I’m A Registered Republican, And I’m Voting For Kerry

Buy me a drink some time, and I’ll tell you the long story about why I’m a registered Republican. But not right now.
My first film was set in November 2001, the period when New Yorkers, when Americans were still coming to terms with what’d happened two months before. When our country had the deep, unwavering sympathy and support of practically the entire civilized world, and when it was possible to imagine that, just maybe, having experienced the terrible shock, loss, and violence of September 11th, our country could become wiser as well as stronger.
We shot it on the WWI battlefields of northern France, where hundreds of thousands of people fought and died in a war almost no one alive today actually experienced. It turned out my original idea–learn somehow from the past how to deal with the present–was incomplete; on the ground, we found out the effects of that supposedly forgotten war still haunted the people who lived there–and visited there, generations later. The past wasn’t just the past after all.
In the intervening two years since I made Souvenir Nov 2001, the decisions and actions of George W. Bush and his administration have not only decimated the world’s saddened-yet-resolute support for the US, they have made a mockery of the very idea of learning from one’s own experiences–and from history. I shot my film, wary of hinting at any scalar similarities between September 11th and World War I, and now Bush’s distastrous mistakes have dragged the world to our own 1916, to the eerily similar edge of an era of senseless, avoidable violence. By rendering internationalism guided by the best American example and principle as quaint as the wrongness of torture, Bush has made this world–and this country, my country, my daughter’s country–less safe and more dangerous than at any point in my lifetime.
I never believed that I would be required to take a stand for some of the most basic beliefs and principles this country was founded on: honesty; free and truthful and open debate; enlightened empiricism and rational thought; personal liberty; the rule of law; self-evident and inalienable human rights; the accountability of our government leaders to the governed; limits on executive power from checks and balances. But after four years, I have come to believe that George W. Bush poses a serious and imminent threat to all these inspired principles. Therefore, my conscience demands that I oppose his re-election.
Don’t mistake my opposition to a dire threat as a somehow equivocating half-support for John Kerry. I admire and respect him for his repeated and unsung–even derided–demonstrations of integrity and principle. He’s at least as competent as any seasoned politician, and he’s orders of magnitude better equipped than Bush for the demands and responsibilities of the presidency. But my support for him can’t be separated from my strong commitment to the ideals I listed above, which would be imperiled by a second Bush term.
I’ll miss the Sforzian backdrops, though, I have to admit I’m awed by them.