Michael Moore is wearing shorts in New York City in mid-December. It’s unseasonally warm here, which is great for those who hate the cold, but not great for those who don’t want to die in a global warming-caused catastrophe. “I feel the same way I would if I woke up at 2 in the morning and the sun was out,” Moore says, laughing. “We should be just as freaked out.”
But Moore is here to talk about something more upbeat. His latest documentary, “Where to Invade Next,” which hits New York City and L.A. on Dec. 23 and nationwide in February, finds him traveling the globe highlighting social services done better in other countries than in America: lavish school lunches in France, extravagant vacation time in Italy, prisons that actually seek to reform inmates in Norway, free women’s health clinics in Tunisia. Thing is, he says, these can all be a reality here, too.
Things have been very, very bad for the world in the last few months, but I feel this film is an optimistic burst of fresh air. It’s like a utopian thought experiment for ways to we could hypothetically fix little parts of America.
Except the difference between utopia and this is this is actually happening in these countries. This is real. It’s not a fantasy. I want someone in charge here to tell me with a straight face they can do [healthy student lunches] in Slovenia but they can’t do it here. Somehow they can afford it but we can’t.
Is there one social service in your film that is closer than the rest to being implemented here?
We’re close to having a woman president. We’re three states from the passing the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment]. Decriminalization [of drugs] — that’s going to happen. The new drug czar was on “60 Minutes” the other night saying the War on Drugs is over. We lost.
Better maternity leave is one that seems close.
That’s going to definitely happen.
There’s always a pushback against these issues, even good ones, and usually from the far right. Why do you think that is?
Because they’re angry, old white guys — guys who like their La-Z Boys, do the same things every day the same way. Change is hard to take. But it’s too late. It’s over. Those days are over. The Republican Party is over. The Republican Party can’t win the White House. We would all have to stay home. Eighty-one percent of those voting next year are either female, people of color or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. That’s 81 percent of the population. They have offended and alienated all three of those groups. Not a single young person thinks they’re cool. I haven’t seen a lot of 19 year olds running around with Ted Cruz T-shirts on. They’re over and they know they’re over. That’s why they push back on these things, because they know it’s their dying days.