Friday, July 6, 2007


I just watched Sicko and must say that it is easily Michael Moore's best movie since Roger & Me. I was kind of avoiding watching it because I knew I would get angry. I have been a prisoner of the bullshit American insurance system since the Post Office stopped covering me when I turned twenty-one. I think it is hard for people to comprehend what it is like to go from being uninsured to being completely covered. It is such an extreme relief I don't think I can accurately describe it. I can remember ripping my meniscus to shreds and having to bang my knee back into joint by propping my foot on a bed post and hammering my knee with my fist until it went back in. I went back for Christmas shortly thereafter and was reduced to rolling around on the floor with clinched dreading repeating the process, as I would have to frequently, and arguing with my mom about whether I could go to the hospital or not. I don't know how, but I was fortunate enough to have parents who could come up with the money to cover my surgery. What absurdity. Americans get sold on that just being the way things work. A month ago I went to my neighborhood office here and told them I had just moved to Kyoto and wanted to get insurance but I still owed money in Miyazaki. They asked for my birthday and my address. About fifteen minutes later they handed me a card. "What else do I need to do? When do I pay?" I asked. "Don't worry about it." They told me. That was it. I don't have to argue with someone in an office somewhere. I just go where I need to go. But millions of people who have never left the U.S.-except to live on military bases where they are covered by government insurance-will tell you how terrible it is to have that system. I usually say it as a joke that that is why I don't go home, but really, why should I settle for the American system? It kills me that people aren't in the streets over this and I don't know how to deal with that. Anyway, Sicko does a very good job of showing us what we could have and how absurd what exists now is. The Cuba scenes are overwhelmingly touching but I won't spoil it for you. There is no way to disconnect this argument from an overall observation about the debt that our generation is having dropped on it. I am certainly a prisoner of it. Almost everyone I know my age is. I don't see any hope for it. Our parents grew up in the benevolent shadow of FDR and Truman and Eisenhower and other people who believed in government and society. We are saddled with the carnage of Nixon and Reagan and -to a certain extent- Clinton and now Bush. We don't deserve this society that has been thrown on us. Americans are so ready to do good and they throw up so many barriers in our way. They won't let us come together and build something better.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.