Late in his film “Sicko”, filmmaker Michael Moore asks a question about himself and his fellow Americans:
“Who are we?”
It is a question with many answers, and more and more, those answers are frightening. We are a nation that spends $12 billion monthly on a war that the vast majority consider a worthless, stupid exercise, yet one man can stubbornly keep the money, and blood flowing. And while spending that money to help create a fractured Iraq, members of the media can somehow connect healing people with terrorism, because it advances their ideology of killing rather than healing.
Who are we?
Just this week, more realizations of who we are came flooding in. Because nothing truly shows who you are, then seeing who you should be.
Brazil, a nation with more Roman Catholics than any other, took a powerful stance by including morning-after pills in its newly expanded birth control program. President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva also announced that the government will provide low-priced birth control pills at drug stores, in order to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions. Brazil also hands out more than 250 million condoms annually.
Currently, abortion is only legal in Brazil in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is in danger. But in a nation where there are 1.4 million illegal abortions a year, the Health Minister is taking a stand and working to overturn the antiquated laws.
“If we consider that abortion is a crime, every day, 780 women would have to be arrested, without mentioning their doctors and eventually their companions,” said José Gomes Temporão. “I won’t accept that people say that abortion is not a public health problem.”
Brazil is a nation with a lot of problems. Horrifying poverty, crime, a government always in some stage of proving itself corrupt, etc. But there is one other thing Brazil has proven itself to be: Progressive. They see the truth, and they are fighting long-standing biases to act on it.
Who are we?
We are a nation that sees the truth, and tries to bury it whenever it conflicts with ideology or theology. We are a nation that has given our heart to God, and concluded that because of that, we no longer need a soul.
Some teen pregnancies end in abortion. Abortions can have complications. There may be emotional consequences, as well: some women say that they feel sad and some use more alcohol or drugs than before.
And while the State is lying about abortion, they have the courage to look its citizens in the eye – and with one hand firmly clutching the Surgeon General’s neck – tell them that not having sex is the only option of birth control that is of value.
“There was already a policy in place that didn’t want to hear the science, but wanted to — quote, unquote — ‘preach abstinence,’ which I felt was scientifically incorrect,” said former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona.
With Faith-Based Initiatives, the State has taken a torch to our right of having a separation of church and state, as those with their own agendas spin facts any way they deem fit – saving souls is what matters, for State and church now, and if that leads to death, then such is their God’s will.
Who are we? We’re a nation led by hypocritical oligarchs, drunkenly wielding power and information over the masses. We are a nation that would much rather be righteous that right. We are a nation, to the utter astonishment of others, that feels science is best used as a political tool.
More than anything, though, we are a nation that has allowed itself to be defined by the fringe. And if we want to be able to define ourselves in terms that don’t make us retch, then we need to start asking another question.
Who can we be?