Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning filmmaker and best-selling author
As I head off for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a final thought with you about this past week's news regarding the health care executives who sat around that table in Philadelphia four years ago and decided on a course of action to, if need be, "push Michael Moore off a cliff."
Having spent the week reading all their secret documents (and the book "Deadly Spin"), it's clear that there was something far more scary to these companies than me.
They were, in fact, scared of you. They were afraid YOU would end up pushing them over their own greedy cliff.
Yes, they spied on me and my family in the hopes of finding something with which to smear me and my film, "Sicko." Finding nothing (sorry, guys, I live a pretty boring life), they then resorted to the old chestnuts that have been hurled at me by General Motors, the Bush White House, the National Rifle Association and others since my first film 20 years ago, and they essentially boil down to this:
"Don't listen to him! He hates America! He hates our way of life! He's not telling you the truth! He plays fast and loose with it! Patriots, don't waste your good money to see his movie!"
And it's that last message that's at the epicenter of their biggest fear. Back in 2007, these health insurance companies believed that if you strolled inside a theater showing "Sicko", their golden goose would be cooked.
They knew, according to former health care exec and whistleblower Wendell Potter, that the truth was up there on that screen -- and the LAST thing they wanted was for millions of Americans to be exposed to it.
Why? Well, we need look no further than the document containing their own secret directive on how they should deal with the movie:
"[We Must] Prepare for the Worst Case...SiCKO evolves into a sustained populist movement."
There it is. Their biggest fear. Their "worst case" scenario. That YOU, the American public, would rise up against them. I wasn't their worst nightmare -- you were. Their own research and private polling showed that you were getting fed up with how they were screwing you, gouging you, ripping you off, denying you coverage and flat out just kicking you off the insurance. They knew, according to Potter, that they were killing 45,000 of you every year simply by denying you coverage.
We Americans don't like people who kill us. We're the kind of people who will throw billions of dollars and the mightiest military on earth at just one guy because he killed just 2,977 people. What would we do if we discovered who's killing 45,000 of us every year? How fast would we act to sever the head of that beast?
You don't need to answer that question because the executives of the country's health insurance conglomerates already know it -- it's their big "What If", followed by an even bigger "Holy Shit." "What If the millions of average Joes and Janes ever got it together enough to bring us all down, to end our profiting off the misery of others? What If the citizenry one day begin electing representatives who couldn't be bought and who would end our for-profit health insurance racket?" Holy shit, indeed.
Yes, they feared that day more than anything else, and a movie coming out before a big election year with two popular Democrats pushing for some vague version of universal heath care was all that was needed to get Big Insurance to spend millions of dollars to attack me. These corporate kingpins knew they had pushed their luck too far and now they were worried that a movie -- a movie! -- could ignite a "populist movement."
All that money spent smearing me because they thought you would get up from your theater seat and start a revolution.
It's a great compliment to you. They fear the power you have. But that's 'cause they're good at math. They know there will always be more of us than there are of them. And unless they can repeal "one person, one vote," they know they are doomed. In the meantime they will try to maintain the power they have by buying off politicians, dumbing us down, distracting us with Dancing/Ice Skating/Drinking with the Stars and getting us so scared we'll acquiesce to having naked pictures taken of us at airports this Thanksgiving weekend. Over the river and through the body scan, to grandmother's house we go...
So let us give thanks tomorrow that the richest 1% begrudgingly know that we are still, on paper at least, in charge. It is, I believe, a glimmer of hope of what we could possibly accomplish in the coming new year.
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