The other day, I was coming home from FNB in the park, and went past some carpenters listening to talk radio. Just the time it took to pass by left me feeling dirty. The hate coming from the radio was palpable. Why do people like that stuff?
All of my life I have been the object of somebody’s hate. My father was in the John Birch Society. Without really understanding much, I knew that all that and the white supremacist talk was just plain wrong. The hate was aimed at people who weren’t doing anything wrong. As far as I know, none of us chose what country we were born in, what color our skin, how wealthy our relatives are, what disabilities we were born with or would develop, what our baseline IQ is, what genes would be passed to us, etc, etc. I have often wondered how many people in the US have the advantages of health, brains and connections as compared to those who don’t? There are always a few people who do better than predicted. In the classic bell curve, most people are average….neither wealthy or poor.
Every once in awhile, someone will say I am rich because of all the money spent on my healthcare. Really? Given the choice, I would choose to NEVER need healthcare. Wouldn’t you? I didn’t invent Christian charity or the Golden Rule. I am a beneficiary of it. By the time I came along, most of the developed world understood that some people are more disabled than others, and need assistance from those more blessed with health and wealth. Most developed countries are less mean-spirited about helping seniors and the disabled than the US.
Over and over and over, we hear that social programs are bankrupting the country. Why do people believe that? It’s subsidies to corporations, bank disregulation, wars, low taxes for the wealthiest…and stuff like that. Most people who get all hateful and hot under the collar from talk radio don’t look any farther. They hear bogus ideas spouted and don’t do any fact checking. They are allowing themselves to be used as puppets, who then vote against their own interests! The very rich and powerful pick something controversial and harp on that, then they pursue the rest of their agenda, with the hopped up voters busy pointing their fingers at each other, instead of the people pulling the strings. Why are people letting this happen?
My personal corner of concern, besides global peace, a clean environment, freedom, social justice and all that, is disability. I have been treated poorly my entire life because of my illnesses and disabilities. Most people with disabilities are not happy to have them. Being sick and in pain is no fun at all. People don’t decide to go that route so they can then be despised and live on small amounts of “free” money. The money I get is needed and appreciated. It’s also far from free. I have spent most of my life feeling “less than” other people. I try to tune out the haters and the people jealous that I don’t work. I would GLADLY trade bodies with a healthy person so they can live on a pittance given to them, while I work at a job, go camping, dump the pain, weakness and illness and have FUN. I loved hiking and riding a bike, skiing, canoeing, pretty much any outdoor stuff like river rafting, fishing, swimming, flying kites, etc. I would rather work to earn my outdoor experiences than not have them! For a hater to tell me I would ruin my whole life just to get a few bucks, they are fricking crazy!
So, yes, I have quite the chip on my shoulder after being called a hypochondriac from childhood to now. I am regularly humiliated by being looked down on. I am sad that the things most people take for granted aren’t mine…walking, running, breathing comfortably, thinking clearly, remembering things, standing, swallowing, not having a fever, sleeping deeply and peacefully….
When I look at the positives about my life, I have learned to endure, to keep going whatever happens to me, to have faith in God, to appreciate the gift of my daughter, to find beauty everywhere, to be persistent, to keep hoping, to keep adapting and I truly appreciate the time I have had to think and learn.
A lot of what has happened to me during my life is invisible to the casual observer. The older I get, the more visible things are. But are they? Today I was crossing at a curb cut. A guy on a bike was inconvenienced because the curb cut was about the same width as my wheelchair and he wanted to ride his bike up on the sidewalk. He screamed “wide load coming through” at me as he laughed with derision. First off, he shouldn’t be on the sidewalk, second, he was obviously making assumptions about me. He is the exact sort of specimen I would love to put in my shoes for a month! I would love to hear his perspective after living my reality 🙂 I doubt he would make it a month.
Really, I was in tough enough shape when I got to Utah. Add West Nile Virus, a cancer scare, a botched hysterectomy, hernia, diverticulitis, intestinal fistulas, severe anemia and all the rest and dang, life keeps getting harder!
Yesterday I was talking to someone who knows about all the things going on with me. I was patting the beach ball sized hernia and saying I wasn’t even that big when I was pregnant. A clueless woman started yakking about how tough it is getting chubby there in our old age. I mentally punched her in the nose. Even my gigantic hernia is “hidden”. Tonight I took a pic of the hole in my belly. I realized my strangely shaped and positioned new belly button didn’t really help figuring out how much more I need to heal, so I held up a dime. I have come a long way from a humongous open belly wound!
One of the blogs I read had a link to this. Basically, I think we each know our own circumstances and have a hard time imagining someone else’s. The wealthy can’t even imagine how I feel or how tough it is to not have enough money for basic necessities. I can’t imagine having enough and not helping the next person. I guarantee the varying categories of belief are imagining very different people as “the poor”. By going along with envisioning someone willfully not working, eating lobster, having 10 kids with 20 different fathers and all that other made up drivel, denying me and others enough food stamps to eat decent food is not on their radar. My allotment is $1.05 per meal. Probably adequate in a third world country. Darn hard in the US.
Views of Poverty and the Poor
The public is split in their views of whether government aid to the poor is justified: While 44% say the poor “have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return,” about as many (47%) believe poor people “have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.”
Wide majorities of Steadfast Conservatives (86%) and Business Conservatives (77%) say poor people have it easy; they are joined in this view by 81% of the Republican-leaning Young Outsiders. By contrast, 86% of Solid Liberals think the poor have hard lives and that benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently; 71% of Hard-Pressed Skeptics agree. Smaller majorities of the Faith and Family Left (62%) and the Next Generation Left (54%) also say this.
In other news, the mountain lion died while tranquilized 😦
There was a huge protest at the police station today about the cop who shot a dog in its own yard.
We had a 4.2 earthquake.
FINALLY the UTA pass I won came in the mail! It’s worth $55 and is good for 7 days of unlimited travel on TRAX, FrontRunner and busses. I won it for my friend, Gordon. He sure looked happy when I gave it to him 🙂
My kid went berry picking. Look at that raspberry!!!!!!!!!!