolutely.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:30:35] Nobody ever would believe– it was because we organized. I say we, [but] people organize themselves.
Michael Moore [00:30:42] Yeah.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:30:43] And we did something that was unbelievable, but made all the difference in the world. Think about where we would be had we not won those two seats. You know, if Jon Ossoff and Senator Warner hadn’t won. I don’t know where the hell we’d be right now. I have no idea. We wouldn’t have been able to do some of the things we’ve done, and we’d have no shot at any of this without them. That’s an example. If we can do that, Georgia, we can sure do it in Ohio. We can sure do it in Michigan. We can sure do it in Pennsylvania. You know, we can do it anywhere. If, if, if we can get ourselves to believe again. That our voices, our energy, our effort actually can make a difference and too many people, for good reason, have been beaten down to the belief that their voice doesn’t matter. I think people need to understand that that’s not happening accidentally. That is the plan, that’s the Republican plan. That’s the plan. Tell you that your voice is meaningless–
Michael Moore [00:31:53] That if you buy that, then you’ve been had.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:31:56] Yeah. And then I mean, we have to get– we have to find ourselves in the moment where we have a majority. And then act on it. And this is where I think the Democratic Party needs to grow up and like, think about it right now, who do we think the Republicans, if they had a 50 vote margin in the Senate with the Vice President, and a three or six vote margin in the House of Representatives? Would they be intimidated out of achieving their agenda? Hell, no. We’ve seen it. Why? I mean, so what we’ve seen is that it’s not enough to have 50 when two of them are not willing to be Democrats. So let’s get two more, let’s win that district or win that Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Let’s elect Tim Ryan in Ohio, and let’s get this stuff done. Let’s pass the Voting Rights Act, let’s pass H.R. 1. Let’s pass the Build Back Better agenda in its original form. You know, let’s– we could have done all of that with just those few seats, and so let’s focus on being practical and take action that will actually deliver for us. And the only way we do that, we’ve seen this over and over again is we have to overcome the Republican effort. With numbers that are too big to rig. Too big to cheat.
Michael Moore [00:33:30] Well, as you know, I’ve been a believer in this for a long time that it doesn’t take much if people get off the sofa, and get active and get involved. I will say you mentioned, of course, yes, there are some great groups that people can get involved in around the country. I will post links to a few of those groups here on the on my podcast, my platform page here, so that people listening can go and find out where the nearest Indivisible is, or whatever is in their area or any of the other grassroots groups. All the stuff that Stacey Abrams got going in Georgia and has done that across the country. There’s — you’re right, if we will present ourselves, if we will participate in this, I think this may be the only chance, and I just hope that people understand that when we’re talking about participation, this is not just some cliche or just some, you know, cute word that we’re using here of of what to do. We are our backs are against the wall. I’m sure I know a lot of you feel this, so you know it’s. I don’t know, Dan. I’m trying, I don’t like I’ve said many times on this podcast, I don’t believe in Hopium. I don’t want to give people false hope. Phony hope. Just happy, happy, happy. No. We’re all very aware of what’s going on. At the other hand, I know there are people who say “No way I can’t take this anymore. I can’t take this anymore.” And that’s the worst thing that can happen. And if I’ve participated in helping you sink to that level, then I’m done. Then we’ve really shot ourselves in the foot here.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:35:16] What we need to do is just have people look at Georgia and just realize, yeah, it can happen. We don’t really have an alternative. I mean, there’s that, there’s no trick, there’s no shortcut, there’s no magic dust that we can sprinkle. It’s just going to take people. Harry Chapin was right. You got to participate. You’re going to participate one way or another. You’re either going to participate in taking our country right in the direction that it needs to go. Or are you going to participate in its downfall as a victim of it? And we can’t, you know, we can’t exempt ourselves from the the effect of all of this. We might as well roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Michael Moore [00:36:05] Democracy is not a spectator sport.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:36:10] Thats what he [Chapin] said, yeah.
Michael Moore [00:36:11] Yes, that this is a participatory event. And in this case, everybody has to be off the bench. And on the floor, everybody in the pool,
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:36:23] Everybody in the pool.
