Why social class? Many Americans want to know the answer to this question, but is it possible to really answer the question to “why” we have social class? It is easy to explain “what”, but it’s “why” that stumps us every time. Social class is the division or classification among people in a society. In America we have the upper class (rich), the upper and lower middle classes, and the lower class (poor). Americans base the social classes mainly upon annual income, and education. I have discovered an excellent example that highlights the struggle of our society’s lower class and also the dominance of our upper class.
My chosen example is the movie John Q. John Q is about a lower class family who struggles with insurance companies and the health system. John Quincy Archibald and Denise Archibald are the father and mother of Michael “Mike” Archibald. One morning during Mike’s baseball game he was sprinting to second base and suddenly falls to the ground into a seizure. John and Denise frantically call an ambulance and rush to the hospital. After thorough testing John and Denise Archibald receive the frightening news that Mike has a bad heart. The only choice Mike has is to have a heart transplant or he will die.
John has extremely low income and the hospital tells him his insurance is not good enough to get his son’s name on the transplant list. John Archibald does everything in his power to earn enough money just to get Mike’s name on the list but after the first few weeks pass the hospital tells him it is too late. They are sending Mike home to die. Denise calls John and tells him to “do something”. That is exactly what John did except he was forced to go to extremes. Making sure John had all the right professionals, and the right equipment on one side of the hospital he locked it down and held that one side hostage.
By doing this he was hoping they would give in and put Mike’s name on the transplant list, but it was a bigger journey than he thought. At first the hospital tried to trick him by “telling” him they put Mike’s name on just so he would surrender. John was smarter than they thought. John had a gun and one bullet in which he intended to kill himself with so his son could have his heart. Just in the knick of time to save both John and Mike’s life, a perfect heart with the same blood type was available for transplant, so the heart was given to Mike. John then surrendered and was sent to jail for 3 years.
This movie was a perfect example showing the struggle the lower class faces in the health system. All because John didn’t have the hospitals preferred health insurance the hospital was willing to send Mike home and let him die. Why would an establishment that makes so much money be willing to let an innocent child lie on his deathbed? Because that is the way our world works. If we did not have restrictions on healthcare and on who can and cannot receive certain health care, we would not be able to save the people who actually worked hard enough in life to qualify.
Do I think it is right to let someone die because of money? No, but that is only my opinion. If someone is going to die, but they can be saved, everything that can possibly be done to save them should be done and the bill will be paid afterwards. Not only did John struggle with health care and the insurance company, but also he struggled with respect. The professionals of the hospital talked down to him and gave him no hope or encouragement. They did not talk to the wealthy patients this way. This shows that money plays such a big role in our status.
Being upper class opens a lot more doors for an individual, and they can keep climbing the social class ladder. Nowadays it is even harder to bring yourself to the top. Sometimes it takes more than a bachelors degree to be higher than middle class. Over the years college tuition gets higher and loans get harder to find. Money is pushing many American’s down the social class ladder so far that they can never find their way to the top. Along with the struggle with health care and respect, both the lower and middle class struggle with inflation.
Prices on anything and everything are skyrocketing. Employee’s hours are slowly getting cut at work. Minimum wage is staying at a constant. All of these things are affecting our lives in a negative way. Many families have had to foreclose their homes and file bankruptcy. Kids have a hard time finding financial aid for school, and it is preventing them from trying to get an education. You would think everyone in the world would open there eyes and see what is happening and try to fix it, but we, the human race, are encouraging our fate; the end of ime. December 22, 2012 is the universal prediction of the end of time. It is up to us to change that, but we are too ignorant to work together and try to mend the damage we have done. Why did I mention the end of time? Because, in a deeper sense, it ties in with social class. The division among people has given us a reason to judge others. Some upper class citizens feel high and mighty compared to the lower class. This is also where stereotyping comes from. We have nicknames like trailer trash, white trash, and nigger.
These names come from the classification the human race made for themselves. John Quincy Archibald faced all of these problems, and that is why his situation serves has an excellent example. All in all, social class will open doors for some, and close doors for many. Till the end of time we will always see people struggling to live a comfortable life, and the people that struggle will have children more likely to struggle. Life is a never-ending series of events and choices leading up to success or failure, and that success or failure is only determined by one thing. The human race.