So I finally saw Michael Moore's Sicko this weekend. And yes, Michael Moore is very effective at driving his message home...often to a fault, I think. He's usually amusing, which is great, but one can definitely see the filmmaking in his work as he ratchets up the tension, using reversals (ie Sara is an American, fully insured and taken care of with no problems whatsoever...BECAUSE SHE LIVES IN ENGLAND! BAM!) and forcing dramatic situations like taking a group of uninsured 9/11 workers to Guantanamo Bay, where the prisoners get healthcare (come on Mike, if we don't treat their health problems, they will die...and then we can't WATERBOARD THEM! BAM!). But ultimately, Moore really does shine a light on our government and forces us to wonder why they WON'T care for their constituents. I think the most effective moment for me, one that I've thought about a lot over the past two days, comes during one of the least dramatic parts. A French doctor explains WHY he believes France has socialized medicine. He explained that the French people are willing to stand up to their government...if they are unhappy with policy, they protest and make their voices heard. The French people really CAN enact change in their government. One of the ways our government has succeeded in avoiding this is by keeping US citizens poor, uncared for, and frightened. If we DEMANDED healthcare, they would give it to us. If we DEMANDED that our children receive the education they deserve, they would get it. But instead, we are a country that complains quietly and feels unable to do anything about it. Don't just vote for the political candidate who has the nicest tie...tell them, "THIS IS WHAT I WANT, AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME OR I WON'T VOTE FOR YOU!" This is America...we're supposed to set a standard for "freedom," and yet we have one of the worst mortality rates IN THE WORLD!
There is one group, however, that DOES stand up for what they want...evangelical christians. The only real protests I ever see are pro-life or anti-gay. They have yet to, and hopefully will never, succeed, but they do know how to protest. If only they were more concerned with being American citizens before religious zealots, perhaps the evangelicals would see that Republican fiscal policy hurts most of them. That a lack of quality, affordable healthcare HURTS them. That THEIR children are more likely to end up in Iraq than the CEO of Exxon's is. I am endlessly confused at why ANYONE would vote for a president based on religious or personal moral convictions. And not just evangelicals....the Obama campaign talks about CHANGE...vote for CHANGE...but it's no more rational to vote for Obama just because you want "change." GWB was a CHANGE from Clinton and look where that got us. You have to look at how a candidate's substantive politics will effect you. And then get the fuck behind them. It is a disgusting travesty that the government in this country has become so utterly corrupted by big business...and folks, that's what healthcare IS in America. Blue Cross, Kaiser, Signa, United...these are HUGE CONGLOMERATE COMPANIES! And our bipartisan system falls right into line with them. Just as we Americans do for oil companies, military companies, school lunch providers, Walmart, cell phone companies, and countless other businesses, we're bending over and taking it in the ass from insurance companies. And no, I don't mean getting a colonoscopy...cause that's only 50% covered once...you've met your $5000 deductible.