Michael Moore [00:36:25] We’re going to lose our democracy. It’s I just — I want to say something here to you. You brought something up here before we close that a year ago here, January 6, last year, we were on the phone.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:36:44] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:36:45] There while you were trapped in the gallery, there are the house chambers and and they were trying to get through that door and we were talking and we had a number of phone calls and back and forth during these hours. And at one point you called me. And because I was watching this on TV and you guys didn’t have a TV set in there and you said, “Is the National Guard outside the the Capitol building, here are– Have they arrived? Right?” And I said to you, “Dan, there’s no National Guard here. There’s no one outside the Capitol other than the people trying to break in,” and you could not believe it. This had already been going on for a couple of hours, right? And it would be another hour or so before the first troops got there. And I just started personally, I started shaking, and we were talking and I could hear the banging. They were trying to get into the floor of the House, banging through those doors, and and all of a sudden over the phone — I’m listening to this live because I’m talking to you — a gunshot goes off. And that was the police officer, right, trying to protect all of you because somebody was crawling through the window of the door.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:38:14] Right.
Michael Moore [00:38:15] And I listened to that live and you are — I can now hear, I don’t know who was it, one of the people there, said, “We need to get our gas masks on.”.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:38:28] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:38:28] And then somebody said, “Everybody take your congressional pin off,” because all members of Congress wear that pin that signifies to any police officer or anybody, oh, that’s a member of Congress. And all of you had to take your pins off because if they saw you with that pin, it could cost you your life, right? And the fact that any group of thugs armed could make the people we’ve elected to Congress take their pin off. “The thing that says we are the people’s representative, I must hide that now.” I was listening to this whole thing going on, and you and a couple of others — I think Congressman Crow– you are putting your bodies over other people up there, other members and staff to protect them because you were seconds away from them getting through the upper doors where you guys were, and coming through there. And you and I have talked a lot this year about the, you know, a group of you, you’ve been able to form your own group, you have all spoken to a therapist, and the PTSD that you all share. But I’ve never said this to you– The PTSD I’ve had for this last year, and not because it was on the news, not because of some global reason, but because you, my good friend since we were teenagers in Flint, Michigan, that it felt like you were seconds, minutes away from your death.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:40:10] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:40:10] And I could do nothing about it. And you were asking me– me! I’m just at home with a cell phone. “Do I see any National Guard on their way to the Capitol?” You’re a member of Congress, and you’re having to try and get this information from me, and I’m like, I’m… I was trying not to lose it. I didn’t want — I wanted you to, you know, stay strong, and you were . Maybe in some ways more calm about this than I was. And then only later when you realized just how close you were, possibly, to your own death. But I have dealt — I’ve had to think about this, this whole year.
Michael Moore [00:40:50] And I wanted to talk to you here on this on this day and this moment of this anniversary to to say to you, first of all, I’m glad you’re alive. Your loss to me would be profound. And to the people of Flint and the whole Flint area, that part of Michigan, that you represent. We’ve suffered enough there in that part of Michigan, and to have our member that we elected, to have this happen to you, Dan. I mean, I just — it really it rattled me in in a in a in a big way, and it certainly didn’t help that I listen to it live. Get over your phone while you were there live, and you can hear the “BANG BANG BANG” trying to get in. And the gun goes off it.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:41:48] I think back on that a lot. And I do remember our conversation because I remember being confused about why the National Guard wasn’t there. You know, and for the first time, I remember being fearful that, you know, my life was at stake. I mean, I was at risk and realizing where I was, I thought this, didn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to me, you know, to be honest with you. But this painful… You know, it’s just painful to think about how close we actually came. And the thing that, you know, there were a couple of moments that I had after the attack. I actually went back and looked at your– you made you made some some comments on Facebook. I think it was while we were, while you were watching it. I remember just seeing the terror on your face and realizing I was really in trouble, you know, because when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to completely understand what’s going on. But especially in the day or two afterward, watching how violent these people were, realizing if they’d had gotten through, we’d have been dead. We’dve been dead.
Michael Moore [00:43:14] And so you will you realize now that the job you hold this job of serving people of the Flint and mid-Michigan area there, you realize that you have to do so now– actually, your life is on the line.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:43:35] Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:43:37] I mean, that — I haven’t asked you this because it’s just such an awful thing to think about, but but you know, are you willing– would you be willing to do that for this country, for you, for the people that you serve, if it came to that? Because I personally think every day you walk in there, you have no idea what’s going to happen, you know?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:44:00] No idea at all. You know, I have these conversations with my, with my wife, with my kids, with my mom. My mom’s 87.
Michael Moore [00:44:07] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:44:08] And what I worry about is not so much me, because, I’m here already. You know, I’m in it. But part of what they’re trying to achieve is to prevent people like us from being willing to do this stuff, to do this work. You’re trying to scare us away from it. And, you know, so far, they haven’t done that to me. I don’t know. I don’t know why, but, it’s too important. You know, this just is too important. But there could come a time where they succeed. Through violence, through the threat of violence, and I think it’s happening right now, there are people who are deciding not to enter into the public sphere to to do the work that we’re talking about here in any role because they don’t want to be subjected to this poison. And that’s. That’s terrible. That’s frightening.
