While his critics continue to attack him and accuse him of not supporting our troops even as they themselves have neglected our men and women in uniform, Michael Moore is showing once again that actions do speak louder than words.
Moore, founder of the Traverse City Film Festival that owns the State Theatre downtown, said the theater is implementing a new labor policy requiring all its contractors and vendors to attempt to hire veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moore described it as an "affirmative action" measure to help area veterans find employment opportunities when they return home -- opportunities that Moore said are severely lacking for many servicemen and women.It would be sad enough if, in the wealthiest, most industrialized country in the world, just one American struggled to make ends meet. More shameful is that millions of Americans find themselves in this predicament every day.
His opposition to the war remains as strong as ever. But Moore said he's just as upset about the treatment of the troops fighting the war, ranging from the lack of high-tech equipment to protect the soldiers to their medical treatment and the economic and employment uncertainty they face when returning home.
Far more disconcerting, however, is that many of these people are veterans who have served their country in uniform.
Moore points to statistics to make his case. The federal labor department last month released unemployment rates for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan that showed a 6.1 percent jobless rate for veterans who have served since September 2001. That compares to a national unemployment rate of around 5 percent in April. The jobless rate for veterans ages 18 to 24 was substantially higher, totaling 12 percent compared to 9.5 percent for non-veterans in the same age group.These young men and women have already paid a high price - they put their lives on the line for the sake of freedom. And yet,
"Instead of receiving our veterans with open arms when they come back, they get 'Sorry chump, there's nothing for you,'" said Moore, who's hired military veterans for key editing and production positions for his documentaries, including "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko."The State Theatre is also offering active-duty service personnel free admission to all movies.