The Center of Pan-African Culture (CPAC), at Kent State University's campus, hosted the "We The People Fest," from Sept. 26th - 28th. This was the inaugural edition of a political film festival at Kent State University. Kent State has been known as a political hotbed due to the anti-war protests that led to a day of infamy, when the National Guard killed 4 unarmed student protesters on May 4th, 1970. Since that time a lot has changed on Kent's campus. The ROTC presence is stronger than ever, as evidenced by the prominence of their headquarters in the former graduate dormitory known as Terrace Hall on Kent's main campus.
"And The Winner Is . . . "
The "We The People Fest" was organized and produced by Christina Grozik & Paul Shaia, who also produced the film "And The Winner Is . . ," which was screened on the first day of the festival. The inauguration of the festival has been successful on a number of levels, although attendance has not been nearly as high as the organizers would have liked. Over 1,000 people attended over three days.
The non-partisan festival, featured a number of films focused on Ohio and the elections of 2000, 2004 and 2006. The films ran the gamut from family oriented productions like "Swing Vote" to the ominous "Hacking Democracy." For the most part the films focused on the theft of the last 2 presidential elections from Al Gore and John Kerry, respectively.
Films such as, "American Blackout," "Swing State," "And the Winner Is . . . ," "No Umbrella - Election Day in the City," "SPLIT: A Divided America," "How Ohio Pulled It Off," "So Goes The Nation" and "Hacking Democracy", all speak of the importance of Ohio in the election of any presidential candidate. With the general election just around the corner and the possibility of Barack Obama winning the election growing by the minute, these films really came into focus.
The biggest draw of the weekend attracted about 500 people for a presentation and book signing by Chuck Norris on the last day of the festival. Mr. Norris, an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master in the Tae Kwon Do system, star of 23 action films and 203 episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger," was seen in an unusual light, as a political animal.
Before his endorsement of Mike Huckabee, last year, Chuck Norris was not known for his politics. The publication of his latest book, "'Blackbelt Patriotism," may help to bring his political views into better focus for the public at large. A lot of what he says in the book focuses on his life experiences and concern for the future of America. At 68 years old his hope is that the youth of America will come together and fight for reform of the government.
In light of his concern for the youth of America his book is dedicated to "the millenials," a term he uses for people born during the dawning of this new millenium. He also works directly with the youth in public schools and has developed a martial arts program especially for "at-risk" youth. Currently, his "Kick Start" martial arts program is operating in 43 schools with 7,000 children.
Since his first choice for president Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race Chuck has thrown the full weight of his support behind John McCain. In fact, Chuck was the only representative of the Republican Party brave enough to show up for the festival, although invitations were sent out to Republican and Democratic organizations alike.
Maybe the Republicans dared not show their faces, because of the nature of the films being screened this weekend! It seems that the Republicans, like their leader John McCain, prefer to do their dirty work under cover of darkness. We saw a good example of this in the 2nd presidential debate where John McCain refrained from assailing Barack Obama to his face, while his surrogates continue to do so from the stump. Maybe it takes a former Air Force policeman "with 5 more testicles than Lance Armstrong" to stand up and be counted as a member of the Republican Party; following the exposure of the scandalous tactics employed by Republican operatives to deliver Ohio and the White House to Bush in 2000 and 2004.
But, not even a 7 testicled Chuck Norris had the cajones to engage in a full on tirade like the one that appeared in his weekly commentary posted on "World Net Daily," a right wing conservative eZine, during his appearance at Kent State. The following statement appeared in an article he wrote entitled "Puff, the Mighty Obama."
"America, we are being duped again by fluff and folly, glitz and glamour, and hype and Hollywood. It's time for us to wake up before it's too late! Now, more than ever, is the time to join the NObama-nation revolution. No way. No how NObama."
Now mind you this is the pot calling the kettle black, since the Chuck Norris ad for Mike Huckabee is the second most popular candidate endorsement on YouTube with 2.3 million views. Mr. Norris is the epitomy of Hollywood and hype, so I don't see how he has room to talk in that department. The furthest he was willing to go was to say that Obama and Biden wanted to give 50 billion dollars to the UN in order to achieve the Millenium Development Goals of the UN, which President Clinton signed on to back in 2000. His argument was that much of the money would be wasted on bureaucrats and never reach its intended target. What he overlooked was the fact that his candidate of choice was busy lobbying for a corporate bailout of Wall Street, to the tune of 700 billion dollars as he spoke; then his candidate went a step further in the "socialization" of America by promising to order the Secretary of the Treasury to buy up the mortgages of homeowners on the verge of default, to the tune of 300 billion dollars at face value, if he is elected president.
By the way the Millenium Development Goals which include:
were touted by President Clinton as essential to fighting the war on terror, because when you add up the cumulative effect of these issues on the body politic of 3rd World countries, they definitely act as contributing factors in military conflict areas around the world. One of the mistakes of the Bush administration over the last 8 years has been their inability to maintainold alliances and formulate new ones. Consequently, American troops are now stretched across the globe with razor thin margins of error. The Iraq war has cost 100 billion dollars/month with no end in sight. Fifty billion dollars/year to be used to meet the above goals on a world-wide basis is a mere pittance, and in fact is just a matter of the US paying its fair share.
While we're already getting reports that a bailout of AIG, the nation's largest insurer, to the tune of 85 billion dollars, has resulted in the continuation of perks being given to their employees, in the form of lavish trip packages that included massages, pedicures and manicures to the tune of $450K which are now being subsidized by our tax dollars. Is there any shame in their game? Here they come again, just 2 weeks later asking for another 30 billion dollars. Where's the justice? Where's the logic in this?
Apparently, it's okay if Americans waste our tax dollars on bureaucratic perks, but it's not okay if similar practices occur in the distribution of aid to foreign countries. I found the same kind of logic behind much of what Norris had to say about Obama. Chuck may be a star of the T.V. and silver screens, however, this guy is no oracle and his mouth certainly ain't no prayerbook.
Like Senator McCain, he too is in his second marriage and the father of an illegitimate child born of an adulterous relationship. Maybe this is a big factor in his support of Senator McCain. Certainly, they have a lot in common. They are both veterans. They both married women young enough to be their daughters. In fact, in Chuck's case 3 of his 5 children are older than his present wife. And, McCain's only 4 years older than Norris. However, the main common denominator seems to be that they're a couple of old white guys, because his first choice was not McCain; but Huckabee who has little in common with Norris, other than his religious beliefs.
His presentation began with a video short about his life, which he elaborated on following the video. He spoke about his life from childhood through the present, conveniently leaving out his adulterous affair that resulted in the birth of his 3rd child, then segued into his view of politics, religion and life in general.
Following his presentation he answered questions from the audience and gave autographs for fans who purchased his new book after the presentation. There was very little opportunity to ask him questions, since most of the time was used in showing the video presentation and relating his biography.
In January of 2007 Norris appeared on "Hannity & Colmes" and got into a spirited debate with Hannity. It would have been a lot more interesting to have had him on a panel discussion where participants could have engaged him one on one. I'm sure we would have had a lively discussion and learned a lot about his worldview and who knows maybe we would have learned something about our own view of the world, as well.