The state of immigration and societal segregation took on a futuristic look this week as movie goers around the country took in the science fiction thriller Elysium. Front and center amid stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are headlining issues like political revolt, health care and even class-ism. What promises to be a summer blockbuster seems to be doubling as a wake up cry for the maladies facing our very own country.
Set on futuristic earth in 2154, Elysium reveals the great divide between two classes of people. On the surface of earth a war torn and ravaged land is occupied by those considered impoverished, diseased and overpopulated individuals. Miles above earth, in a purified and contained sphere known as Elysium, the rich and powerful enjoy a life free from such ailments. In fact, there is not a trace of sickness anywhere. On Elysium you are afforded all amenities money can buy including medical chambers that with the flip of a switch can rid the body of every illness. Life is good for them but just as social classes have begun to collide in our present day, Elysium is about to receive a wake-up call.
In our country over the past 20 years we have endured a phenomenon called immigration law. Yearly we conduct a Diversity Visa Lottery which grants citizens of other countries legal entry into the United States. We do not have to think back too far to remember the storm of debate immigration sparked during our last two presidential elections. This very subject created a chasm right down the middle of land.
On one side you have those advocating for immigration reform that addresses pertinent issues around those both born in our country having illegal immigrant parents and those seeking a sort of asylum with us from unbearable conditions in their own home land. Far on the other side you have people who feel as though this country belongs to Americans who can read and speak the native language. Their devotion for their country seems to fuel harshness in dealing with what they call ‘foreigners’.
With such strong feelings from both views it’s no wonder so much debate surrounds the Senate bill entitled Immigration Reform 2013. The main focus of the immigration bill is to carve out an alleyway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are currently residing in the United States. This is not a quick process and will take some serious time; about 13 years to be exact. There are many security checks that immigrants seeking citizenship will need to pass.
Without revealing the intricate plot development of Elysium, it is obvious that an ensuing revolt takes place. In other words, the two classes meet in a head on collision. It is clear that Neill Blomkamp’s movie is meant to spark some conversation. Some of the observations one can derive from Elysium are the following:
- Everyone, no matter their social standings are dreaming of the same thing; a better life.
- Socialism and its results are a problem in our country that is not going anywhere.
- If something isn’t done soon, people will do whatever they deem necessary to survive.
The reality is our borders are over run, our health care structure has begun to buckle under the billions of dollars that are defaulted on yearly to provide coverage for those who are unfortunate and have no means to repay. We are hemorrhaging as a nation and a collapse is imminent. This is such a worthy film to help nudge along a dialogue, especially as the president’s ‘Obama Care’ prepares to go online with mixed expectations.
This bill, like most, is much too massive for its own good. While the Senate has put forth great effort to sustain the bill, House Republicans have committed to make life complicated for the immigration bill. One thing we now know is that this may really be the year Congress makes a decision on how to handle the many immigrants that are illegally residing in these United States of America.
Elysium may appear to just be a sci-fi film but it’s so much more than that. This film, whether intended or not, greatly mirrors the life of the immigrant that yearns for the opportunities of citizens who have been granted life in the Promised Land.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)