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Moynihan Movie Review

Facts Trump Opinions
"Moynihan", Joseph Dorman and Toby Perl Freilich's documentary about the late political figure Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is inspiring at times, but in light of the current state of American politics, it is also depressing. We would all be better off if there were someone like him around now.

Moynihan and his siblings were raised in the tough streets of Hell's Kitchen in New York by his mother. His parents had split up, and his father moved on to start another family. This left Moynihan and his family in poverty. The effect of that poverty played a vital role in his public life. It served as the impetus for his view of American life, and almost all of his emphasis was on relieving poverty, especially among black Americans.

Despite his position, Moynihan was reviled by many Black Americans because part of his focus was on the breakdown of the nuclear family in the black community. He didn't blame them for it, but that's how many reacted to it. 

However, he made enemies across the political spectrum. In one anecdote related by someone who once worked for him, the person told of once using Moynihan's private office bathroom. On the wall were two framed magazine covers. The cover of the liberal publication decried Moynihan as a right-wing maniac. The conservative cover screamed the opposite.

The only shortcoming of "Moynihan" is that we learn little of his personal life, other than footage of his wife telling the filmmakers a few anecdotes. There is an examination of his childhood, but how it might have affected his role as a father and husband are omitted.

Whether or not you agree with Moynihan's various political positions, you can't help but admire the fact that he believed what he said. If only that were the case for today's basket of garbage politicians. To be fair, most of the politicians of his era were no better, but at least they had one intelligent one among them who truly wanted to make America a better place to live for everyone. The man who coined the phrase, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts," would be welcome now, and at any time.


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