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Poor People Must Die…

Or other nonsense thinking that shouldn’t be said out loud, but just might be this election season.

Nonsense or hateful.

I’m still deciding which words fits best.

I’d like to tell you a story about a little girl who grew up in San Diego back in the 1970s. When she was little, her mom suffered a quick decline into mental illness. On the surface, Mama Bubbles was sweet and sane, but behind closed doors she was often suicidal and depended on her daughter, Lil Bubbles, for a lot.

A lot of years were spent living on and off public assistance. We’d (yes, this story is about me) have wonderful months without worrying about money and then we’d have terrible months when we’d ‘make do’ with whatever food we had in the house for a few days, always the last days of the month. Even now, I hate spaghetti and cabbage.

Since we lived in California, I never went without health insurance when we were having ‘tough, pull yourself up by your bootstrap times’ but I always thought it was so interesting that while it was okay for poor children to see a doctor, it wasn’t okay for sick children who, because of circumstance, were born outside of the country. Who knew that ‘sick’ knows nationalities.

I think that for many reasons, my mom chose to live the way she did because she grew up with wealth. It always felt like she was trying so hard to make her way in life without her family, and instead, the state became our family for a big part of my childhood.

Once a year we had to do something called ‘recertification’ – which is really just a fancy word for ‘grovel at the feet of case workers making very little money’. I used to hate these meetings because they would always ask the same questions: Why do you have a car (to take my grandmother to the doctor each week and, if you’re from California, you know you can’t exist without a car) and why do you look so nice if you’re poor (because all poor people should be dirty).

I left out the question marks in those questions because at the time, they felt like accusations. Even before I learned about racial and gender equality issues, I knew that they were saying we should have been dirty and kept our eyes down in order to qualify for food stamps or medi-cal.

And I hated them.

My mother, to her great credit, never caved. She was mentally ill and incapable of working outside of the home because of panic attacks that would cause her to hyperventilate.  She kept me and my sister in a perfectly kept apartment, she made sure we went to school, she fed us, took us on getaways so we would never think our block was the only existence life could give us and she told us we could do better.

It’s been 24 years since I lived in that apartment, and 24 years since I have taken anything from the government other than the taxes I always seem to overpay. It’s almost become my life’s mission to never ask anyone for anything. That’s part of poverty. You become so hateful of having to ask that you often overlook even what is given freely.

Mitt Romney doesn’t like me. He’s unapologetic about this. And I’m sure he doesn’t want to be my president. I don’t have a yacht. I don’t have money in the Caymans and I love gays.

That’s okay, though, because I want him to be my president even less than he wants my vote.

As a single parent I have a lot to think about on a daily basis – being concerned that someone who hates me might be shaping policy in a few weeks shouldn’t be one of them, but it is.

If you’re a minority, or you earn less than a million dollars, or you’ve ever had a moment where your bootstraps needed to be replaced and you’ve asked for any kind of help, or you simply believe that people have a right to love who they choose, or you’ve been legitimately raped…

Ask yourself if your little fingers can, in good conscience, vote for a party that really, openly hates you.

If your answer is still ‘yes’, then maybe you should ask yourself why. If you have no answer then we might just want to say you’ve got big problems – and it’s not fair you’d consider making those problems mine.

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Dee Dee Mozeleski

Comments

Diana
Reply

You nailed it.

BubblesDeux
Reply

I have my moments. I feel like so many of us own our histories and if eating government cheese was a part of it – so be it.

freeholder
Reply

It’s funny what we remember as a kid when times are tough. One of mine is my mother making me take food back and put on the shelf at the A&P because there wasn’t enough food stamps to cover everything she had put in the basket.
Another great read , Bubbles.

BubblesDeux
Reply

I can remember stuff like that, too. And to be honest, when I was a kid it was embarrassing – now, not at all. It’s just part of who I am.

gaele
Reply

He’s not alone, sadly, in being hateful and full of nonsense without fact or figure to back him up. I’m amused (and saddened) by those who are screeching that he is “speaking the words that no one hears from them”. No one hears them because they are uneducated, poor, vengeful and spiteful, loaded with petty jealousies and fear. He just has the Lauren shirt and the bleached blonde wife to clean up his hate. Oh – and minions that see to everything. Voting for mittens is akin to handing over your right arm; as an hors d’oeuvre to the sharks – he just happens to be the Great White in the tank – but there are several other carnivores waiting to take their piece from everyone who doesn’t fit their mold of who is an “acceptable American”. When most of them don’t even fit their own descriptions.

BubblesDeux
Reply

What’s most confusing is how hateful the people who are most affected by all of this seem to be becoming. It’s one thing to not understand poverty and have terrible things to say – it’s another to be living with it and be willing to justify your hatred because it’s all the Mexicans fault. Or the Arabs. Or the blacks. Maybe the Chinese.

Susan
Reply

A technical point to make since the thinking and prose is spot on as usual. You should have used an exclamation point and not elipses on the headline. You can be stronger, more forceful, here as in life. Go for it :)

BubblesDeux
Reply

But me and the elipses have a love affair. More powerful. Yesterday I was told that if I think something is too big or too outrageous – go bigger and bolder.

I love this place.

c-always
Reply

I, too grew up poor while my father was pursuing his phd.
It took him 5 years.
He sucked at quantum physics.

Luckily, none of us got sick.

It makes me nauseaous to think of the Americans in this country that are not worthy of healthcare and housing and the pursuit of happiness, simply because they can’t afford it..

I believe everyone has the right to medical care.
But
I am a sponge for Tricare Prime.

I pay $62 every 3 months and I also have a $12 co payment.

and I live off military pay alimony.

thank god.

My only problem is with the people who don’t have what I have.
How can anyone survive in this economy and pay 10 times what I pay?

We are broken, DD.

BubblesDeux
Reply

We are broken. I take a med because stress is killing me from the inside, out. With excellent insurance, I pay $85 for this med a month. That’s ridiculous.

When I was a kid, we had Medi-cal and/or VA benefits. Then I got married and got new VA benefits. Then ‘real’ insurance and have probably used up less than $10k in 20 years of insurance money. But I know I’ve spent a lot more than that on premiums. And again, I have good health insurance. Almost great.

Imagine if I didn’t and A needed something. Then I would be a terrible mother.

Sometimes it feels like there is just no winning. Yesterday I saw a Romney quote saying that the reasons ERs exist is to treat sick people. Which is it?

BubblesDeux
Reply

You have a new post up! I will read it later tonight. How are you? How have you been? Wait, you’re not here to have me pester you with questions. And no, it is most decidedly not always altruistic. That is its greatest lie.

Ele Lunette
Reply

btw, this is the one formerly known as zazzzou. in case you were wondering. :)

FreshGreenKim
Reply

I’ve shared my short lived experience with subsidized school lunches. (http://freshfreeemail.blogspot.com/2012/04/fresh-daily.html)

It can be completely dehumanizing and demoralizing. And I was 12.

Like you, I never want to ask for anything and I think you gave me some insight into why.

Thank you for sharing your tale. I’m proud to know you.

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