Dissecting Flaws and Uncovering Truths


It’s a Friday night, and for the past few days you have had a horrible sore throat. You’re convinced it’s strep, and know quite well that it can’t go away without the help of anti-biotics. So you decided to go to the local emergency room, where you’ll wait for the next six hours, only for a doctor to sit with you for five minutes to determine you do indeed have strep throat. With insurance, the hospital and medication runs about one hundred and thirty dollars, and without the insurance, nearly eight hundred dollars. This circumstance leaves many who do not have insurance at a cross road, pay a large chunk of money to not be sick or stay sick, miss work or school and infect the people around them. Today there are over 50 million people without health insurance, and situations like the one above occur all too often. Americans today are surrounded by ideologies, many of which envelop the health care system, and in turn affect the perceptions of the issues surrounding them. Howard Zinn, a historian, playwright, and social activist, defines ideology as “ A dominant pattern of ideas.” Ideology comes down to culture, and how ideas are encouraged and pushed into the heads of thinking people. Zinn believes that the ideas behind ideologies are safe, for the reason that they don’t threaten recognized wealth and power, which is why so many of these ideologies go unnoticed. In present day society we are convinced to believe that ideologies are purely the thoughts that come from our own minds, when in reality, we are unknowingly influenced by our families, communities, and cultures.


Not all ideologies are accepted, and the people who go against them, are not necessarily accepted as well. This is the situation of Michael Moore, creator of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko, two very controversial documentaries dealing with ideologies of the American people. In Sicko, Moore discusses numerous ideologies of the American health care system, and cleverly dissects the flaws and uncovers the truth about other health care systems around the world. In the film, Moore takes us from Great Britain, France, Canada, and Cuba and back to the United States where he compares the practices of each country to that of America’s. Moore discusses one very important ideology throughout Sicko, that of, is socialism really as horrible as Americans make in out to be? Americans have been taught to think the only efficient way a government can be run is with a democracy, and nothing else. Because of this, we have a tendency to view countries, which use socialism or capitalism, as bad and obviously not as good as the United States. In doing so, we blind ourselves from seeing how these other countries do in fact have great health care systems, the majority of them, better than ours. Dancing around a very touchy subject, Moore tries to convey his opinion on whether or not socialism is bad, by giving statistical, anecdotal, and testimonial types of evidence, each equally important in changing the minds of his viewers.
 

Along with the ideology’s Moore shows us in his film Sicko, we are faced with ideologies everyday, unknowingly. From choosing a religious faith, to deciding if you’re a democrat or republican, we are brought back to Zinn’s definition of an ideology, a dominant pattern of ideas. Every situation you are put into deals with a pattern of ideas, and some of those situations become dominant patterns. With choosing a religious faith, many times it is decided by parents, who force a dominant pattern of ideas on their children, or by the community in which a child is brought up. As human beings we must always keep an open mind to the ever changing world that surrounds us, and with the ideologies that have consumed us, it is getting more difficult as time goes on.
There is one last question we must ask ourselves, and that is, why do people as a whole have such a problem admitting when something is not working? It took centuries for the development of equal rights, for women to vote, for the acceptance of gay rights, so lets not let our health care system become shadowed by ideologies from the past.

 
 
-Michelle Stacey

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