You don't know where I live and that's okay with me.
I'll give you this much information about my town, it's located in West Texas and contains a population of less than 20,000 people. I live in Bush Country. I reside in a place where the SUV's flaunt WWJD stickers and the everyone is Republican until proven guilty. The big city -twenty miles away- has an evangelical minister as their Mayor. No matter how you slice it, I am in an part of the country that is undeniably pro-Bush.
We drove ten miles to see Fahrenheit 911. There's a movie house within my town but it has only one screen, now showing -The Stepford Wives. I wondered as I drove if there would be a crowd? Would there be protesters? Frankly, I was surprised that Fahrenheit 911 was showing at all. I knew that if any theater were to cave into the right-wing pressure against this movie, it would be a theater in Texas.
We came for the 4:30 PM screening, late afternoon on a work day. Fortunately, no protestors were there to cause trouble. Unfortunately, no long line of ticketbuyers either. As I was paying for entry, I think the teenage girls behind us made a snide comment but I wasn't really listening. We bought our mega-priced movie candy, got our tickets torn and proceeded to showroom #11.
From the looks of the seating area, I'd say this particular screening room had 100-250 chairs. I expected the place to be about 25% full at the most. I expected college students, a few old hippies and the occasional goth. Instead, I saw an audience comprised of all ages, all colors and all walks of life. I saw a movie theater in the middle of nowhere West Texas, 95% full of people waiting to see Fahrenheit 911.
What surprised me even more were the reactions to the film by the crowd. Not one boo, not one hiss for Moore or his points.
There were plenty of boos for Bush. Every time the man's face hit the screen, the people spoke out loud: "Idiot!" or "I hate that guy!" They booed Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Fox News, The Carlyle Group and Britney Spears. They hissed at Halliburton, Enron, The US Senate and Bandar Bush. One senior citizen took a solid two minutes to descend the stairs and exit the showroom. I was sure he wouldn't return but he shuffled his way back up to his seat ten minutes later. Nobody walked out. No one protested. And when the movie began to center on our dying, disheartened, discarded soldiers, the tone got downright angry.
When the amputee soldier said he would be working hard for the Democratic party, audiences members yelled out "Right on!" When the Marine Corporal said he wouldn't "... kill other poor people", the crowd responded with applause. When the movie was over, there were cheers, applause and a standing ovation.
I may not know much but I know West Texas. This movie screening was (to me) a sign that the tide is turning. George W. Bush has managed to alienate the very people he claims to represent. The ultimate sting will come, when in November, the great state of Texas votes for John Kerry.