Michael Moore [00:45:26] What do your kids say? Do your kids want you to quit?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:45:30] I think they’d be happy if I did. I mean, they know me well enough not to ask that of me. But like my oldest son– Ryan, who you remember when he was a little boy?
Michael Moore [00:45:42] Yeah.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:45:43] You know, he’s 42 years old and he had to explain to my granddaughter, his daughter, that I survived. That was a lot for me to take in, a lot for him to take.
Michael Moore [00:46:00] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:46:00] He had to explain to her that I was OK, that I lived, you know, basically. I mean, this is the United States of America. This isn’t supposed to happen here, right? That’s not supposed to happen here. And we are not exempt from these tendencies, and that’s where — that’s why that’s where I can’t tolerate, I can’t look at these Republican members of Congress, not the ones who are the complete nut cases. I’m not talking about Marjorie Taylor Greene or Paul Gosar, they’re insane.
Michael Moore [00:46:47] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:46:48] What I’m talking about are the people who are quiet, and who are willing to let me and my family live in fear because it helps them in the November election. They believe if they coddle this insane 20 or 30 percent of the people who believe all this fantasy, and don’t tell them the truth, that it’s part of the building block they need to get to 50 percent plus one. And the price that they’re willing to pay is a price that I pay, and that you pay, and that my family pays, and that people who depend on us to speak for them pay. It’s just the most cynical use of political power that I’ve seen in this country, but it’s it’s what we see in other places. It’s what we I mean, I’m involved in democracy movements in other parts of the world. I’m involved in this democracy movement in Sudan. And I no longer have the moral authority to speak to my friends in Sudan about the principles of democracy because I can’t say that they’re being, they’re being adhered to in my own country.
Michael Moore [00:48:20] Right.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:48:21] There’s only one way. Michael, there always only ever been one way to fix this. It’s with the overwhelming power of people. Over money, over politics, the overwhelming power of people who won’t be taken for granted. You appoint themselves into a position of their own leadership and act on that and get their feet moving. That’s the only way we’ve ever done it.
Michael Moore [00:49:01] Yes. Yes, and yes. That’s exactly right. And if I can speak for the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands who might be listening to us right now: Dan, you have to do what you have to do for your life and your family and all of that. But– We won’t quit if you won’t quit.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:49:27] Yeah, oh I’m not [quitting].
Michael Moore [00:49:30] Because you’re not going to be standing there alone. We have your back. Not just yours, but everybody else who’s fighting and struggling to do the right thing, to get these things done that we need done in this country, and we are simply are not going to just lay down and take it. That’s not going to happen.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:49:50] Yeah,.
Michael Moore [00:49:50] And I know that we live in this now very violent time, and we have many examples in history, of very brave people who chose nonviolence as a way to succeed, that it has more power actually than violence. Violence is the method that the coward uses, when the coward knows that the majority of the people are no longer with him. And so he’s got to go off half-cocked and half crazy. But the truth is that is not the majority of this country. They don’t believe in that. As I said here last month, when they had this, we had this awful school shooting there, just outside your district in Oxford, Michigan. Seventy eight percent of Americans do not own a gun. We are not a nation of gun nuts.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:50:55] Right.
Michael Moore [00:50:57] I mean — we look like it because we we can’t get basic legislation passed, and we can’t even get ourselves to start to think our way out of a box of, you know, a country that we love but was born in genocide and built on the backs of slaves. But nonetheless, the majority of us, 78% of the country, does not want a gun in the house. And I’m not the hunters. And you’re listening. Have your guns. Nobody wants your guns. Always taking your guns from you. But it just… I guess, you know, look, you’ve made the point. Participation. An overwhelming participation, a smothering of citizen action.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:51:46] It’s the only thing that’ll work at this point in time, it’s the only thing that’s ever worked. I shouldn’t say at this point, it’s the only thing that’s ever worked. You know, still, I’ll never forget the night that we defeated Trump. My daughter turned on some music and was dancing. You just said the phrase, Twisted Sister, singing, “We’re not going to take it anymore.” And I have this joy that every time that video pops up on my phone, I see my then twenty eight year old daughter dancing with joy. We defeated this guy. We’ve got to get that joy back.
Michael Moore [00:52:30] Yeah, that should be our theme song Dan.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:52:33] We’re not gonna take it!
