For the past three years or so, I’ve had my house cleaned once a month–an indulgence I justify to myself on the grounds that it frees up time I can use to write and teach. The woman who does the cleaning lives on a farm in Johnson County; most months, she brings her two teenagers with her. She has been utterly dependable, and has a key to the house; on “cleaning days,” I generally leave her money on the dining room table and go about my business.
Last Friday, I came home while the “crew” was still here. The teens were working, but their mom was sitting in her car in front of the house. The boy explained that his mother had had a heart attack that Monday.
I was appalled. Why on earth didn’t she postpone? Why was she driving? The son agreed. Looking concerned, he explained that she was worried about losing me (and others) as a client if she wasn’t dependable–and that he and his sister can’t drive. I went to talk to her–to reassure her that I would have been fine with a postponement, that her health should come first–and I asked her about health insurance. She had Medicaid, she said, but “that doesn’t pay the light bill or put food on the table.” She assured me that she’d “be fine.”
Tell me again about Paul Ryan’s description of the “lazy” poor, and the “substandard” work ethic nurtured by their “culture.” Tell me again about Mitt Romney’s disdain for the 47% of Americans who just want to live off the “makers.” Tell me again about those constant Fox News’ stories about people who “rip off” taxpayers and live high on that generous social safety net we provide.
How many of the self-satisfied assholes who look down their noses at the growing numbers of struggling Americans would get out of their beds three days after a heart attack and go to work?
And how can the richest country in the world justify a system in which that’s necessary?