Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

How Jack Bauer Can Help Bring Single-Payer Health Care to the United States

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Originally published on on Wed, 06/03/2009 – 1:16pm

Jack Bauer has done a lot in his seven seasons of “24,” but can he also save us from our current health care system?

The regular season for television has come to a close, and so we won’t see new adventures until the fall. So Jack Bauer can take a break from torture and whatever else he does on “24.”

Jack Bauer has become a cause célèbre for the right-wing element, mimicking what the right-wing thinks we should be doing in real life when it comes to treating suspects.

But Jack Bauer is a fictional character, something we’re not sure the right wing knows to be the case. The good news is that the left can use that thought process to its advantage, not in torture but in health care.

If the right wing looks at Jack Bauer and will believe whatever he says, they might believe what Jack Bauer, or Kiefer Sutherland, might say in a different context.Even when an actor goes onto a different role, often that actor is typecast based on a more famous role. Think of Ted Danson after “Cheers” or Jason Alexander after “Seinfeld”: couldn’t help but see Sam Malone or George Costanza despite their new roles on television.

But Sutherland has a history with the healthcare struggle in North America, and if he could bring that perspective into a different role, the right wing could see that single-payer health care isn’t as evil as they would think.

Sutherland’s legacy to healthcare comes from his grandfather. Virtually everyone knows Sutherland’s famous father, Donald, star of legendary movies including “M*A*S*H.” But Sutherland’s mother, Shirley Douglas, was also an actor. And Shirley’s father was Tommy Douglas.

Tommy Douglas is considered the father of the implementation of Canada’s universal medicare legislation. For this and many other efforts, Douglas was voted “The Greatest Canadian” of all time in a national contest in 2004 organized by the CBC.

Sutherland was 20 when his grandfather died, so he was exposed to the man who brought in Canada’s current medical system. And while Sutherland was born in London and lived part of his early childhood in California, he spent most of his childhood in Canada with “socialized medicine.”

Since the right wing loves to focus on fictional characters, we would have to devise a way to incorporate Sutherland’s knowledge and family history in a fictional drama, perhaps set in a hospital (but with way less drama than “Grey’s Anatomy”).

And since Sutherland/Bauer/Hospital Character name all look the same, the right-wing people will “see” Jack Bauer when he talks about how much better we would be as a country if we had single-payer healthcare.

If there isn’t a hospital drama in Jack Bauer’s, er, Sutherland’s future, we could get him to do public service announcements extolling the virtues of Canadian healthcare.

Either way, it could be a method to take the right wing’s love for Jack Bauer and modify it from love of torture to love of universal healthcare. The process to do so will take longer than a season of “24,” but in the karma world, Jack Bauer could save us after all from his toughest mission yet.

Written by democracysoup

June 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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