Tonight I had two conversations which brought back an exchange I had many years ago on flteach with a teacher. He took a conservative view on many things social and kept referring back nostalgically to earlier times. As was usual at that time, I remarked that I had been there, in the 40s and 50s, and didn’t recall anything to be nostalgic about. He responded that I was influenced by books I read, etc., so I shot back with a list of the things I had witnessed as a child. His reaction was to describe my relatively happy childhood as Dickensian. I told him not everyone had grown up in a house with a white picket fence and he admitted that he had had a very stable childhood and family life. He still saw my life as troubled and disorienting.
Keep that in mind as I relate what I heard today. We went to Chuckee Cheese’s (not to be confused with Hell) to celebrate a 5 y’ol’s b/d. I chatted most of the time with the wife of my nephew. Later I chatted with my son. The upshot of the conversations was this: people having no medical insurance so unable to practice preventive care. Everything had to be handled in the ER. My nephew is so disabled at age 50 that he is on social security (difficult to get despite the Right’s claims that the undeserving get it). His wife, to whom I was talking, has no insurance due to being fired from her job for coming down to Phoenix to see after her sick husband and their boy who is staying with his dad to help him. She had a good job with Ford for years but it was outsourced to Mumbai. To add insult to injury, her current boss, the one who fired her, is from Mumbai.
This woman, my nephew’s wife, is very smart and swivels charmingly between liberal and conservative viewpoints; her values are conservative but reality forces her to look to liberal solutions. She sees huge numbers of people, part of her job, that have lost their homes, can’t get into an apartment because they lost their credit along with their jobs, and have no health care because they lost that, too, along with their job. She wonders what massive government plan will be needed to restructure credit in this country b/c of the millions who’ve had their credit ruined by the meltdown. Empty houses and offices blight the landscape while jobs are shipped to other countries. This is a woman who could easily be retrained but she’ll need help taking care of her son and sick husband. The stress caused them to separate recently but she is loyal and is willing to let their son stay here to help his dad.
Then I found out my son has something that should have been taken care of months ago but he just started a new job, a good one with medical benefits but they had to kick in first. Now the doctor is saying he needs surgery. He has his first appt the 17th and then we may know the diagnosis and prognosis. At his age, 44, he probably has nothing life-threatening, but that stuff can strike at any time. Why should someone have to wait for something like that? If he had told us, we would have got him in and sucked up the payments, but it would have stretched us. My daughter and her husband are with us (two years at this last stretch), along with their 2 kids.
And, the reason I’m working, in my 5th year after “retirement”, is b/c of the doughnut hole my wife goes into with medication for her eye. The eye surgeon botched a cataract surgery which then led to serious glaucoma and out-of-pocket prescription cost of up to $700 a month. Terrified we wouldn’t have the cash for the meds, I went back to work and had almost nothing taken out of our social security and retirement checks, leading to large debts to IRS. We’re just getting them paid off but this has been a strain, all owed to my wife’s medical problems.
What does all this have to do with politics, you ask? If you have to ask, you’re an idiot. The guy who thought my childhood was Dickensian is just the sort of person who lives in a bubble and votes for the GOP plan for health care.