Are We Now Living In That Dystopian Future?
Fifty years ago, this past summer, one of the top movies playing in the theatres was Soylent Green. That movie starred Charlton Heston as a police detective and Edward G Robinson in his last movie before he died as his old friend and confident. The setting was in an overpopulated dystopian society in 2022 where there weren’t enough jobs to go around, and we couldn’t produce enough food to feed the masses. The giant Soylent corporation literally controlled the world’s entire food supply, and the favorite food was their Soylent Green.
The authorities used front end loaders to clear people from the streets demonstrating against the food rations in a society controlled by giant mega corporations that ran everything from the food supply to how people lived. Edward G Robinson’s character was an old man in his 80s who had seen enough and remembers what it was like long ago when there was plenty of food and getting out into nature was easy to do. But in that dystopian society, nature was hard to find as pollution had poisoned the air and water.
In the society of the movie, assisted suicide was legal and encouraged to ease the population crunch. Edward G Robinson’s character had seen too much and opted to have assisted suicide as his way out. He was taken into a well-lit room while a projector showed movies of nature and what the world looked like when he was a healthy young man while the sound system played Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony while he slowly fell asleep and died.
I will not go further into this movie’s plot, but the Charlton Heston character decides to look for his old friend and, in the process, discovers the “secret” to Soylent Green. The movie is available on streaming on Amazon Prime video and other streaming services.
In 2014, director Christopher Nolan, whose movie Oppenheimer is currently playing in theatres did a movie called Interstellar set in another dystopian society in the not too distant future starring Matthew McConaughey as a retired astronaut who is recruited for a mission to find another suitable planet for people to live. It seems that due to global warming, the earth is becoming increasingly uninhabitable. He is sent on a mission into deep space to find a suitable planet for humans to live on. I won’t go into the plot, but the special effects are really good as well as the theories of Einstein and Steven Hawking that are used in this movie.
So, here we are in 2023 and it seems that the dystopian society seen in movies has become real. We are witnessing wildfires all over and smoke from fires thousands of miles away drifting to the shores of Lake Erie. Hot weather in Texas is common, but in parts of Texas, they have had unrelenting 100-degree heat with no rain for two months. Then, a hurricane hits southern California and the desert of the southwest. Meanwhile the northeastern states have experienced flooding rains. Off the coast of Florida, the sea surface temperatures have hit record high levels. Warm sea surface water is like rocket fuel for hurricanes.
After experiencing the worst pandemic in more than a century, I read an article about leprosy being discovered in Florida. Leprosy? That is a disease from biblical times that hasn’t been around for centuries. But it is caused by a bacterium that thrives in hot humid climates and where people are crowded close together. Could a plague of locusts be next?
In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore produced a documentary titled An Inconvenient Truth that showed the evidence of global warming or climate change has accelerated since the beginning of the industrial age in the mid-19th century. That movie showed scientific evidence and that this global warming was due to increased burning of fossil fuels that sent more carbon into the atmosphere. That movie won an Academy Award as Best Documentary for Al Gore.
Almost immediately following the release of “An Inconvenient Truth”, the deniers came out in force and the issue became political. After all, Al Gore almost became President of the United States six years earlier. But science is not political. Now seventeen years after An Inconvenient Truth was released, it seems that climate change or global warming is here and is getting worse as our weather is becoming more extreme and weather disasters are daily headlines.
Fifty years ago this summer, the nation was riveted by the Watergate hearings that were on television. During those hearings that summer, a bombshell was dropped when a Nixon aide revealed that all the conversations were secretly being recorded. This was unprecedented, the President of the United States was being accused of breaking the law and abusing his power. But we all know now what transpired.
Fast forward and here is a former President now facing criminal charges in four jurisdictions who still is claiming that the election three years ago was “stolen” from him. Despite those criminal charges against the former President, he is the clear front runner for his party’s nomination for President next year. So, I ask, are we now living in this dystopian society portrayed in the movies?
Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.