Friday, April 18, 2014

Voice From The Middle

I am a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, wife, and friend. I was born on an island and have lived in both north and south. My dad worked for the Air Force as a civilian as did my mom in earlier years. I attended college to follow my dream of becoming a "starving artist in a loft" and left to become the mother of four kids, eventually the grandmother of seven. I was brought up in the Southern Baptist church, and left in early adulthood. I have raised a family in tandem with a husband, as was the custom during the 60's, and ended  bringing the brood up over twenty years as a single mom when circumstances changed. I have always owned my own home. I have worked full time in offices while working part time evenings and weekends (maybe in a trauma center or maybe custodial work in a beauty shop) to augment my income. I watched my mother endure the downslide with Alzheimer's, and die of the disease. I have battled cancer twice (surgery, chemo and radiation)……once with insurance, and once without. I am keeping Melanoma at bay as we speak. My present husband and I are now retired, once having owned a small business. He has a part time job now working at a recycling center when he's not with his "Eat to ride, and ride to Eat" motorcycle buddies. My kids are raising families in another state…..two of them are enduring the downturn, hopeful they can find new jobs since BOA eliminated their old ones months ago. 

Why am I telling you all this?

 As I look back upon my life, I can see that I am a microcosm of many peoples' lives……an average Jill, so to speak. And as I see it the average person is no longer respected, cared about, listened to, catered to, consulted or even noticed in today's world, especially in this country. 

For example, I was lucky to get respectable jobs with decent pay for the 1970's after my divorce: $6.25 per hour starting in one doctor's office, where I today  would need $38.64 per hour to purchase the same goods/services needed for my family. The minimum wage that big businesses seem to rail against ($10.10 usually) would be the equivalent of $1.66 in 1970. Forgive me if I call "BS" on the Right Wing axiom that "these are just jobs for entry level, teenagers needing spending money." HAVE YOU BEEN IN A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT OR DISCOUNT RETAIL STORE LATELY? (Also "Republicans "tended to think the poor are poor because of individual failings, rather than lack of opportunities present … and that they have a poor work ethic rather than good jobs being unavailable.")

Owning and taking care of a home is also a thing of the past for most couples….let alone single folks. Buying a three bedroom brick home in a good middle class neighborhood for $16,900 (you heard me right), improving it, selling and moving up every few years is a forgotten dream. That will buy you a hovel in downtown Nowhere….I get it.  The point is wages are not keeping up, and banks are NOT your friends anymore….you can only borrow money if you can prove you don't really need it. And the expense to heat and cool a home will kill you. 

Women have always been "the little women" to society. To have to be the bread winner, mother, school bus, housekeeper, lawn maintenance crew, urgent care nurse, cook and bottle washer, nurturer, educator, and look like you just stepped out of a magazine shoot….and not be too ASSERTIVE on the job…is not a task to be taken lightly. Thousands of women do this same thing every day. But those men in the GOP seem to think THEY have the authority to make health and medical decisions for them as well as mock them for being "too emotional to make decisions on anything important."

Single moms raising several kids are just the SCOURGE of society..why those children will never amount to anything. They are children of divorce and they will have developmental problems all their lives. They will probably not finish school, go to college, have several out-of-wedlock kids, end up in jail, have no ambition, and wear smelly dirty clothes. (Of course, they COULD learn the value of not having everything handed to them. They COULD learn that the "best" is not always necessary. They COULD learn that co-operation and compromise are to be valued, and that having your own way is not always going to happen. They COULD learn that friends of all races and beliefs are a good thing. They COULD learn respect for elders…...and that mom will kick your butt when you need it.) Bible quotes have their place, but common sense is more important.

Getting sick was almost NOT an option…ask my kids. Two aspirin, hot tea with lemon and honey, a warm bath, and good nights sleep HAS to cure everything. ("Mom didn't take us to the doctor unless we were bleeding…") My son was treated for several bad cuts and illness by one of the doctors I worked for……OB/GYNs. Luckily, all they had were minor childhood diseases. First time I had cancer, my employer provided insurance. The second time, I had just started a new job and no insurance was in effect at the time. (This was when I first bought an answering machine…I was inundated by doctors and hospitals for bills I could only pay a minimum on for years….4 or 5 years of complete insanity.) Thank you, Mr. President, for helping others to NOT have to go through this same thing!

Working hard, owning your own business and putting everything you have into it is the American way. Just ask any Republican running for office these days. Only LOSERS do not get anywhere in life, and they should be mocked for the "bad decisions" they have made, and that "we" have to pay for. That is all well and good…until YOUR business becomes another statistic from a bad economy, and suddenly you are "overqualified" for the very jobs you once had. Yes, early retirement has it's benefits. 

Now, suddenly, after working for years, paying your dues (and taxes, I might add) you "are not contributing to society." You are sucking up "your children's future" with all your "entitlements." Well, if you had planned it right….you could have been BORN into enough money, or used other people's money to get even richer…..or have the SCOTUS rule in your favor, anyway.

Our Founders did their best to put this country on the right track….I just don't believe they accounted for the vast sums of money being used to power the train. All the Framers of our democracy had other positions and callings BESIDES working in the government. They did what they could…and moved on to let others carry the load. Today a government job, or a political position ITSELF is the end result. Once you get in the "system", with a little luck, good friends and lots of BS you can stay there forever. With donor money, government rules, insider knowledge, glad-handing, and taxpayer support you can live the good life forever. If that doesn't work out…you can always hit the media circuit. There is always a place on one network for fading GOP stars.

As I look over what I have lived through, what I have accomplished, what I have seen, what I hope for my family and others like them….I see that I could only have been what I am. And you cannot make yourself bigger by making someone else look small. And I can only support those who can put themselves in others' shoes….people with empathy. People who are Dems.

No comments:

Post a Comment