Michael Moore [00:52:35] We’re not gonna take it anymore. Oh, hey, listen, we got to go. Michigan, we passed a constitutional amendment some almost four years ago now to stop gerrymandering, to make it illegal and to try to do it the right way and not let a certain party, you know, try to legally steal elections. So I noticed this week — and I didn’t see what your district… how did it turn out when they drew the map? It was it was a nonpartisan commission that drew the map. And how are you and your district?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:53:22] You know, it’s going to be a tougher race. My district got two points worse, which for me was about the best case scenario because I had to gain 100000 people because we lost the seat. But that means my–
Michael Moore [00:53:39] In Michigan yeah. Michigan lost a seat.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:53:41] Yeah. So that means my district goes from being barely democratic to being maybe slightly — like one percent Republican. But these are people –this is only in the Trump era that it would perform that way. We’ve got to get back to, you know, people who live in cities and rural America, who have a lot in common, who have an economic system that is tilted against them, to understand that they have so much more in common, that the child tax credit, that access to universal health care– it helps people who live in big cities, small towns and rural farms [all] the same way. And if I can somehow persuade people of that, then you know what? We’re going to have a government that looks like a reflection of the American people. If some of those people in rural America can be persuaded of the Republican agenda, that the problem isn’t wealthy people hoarding wealth but other poor people, we’re not going to win. The problem for poor people are not other poor people. But the Republican message is that the problem for people who are struggling are other people who are struggling. The problem is that we have this the greatest concentration of wealth in the United States of America than we’ve had since the Gilded Age at the beginning of the 20th century. And that’s because the rules of the economic game are set for those people to a win, no matter what happens. And we tried to do something. It wasn’t, you know, as transformative as I would have liked. But the agenda that we put forward, the Joe Biden of all people actually has been advancing, is an agenda to try to chip away at that disequilibrium, that unfairness in our economic system. If we can’t somehow succeed in persuading people who are struggling that their problem is not the other people who are also struggling. Then know we won’t succeed if we can make that clear, and also point to the fact that we can fix this problem, then we have a shot.
Michael Moore [00:56:07] Is Flint still in your district?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:56:09] Yeah, Flint is the center, it’s the heartbeat. Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, and now Midland.
Michael Moore [00:56:14] Oh, Midland!
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:56:15] Yeah, home of Dow Chemical.
Michael Moore [00:56:17] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, OK, well, but that’s good, though I think I think you got you have chemical workers and you know,
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:56:25] It’s the workers that I think of. Yeah.
Michael Moore [00:56:27] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no, no, no. And did any of your district end up in the Oakland County or go here or any of that?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:56:33] No.
Michael Moore [00:56:34] So just go up I-75, those of you who aren’t from Michigan, it’s the I-75 corridor from Flint to Saginaw to Bay City. And then you hang on, hang a left on US-10 and you end up in Midland. Hows that?
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:56:49] [laughing] That’s right.
Michael Moore [00:56:49] All right. Well, you’ve got to stay in Congress, man. We can’t. We can’t lose you. And I really appreciate you taking this time here. So we all know the job that we have to do here. And thank you. Dan Kildee, congressman from Flint, Michigan. Lifelong friend, thank you, thank you for putting your life on the line. Thank you for continuing to do so. I do actually have a lot of very positive hope if people will be participants in their democracy and I think that’s going to happen. Nobody wants to bring back what we just lived through. Between 2016 and 2020. So I’m going to give the final word to you, then. What’s the final thing you’d like to say to people here on this, on this sad anniversary, if you can call it the anniversary.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:57:48] Well, first of all, thanks for doing this and you know, we survived January 6. But January 6 isn’t over yet. It’s still January 6th, because so long as these people believe they can use violence, the threat of violence or other more subtle, violent acts against our Constitution and the things we believe in, we’re still at risk. And. There’s only one way to fix it. Overwhleming. [The] Overwhelming power of the people.
Michael Moore [00:58:26] That’s right. No, those are not just words, my friends. It’s our call to action. Call to our nonviolent action, we don’t need to use violence. We are the majority. This is our country. But we do have to act. Thank you, Congressman Dan Kildee, from Flint, Michigan. And thank you to all of you who’ve been listening to this. Now let’s let’s get it together and get out there and do something.
Michael Moore [00:59:01] I’m Michael Moore. My thanks to everybody who’s worked on this today, our executive producer, Basel Hamdan, our editor and sound engineer Nick Kwas, and our jack of all trades and proponent of the Julian calendar — Still, to this day– Donald Borenstein. So thank you. Thank you, Donald, thank you, Dan.
Rep. Dan Kildee [00:59:26] Thank you.
Michael Moore [00:59:27] Thanks, everybody who’s listening. And we know what we have to do. Bless you all.