Saw it last weekend. For someone to come away from seeing the American reality displayed in that movie and still say they're proud to be an American, or continue to cling to the delusion that WE are somehow better than the rest of world, or believe that our system EVEN WORKS surely is an indication of utter insanity. Our wages, standard of living and quality of life fall far short of other developed countries. This has been true for decades even though the vast majority of Americans still think we're on top. We are actually more a third world, totalitarian country with a veneer of technology and a meticulously orchestrated symphony of propaganda that keeps a critical mass of natives from getting restless. How else could you explain "trailer court Republicans?"
Totalitarian? Nearly every significant act you engage in, public and now private is recorded and being stored in a government database, so you won't be stepping too far out of line if you know what's good for you. Every election is completely manipulable by computer (even the ones where you use a pen are computer tabulated) which is why we are now living under an illegitimate government and why we will never, as an electorate, be able to effect REAL change in our current system.
In "Sicko," the difference between the far superior French system that caters to rather than subjugates its citizenry and the U.S. was attributed to the fact that the French government is afraid of the people, whereas, in the U.S., it's just the opposite. If the French government tries to pull some shit the people don't like, everybody is in the streets, off the job, shutting the country down. They don't wait for an election. Here at home, I really believe people have become afraid to even contact their "elected" representatives to complain about their loss of rights for fear of being included on some government watch list. That's not what happens in a FREE country. And yes, there are protests here, but they are either ignored, propagandized out of existence or crushed. So it's hopeless?...not necessarily.
Remember we're all workers and consumers. We can collectively use either of those roles to effect change. Withholding labor is not likely in this work-addicted society. However, if we all don't buy products or services from a particularly odious company, that company will fail. If we did this enough times, the country's rigid power structure would eventually become malleable. They would start asking of the people, "What do you want?" Answer: Accountability from the bastards who ruined our country; the breakup of media empires and reclamation of the peoples' airwaves; all private money out of elections and a return to all-paper, hand-counted ballots; the right of workers to organize and act collectively without restriction or encumbrance; universal single payer healthcare; popular election and recall of presidents...and a nice cake.
...in my dreams.