Monday, July 16, 2007


I've mentioned Sicko before, but I actually went to see it tonight, and it was pretty much what had been promised.

Utterly delightful. Michael Moore is the great articulator of our problems. These are all things you knew, at least partly, except for maybe that the French government will do your laundry. But, you know that medical debt is crushing or has crushed millions of families, medical coverage has retired retirement and broken social security's promise that you wouldn't have to house and feed your parents, and that HMOs spend a good deal of time and attention not delivering the services you believe you've purchased from them. You also know that what seems like every other industrialized nation has essentially free universal health care, and lives longer, healthier lives. And you know that health care and pharmaceutical lobbyists have overrun DC, and the whole establishment is beholden to them.

We elected Bill Clinton to solve this problem, and he delegated it to his wife for a year before -- like the BTU tax and full status for gays in the military -- he decided it was more expedient to drop the issues that had gotten him into office and focus on governing. So, that seemed like our last hope to really address the problem, right? My movie viewing partner decided right there to move out of the country, and I'm on my way out already. Senator Clinton and her main opponent for the presidency -- and really, if the Republicans take the oval office again, I think we can chalk American Democracy up as a failed experiment -- foresee a continued role for private insurers, although Senator Obama lets us wiggle out of it over time.

Well. It's a huge problem. And hearing about the USA's sorry state of health care coverage really makes one feel like all this talk over climate change, the occupation of Iraq, the housing bubble, instant runoff voting -- which I know I've been derelict in my blogging about -- energy, consumer debt and wealth distribution seem like a distraction. But, that's just how powerful a communicator Mr. Moore really is.

Thanks for making the movie!


Howard said...

I agree Moore is a great articulator and brings attention to important symptoms. But I think things like Instant Runoff Voting are actually more central and I wish he'd continue to draw the focus to more issues like that. I talk a lot about that in my latest series of blog posts. It's good to meet someone who knows about IRV!

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog, Howard. IRV is more structural -- it addresses the our vulnerability to monied or powerful antidemocratic interests. So, while I think the Greens are right to focus their efforts on it, electoral reform changes the context in which decisions are made.

The decisions themselves -- or really their consequences -- are really what we care about. While awareness and alignment in the body politic is pointless without a responsive governance structure, they do have to be maintained while we wait for that brighter day ;)