Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Have you ever asked yourself, "How free are we?"

What a better way to spend a hot 4th of July than at the movies.

Usually, holiday movies are reserved for those that are meant to entertain not for ones that shock you and make you think critically about our world. But for this Independence Day, I saw "SiCKO" by famed liberal documentary director, Michael Moore.

Like most people, I didn't really know what to expect in this movie. But like all of Moore's films, I left feeling really pissed off and ready to move to Canada. I have talked before about my personal health care woes (much to the chagrin of a former good friend of mine who says that if I were better with money, my kid would be able to have health insurance) but after seeing this movie, I realized that my problems are not nearly as bad as I thought. I am one of the lucky ones.

The movie doesn't touch so much on those that don't have health insurance, but those that do and how even with insurance, they are still not receiving the care they deserve and are dying much too early in their lives.

But it got me thinking, "How can we ever really be free if we are constantly worrying about things we should not be worrying about?"

The movie takes us to four countries that have universal health care: Canada, England, France and Cuba. In France, Moore talks to Americans living in France and all of the wonderful things the country provides not to just citizens, but to all who live there. Things like free health care, child care, government nannies (who will also do your laundry if need be), doctor house calls, public AND HIGHER education are the norm. In fact, if the government ever tried to do away with any of these things, there would be mass revolt.

Not only do these countries have longer life spans and lower infant mortality rates that the U.S., they also have more vacation days (up to 5 weeks in France), paid sick days for as long as you need, and the highest quality and expert medical care.

We in America should be outraged with what our government is doing to us. THEY are making us sick.

As recent college graduates, my friends and I find ourselves steeped in debt and taking mediocre-paying jobs. We are taking jobs not because they will be a boost to our career, but because we have to. We must start paying off out student loans but in order to do that, we need to make a significant amount of money so we can afford to eat as well. We MUST find jobs that have health care. Too many jobs have I taken solely because they offered health benefits.

That's sad.

I shouldn't have to take a job that pays crap and requires me to work too many hours so I can't take care of my child and the sole reason I need the job is for the health insurance.

This movie brought the saying, "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention" to my mind. How free are we when we have to constantly worry about these things? How free are Americans when the basic ideals we hold dear--life, liberty, family, the pursuit of happiness, security--are unattainable to us? Why is the government not doing anything about it? Why are we treating our citizens this way?! Can we really claim to be the greatest country in the world anymore?

As long as we are constantly worrying about the basic necessities in life, we will never be free. Government is designed to help people; to take care of those who can not take care of themselves. Our government is failing us. We should be incensed. Thomas Jefferson would be disgusted. I know I am.