Friday, September 28, 2012

The 47%

My sister and I came from a family that some would consider privileged. We were affluent in the fact that we never wanted for anything. We spent our childhood moving around the country from city to city, state to state as my father changed jobs frequently to make sure we had it all. Eventually, when my parents marriage fell apart, things got a little rougher but at that point, I was of an age where I was able to get a job (or 3) and support myself.

When I married, I married for love. My husband came from a blended family that was much less fortunate than mine but we loved each other greatly. We both spent the first 3 years of our marriage working. Working hard and saving what we could so that when I had our first child, I was able to stay home with him.

To say we struggled financially is an understatement. Between my husband losing job after job for various reasons and the cost of living raising at an alarming rate, along with adding a second child to our household, money was tight. We had no health insurance and very little money for food, but we never turned to government assistance. We struggled along and did the best we could. I continued my part time Nanny job to provide as much extra as I could and he worked two jobs to put food on the table. I suppose it was part pride and part trying to keep our chins up and not give in.

Plus, I had love. Love for him and love for my two young sons. It was important to us that they have a parent at home. Partly because young children need a parent but also because even if I had managed to find a full time job, the cost of childcare is outrageous to the point it was cheaper for me to stay home. That was the thing that saw me through the years of mental and emotional abuse that had become something that, without health insurance, I simply denied myself the luxury of seeking help for. I stuck in and held on with fingernails, trying to fix what was beyond my control.

Then, in February of this year, my beloved husband, the one I had loved and lived for, walked out. He packed his bags and walked away from our two beautiful young boys and his wife of 7 years. Why is something that is between him and God but without him supporting us since then, I have had to rely on bits and pieces of government assistance in order to feed and care for the health of both me and my boys.

Do I regret having to rely on government assistance to keep us safe and healthy?

No. I do not.

In the time he has been gone, things have been hard on us. Hard financially, despite me getting a job, and hard emotionally. Being thrust into single parenthood head over heels was a shock to all of our systems. Both mine and the boys. We had our love for each other. We persevered and I made sure that the boys felt as little of the burn as possible but still, they did have a hard time adjusting to a life where little luxuries had all but disappeared.

Here's the thing though, I am finally getting the help that I was in such desperate need of with regards to my health (which was way worse off than I had ever imagined), my oldest son has been able to undergo therapy and care that has helped him learn to deal with his energy and confusion about our situation, and we have not had the burden of being scared to death to call a doctor if something is wrong.

We have had food on the table where we would have simply gone hungry. We have had shelter we would have otherwise been denied or been able to afford. We are alive and well.

Then there is the statement that I feel entitled to this kind of help.

That's a load of honkey.

For someone to come along and try to make me feel guilty for doing what it took to protect my children is complete and utter bullshit. If I had felt entitled to it we would not have struggled when my husband was still with us. Who knows, it might have even kept him home to have some of that strain relieved. My boys and I would not have waited around to even apply for help for as long as we did.

The truth of the matter here is that sometimes, especially when the economy is in the pit its in and you are thrust into a situation beyond your control, people need help. Someone with as much money as Governor Romney, may not understand what it is like to literally go hungry for days at a time so that your child can eat. I know that feeling because I have lived it in order to fight going on public assistance.

I know what it is like to be denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions and to live every day in unbearable pain from and arthritis or fibromyalgia episode because you can't get the most basic of care. I have the debt to prove that public assistance was not my first choice when my oldest broke his arm or when my heart damn near gave out because of the stress surrounding my situation. Where would that have left my children?

It boils down to this: I think I can speak for most of the rest of the "47%" when I say that a line was crossed. I don't appreciate being lumped in with people who are truly using the system. I don't deny it happens. Heck, I probably know a few people who do. Fact is though, its wrong to accuse people of abusing something without finding out their individual story and what is going on that is causing them to rely on assistance. I'm waiting on my call Mr. Romney.

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