"As a viewer [of Michael Moore's Sicko], you are made to feel ashamed to be an American, a capitalist, and part of a 'me' society instead of a 'we' society - and the lack of universal health care is held up in support of that condemnation." So wrote Barclay Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Capital BlueCross, in a confidential memo recommending how to handle fallout from Sicko.
No kidding, Sherlock, America's health care system can be easily held up as an example of a "me" versus a "we" society. Another way of saying it is that we are not a society currently committed to the proposition that we are our brothers' keepers. We are more committed to social Darwinism, dog eat dog and survival of the richest. Let the weak die.
We are a society that is a collection of "me's" as in "what's in it for me?" While we might loudly claim to be a Christian nation, the reality is that America is serving Mammon, the false idol of greed, and not following the teachings of Jesus about doing unto the least of them.
St. Paul said the love of money is the root of all evil. James, the brother of Jesus, said greed caused all war. Yet "conservative" John Stossel could write a piece "Greed is Good" and ABC News ran a story entitled "When is Greed Good?"
Americans waste food to the tune of $88 billion a year. Half the food grown is never even harvested. Federal crop insurance ends up paying the tab for crops that might not turn a profit if harvested and taken to market. Meanwhile, Americans spend $40 billion a year on trying to lose weight because our gluttony has made us the fattest people on earth. And on the average somewhere in the world somebody dies of hunger every 3.5 seconds.
At the same time "Christian" United States is spending $12 billion a month on the war in Iraq. A war, if the Bible is right, that was caused and sustained by greed. War profiteering runs rampantly in Iraq. However, in order to hold down costs, America is skimping on benefits and care of its wounded.
Veterans should not feel singled out. Americans face foreclosure in record numbers. The gap between the "haves" and "have less and less" deepens daily. The number one industry in America is now finance. Which means the number one business is debt. There's always an entry level position for another bill collector.
Yet Congress made it far harder for those in financial crisis to file for bankruptcy. Simultaneously, America falls deeper into record debt every day because the government has refused to control its spending, largely on war, and given tax breaks to the rich while ignoring the rest of us.
Illegal immigration flows like a flood of desperate people willing to take low paying jobs so employers can turn a bigger profit. We want cheap cucumbers.
But our politicians don't come as cheaply. Look at how hard it has been to take the big bucks out of elections. Money buys air time; not quality of vision.
Which is why ABC News could run a show called "When is Greed Good?" Which is also why mainstream media has backed the Republican agenda of protecting the privileged. And also the reason that CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta can claim that Michael Moore "fudged" the facts in Sicko and that CNN's Lou Dobbs can unreservedly pronounce that Moore is more of a leftist agitator than Hugo Chavez.
Enough with the Mammon worship already. You cannot serve greed and the truth. Nor can America continue to claim to be Christian while worshiping covetousness. There will be no healing of our many life-threatening problems until we move past greed toward the greater good. Our greed is the mark of that terrible beast in the temple.