Elysium is a sci-fi movie set in the future – a future that may seem at first glance very far from reality. A colony set up next to Earth, a sort of satellite planet….drones, cyborgs a regular part of daily life…all very far-fetched stuff, right? However, the specific social justice issues, the attitudes and values of some of the “lawmakers” and even the state of things as portrayed by the movie…may not be all that far from reality. Of course, the producers, everyone involved in the film were trying to make some major statements about topics like immigration, healthcare, the wealth gap…but are those statements really all that science fiction?
The extremely rich CEO of a powerful plant, John Carlyle, resident of Elysium, showed his disdain on a number of occasions for the worker bees who killed themselves (sometimes literally) making him richer – themselves making enough, it seemed, to barely survive. When a worker would complain about deplorable conditions they were told to just be thankful that they had a job. Not even mentioning the conditions of workers in the Third World, in China (Mitt Romney owns a few plants down there I heard…), India, right here in the United States the average fast-food worker makes between $11,000 and $18,000 per year…while the average fast food CEO makes $25,000 per day. Their workers don’t make enough to pay rent, feed their families and take care of health needs – just the basics of survival – much less quality of life. So most minimum-wage workers must turn to government assistance just to make ends-meet. Do you know how many lawsuits have come against Wal-Mart over not paying workers who are injured on the job? For firing employees for not showing up for work after breaking a bone on the job…so that they don’t have to pay them disability?
On Elysium, you had to be recognized in the database as a “LEGAL citizen” to receive their life-saving healthcare. The people and the drones would just stand by and watch as “ILLEGALS,” including children, died – when they had a cure right there which could be accessed with the flip of a switch. Even though one may say this is too extreme of an example: even in our current immigration bill that is before the House, which the House so far seems to believe is too much of a compromise with the Liberals, people who are here illegally and applying for citizenship do not have rights to healthcare subsidies of any kind. No Medicaid. No Obamacare exchanges. Nothing. I guess applying for citizenship is enough, they don’t need quality of life to go along with it. And what about the cheers at one of last year’s GOP Presidential debates when the possibility of not allowing anyone with an undocumented status to be treated at the Emergency Room? “Just let them die!”
Now of course we are a far way from the state of being on earth and Elysium. But this is exactly what we would come to if people without any compassion or understanding for the poor were to have total control and power. And this includes the working poor. Matt Damon’s character is a perfect example of a man killing himself to make a better life, working hard for nothing. If the GOP has their way, we won’t see a minimum wage increase any time soon, we won’t see any type of system in place to regulate the growing wealth gap…we would have no guaranteed healthcare for the poor, no Obamacare to protect healthcare rights for the 99%….would their world, if gone unchecked, eventually become the world of Elysium?
Jesus cared about the health of the poor, about their suffering. How can one who has the love of Jesus in their hearts look at a person, whatever that person’s circumstances, who is in pain, who is suffering physically or mentally, and not have the desire and even feel the call to see them be able to get the help they need? Their life is no less important than yours or mine or that wealthiest of CEOs or politicians – their suffering no less real! How can you see the injustice and not strive to see it rectified? How can you support politicians and policies that make it impossible for that person to go to a doctor, to get life-saving medications? Do you need to be reminded that these are people, made in God’s image? The GOP Congress claims to respect life because it wants to ban abortion rights…but that’s the only kind of life right now that I see them caring to protect.
Christina Forrester is founder & spokesperson for Christian Democrats of America and an author, blogger, entrepreneur, marketing strategist, Millennial, singer/songwriter and animal lover. https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaForresterMedia; https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaForresterMusic; @Christinaof9