Print Story In her sad America.
By technician (Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:57:22 PM EST) (all tags)
Being right ain't always right.

My grandmother is in a physical rehab hospital still...going on week four. She needs physical therapy to strengthen her legs and back. This is what happens when you don't get out of the house at all. I don't think it occurred to any of us that her only walking was from one side of the house to the other.

I don't have kids. The only thing I fear is being at the mercy of the state / whatever if I get to be 80-something years old. I don't know that I'll get to be that old (I keep thinking I should be dead by now! so by the time I hit 60 I my have to just make it so). Hopefully by then we'll be in a civilized country that has healthcare.

My father has, over the last 10 years, become very, very right wing. He'd always been left of center, but that last divorce took it out of him. She was very, very left wing, and he just reacted. He became a Fox News subscriber, buying into all of it. Living in northern California but parroting the Texas right-wing hardcore rhetoric, he was very much at odds with his surroundings and proud of it. During the run up to the election, he and I had a moment...he'd sent something via email, and I'd responded harshly, breaking down each idea with a vicious rebuttals, intending to be a complete bastard. To be fair, I'd had just about enough of him implying that I was an idiot. I was also in a severe amount of pain (back was out, badly) so my tolerance for being insulted was low. His response to that email was a very high-minded defense of his character...something I had not attacked...and an admonition that because he was my father, I had to respect his ideas and beliefs. "I don't know if it's because I brought you up thinking you could speak to me like that, or if it's because you think I'm just some guy and not your father..." That sort of thing. I'd apologized almost immediately, blaming the pain I was in for removing my usual ability to take a second and breathe before responding. He and I got past that, but it gave me pause. To be fair, he didn't "bring me up." My mom and stepfather were the main parents in my life from age 10 or so until my 20s. And he's not entitled to my respect by birth, though he is by action...and I do have a lot of respect for the guy. But that incident, combined with a few smaller altercations led to a night where we both sort of broke down and sorted things out. After all the crying and long-held issues were clear, we became what we should have been. He's a pretty amazing guy.

Recently, he shoved his entire life into a pickup truck and went into early retirement (at great expense to his future) to go take care of his folks full time in Virginia. Sold or gave away everything he owned that didn't fit into the back of his truck (which wasn't much), and paid through the nose to withdraw part of his retirement early, because at the core of the man is a set of beliefs that says: this is what we do. We take care of our own. We take care of our parents. We help each other.

Having had it out with him and reconciled, I see him differently and could care less about his whacked-out politics. While he has maintained a certain core set of southern male beliefs, he is faced with a distinct clash of beliefs vs. actual requirements. Right at this second, he has no health insurance. He is not yet old enough to qualify for government health care. He has a very, very small nest egg tied into an IRA. If he gets sick, or gets into an accident, and requires hospitalization, he will be bankrupted and in debt for the remainder of his life. "They can go after my retirement, my savings, hell even my truck," he tells me. "Who's going to take care of your grandparents if I'm laid up?"

I mentioned that the wife and I are a good financial resource, since we're manic about saving, but he dismisses the idea. "I want to pay my share, you know? But I don't want to pay $4800 a month" which is what he was actually quoted for independent insurance, since he has two common southern white male pre-existing conditions: hypertension and diabetes. I agree, it's silly. I tell him, hey, that's why we want a single-payer option, a government run public health care program like the one our old folks get, once that will compete and keep the prices down. Not that either side of our one party system has managed this feat....the dollars, always the dollars.

My father laughed when I mentioned this. "Yeah," he said, "sometimes things that are politics should not be." Sometimes? "OK, most things."

My grandmother is going to be OK, but she's in her 80s. Her America is helping her, taking care of her, but soon she'll be gone, and her America with it. Whatever happens after had better live up to her name. Whatever happens after had better help take care of her son, who's done everything right (and more than most would do). I'm not looking for a reward. I'm looking at simply caring for those who need it, regardless of the perceived and actual costs. I'll do everything I can, but it ain't much...each vote is only more proof, it seems, that politics is a separate universe from the one it controls.

In fifty years when I'm her age, if things are the same? I'll hopefully be dead or in Canada.

< I had a clever title and forgot it. | Notes and pictures on today's demo >
In her sad America. | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
two common southern white male by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:12:05 PM EST
pre-existing conditions: hypertension and diabetes.

Interesting (not surprising) that those are two common black male pre-existing conditions...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

more common, in fact by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #9 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:38:03 PM EST
... in blacks than in whites.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Can you claim refugee status? by marvin (4.00 / 2) #2 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:30:37 PM EST
I think having to live surrounded by rednecks in Texas should qualify you as a refugee.

We welcome you to Soviet Canuckistan with open arms. Pick the left coast.

toronto is cooler than bankrupt bc, no? by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:39:21 PM EST
Also, Ontario's Premier might not be as crazy.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
So very wrong by marvin (4.00 / 2) #4 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:48:55 PM EST
Ontario has a far higher provincial debt than BC. If you want to see Ontario in 20 years, look at the US rust belt today. In 2008, BC had a lower debt to discretionary income, and debt to GDP (Table 8) than Ontario.

While Gordon Campbell is not on my top 10 list of favourite politicians, BC has not had a crazy premier since the NDP in the 1990s, and VanderZalm in the 80s. Going back to our second premier, Amor de Cosmos, BC has tended towards colourful leaders. Give me crazy any day before someone like Bob Rae.

Oh, and Ontario sucks. Literally, given the mosquito and black fly populations. But at least Ontario has the Mounted Animal Nature Trail. All BC has is lame stuff like glaciers, fjords, the Rockies, the Okanagan, surfing in Tofino, and short winters.

[ Parent ]
consider me educated by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:04:58 PM EST

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
I'm 'merican by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:33:58 AM EST
but I was thrilled to see Arrogant Worms songs featured in your comment.
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
I've seen them twice in concert now by marvin (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:45:31 PM EST
First time was around 6 years ago in a ~300 seat theatre, the second at the Oliver Festival of the Grape back in October. Great fun.

My grandparents were all farmers in Saskatchewan, as were/are a few aunts/uncles and cousins. I love the Last Saskatchewan Pirate.

[ Parent ]
I never have by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:42:47 PM EST
My husband happened to be somewhere on a business trip, and discovered they were in town, so he got to see them, but I haven't. I'm still jealous.
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
now i've gotta dig out that album. by clock (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:03:34 PM EST
don't think it's on the iPod.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

I know, I know. by technician (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:27:40 PM EST
I don't have it anywhere nearby, so I've been playing tracks I found on YouTube.

[ Parent ]
Oh goodness... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:11:00 PM EST
In the UK nobody in your family would need to be worried about being bankrupt by being sick.

I have a friend with diabetes and she receives incapacity benefits from the government as well as free health care. Even during this horrific financial crisis all politicians agree that savings have to be made elsewhere, not in healthcare.

I just can't understand why half of you USians are so monumentally illogic.

The same reason marketing works. by technician (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:17:15 AM EST
(And religion).

But i think as those baby boomers get incapacitated and remain in huge debt, things will change....

[ Parent ]
Sixty-seven by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #14 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 07:53:42 PM EST
I tell people I'll be dead at sixty-seven and I don't think they quite understand what that means.

The response to your father should have, "I respect your thoughts, but you really need to respect mine too, and what you sent doesn't jibe with what I believe." 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
We sorted it all out by technician (4.00 / 1) #15 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 07:57:40 PM EST
one drunken night, like ya do. It was good: we got rid of a lot of crap and realized that, on the surface, we're very much different but the important bits are all inherited. At the core, he taught me very well what to be, and how to be it.

[ Parent ]
Naturally so by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #16 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 08:12:40 PM EST
My father is eighty-three years old and far more liberal than I am in some ways and far more conservative in others, but everything that forms the foundations of my belief structure come from him.  Self reliance, but with a helping hand when it's needed.  Over the years it's just developed differently in each of us. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
In her sad America. | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)