I’ve basically never complained about this to anyone who isn’t really close to me. Once, I posted something on Facebook but I took it down out of some kind of shame. But I’m not going to hide it now. Here’s the spiel:
I have a job that I love. I love it. Every day, I look forward to going to work.
But right now, I get paid on wage payroll. It’s hard to pay rent, car insurance, child support, student loan debt, electricity, food and have something fun for my kid to do and have a few beers and cups of coffee during the week. My retirement is gone and I’m 39. My paychecks are basically always taken to the end and sometimes I have to ask my mother for help.
I have no health insurance and am lucky that I’m healthy. I’m lucky to have so many good people around me who do me favors. People who support me by paying for my vacations or let me IOU bike repairs. I’m so lucky to be in an area that is rich in natural beauty and places because it keeps me pretty healthy and happy. I’m so much more fortunate to live where I live and be as loved and supported as I am than most everyone.
I am so much more grateful than I am despondent. But…But…
Like “Middle Class Blue Collar Man,” anyone who would call me lazy would be insane. You can’t tell me to get an education: I have a PhD, have won teaching awards, research awards, writing awards, and blah blah blah. I’m fortunate that my partner works at an organic farm and I can work there too by helping at the market and work in the fields (what was that about laziness?). We eat pretty healthy.
And do not…DO NOT try to tell me that shit’s hard and sometimes you have to rise to the challenge. I love challenges. I fear them sometimes…most of the time, but I will take them on because where fear lives you grow.
There are fair challenges and there are unfair challenges. I’ll take the fair challenges (self-mastery, doing more with less) but not unfair challenges. If the world we live in were more controlled by the Koch Brothers and their policy apparatchiks, I’d be screwed worse and my whole line of work would be eviscerated. It would be nothing but unfair challenges that make money for the rich and leave people like me with less and less. Oh I suppose we can be happy living in deep poverty. Lots of people in poor places are happy. Most of them haven’t been systematically pulled into an economic system of massive personal debt for your educations and debt that eats away at your soul.
I don’t want charity. I want fair shakes. I’m at the top of the ladder for people who have a hard time. My god. What would it be like if I were a woman with a kid, black, or Muslim in this country with my challenges? Or all three? Or disabled? People like me and in much more challenging circumstances–let me repeat that…much more challenging circumstances–have herculean struggles every day for reasons that are built into this country’s socioeconomic system by design.
Do you get that? By design. This nation’s economy has been designed FOR structural inequality to keep wealthy people wealthy and help them continue to accumulate more wealth at everyone else’s expense. They talk about income redistribution. What the hell do you call a fossil fuel subsidy? I’d call that corporate welfare that benefits Rex Tillerson and his stock holders at Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers. The wealthy fossil fuel magnates can become more magnanimous at everyone else’s expense. And they don’t even have to pay for their environmental damage or the health impacts of their business model. And they can have Exxon credit cards so that we can go into debt to them more personally, as if our tax dollars weren’t enough for them.
So it’s personal for me. The Republican hacks running for president talk about freedom and initiative and responsibility. Well sirs, walk in someone else’s shoes. Mine are the nicest fitting of the poor in this country. I really do live at poverty level now. It’s time you started paying attention to what people really need instead of being led by talking bags of money.
So this is why I’m with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. He understands and has committed himself to acting on economic, racial, social and environmental justice. He knows that they are all connected and that they have to be connected for the health of everyone instead of the wealth of a few.