Film explores how power reveals character

Prof C Explains
3 min readApr 9, 2006

by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist.

The cliché “power corrupts” is wrong. Power reveals. It reveals the true character of those who possess it.

If you really want to know a person’s character, watch how he relates to those over whom he has power. Almost everyone treats their peers and those above them well. But watch how your friends and colleagues treat their waiter, the retail clerk, the receptionist or secretary, or their spouse and children. Then you’ll begin to understand who that person really is.

Last year, Matt Blunt assumed the power of the governor, and his true character has started to show through. If you want to learn about the type of man the governor is, I suggest you watch the film “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” Produced locally by Rhonda Cleeton and Bill Helvey, this film explores the impact of the governor’s Medicaid cuts on some of the state’s most powerless people.

Unlike previous treatments of this subject, the film doesn’t deal in the hypothetical or abstractions about budget forecasts. Instead, the filmmakers went directly to those affected and let them speak in their own words. Consequently, you will learn a lot in this film that you will not learn elsewhere.

For example, you will learn that a disabled couple who have worked hard to make something of themselves, own a house and contribute to society will be required sell their home and live at the most subsistence level to meet the pay-down on their medical expenses. You will hear several similar stories of the disabled overcoming so much just to have the rug pulled out from underneath them.

You will learn that the barriers to routine and preventive care have gone up to the degree that people are getting sicker and waiting longer until they end up in emergency rooms. You will learn how the fear and anxiety of not knowing what will happen to them tears at the psyche of those people who are, in fact, “out of sight and out of mind.”

What you will not learn, and what I can’t figure out, is the outcome the governor and his friends want from these changes. Do they really believe Missouri churches will be able to cover a $400 million gap in coverage? Or that private insurance will start offering or subsidizing in-home assistant care?

Some think the goal of the Republican “ownership” society is to make the ill and infirm “own” their illnesses and reduce…

Prof C Explains

J Scott Christianson: UM Teaching Prof, Technologist & Entrepreneur. Connect with me here: