The media says we are looking for handouts. Critics accuse us of being funded by sources, and allying with Communists. The specter of McCarthyism is stronger now than it has ever been. In the wake of that, I feel it necessary to share more of my personal story. The following was posted online and explains a lot about why I joined the Occupy movement:
As the Occupy movement continues to gather steam, it has been frustrating explaining to people over and over again that this is not some socialist or anarchist uprising, but rather the combined frustration of people TRYING to make a better life for themselves, only to find the deck stacked against them.But people will believe whatever is convenient.Rather than investigate, learn, and study the facts for themselves, they would rather put people in boxes and make sweeping accusations, no matter how hurtful those accusations may be.
If I had a hundred dollars for every time someone has called me a socialist or accused me of being unAmerican, I would BE part of the 99%.
I've told part of my story, now I feel it's time to tell a bit more.Three years ago, I honestly felt we were getting out of the woods. As I pulled my credit report, most of our bad credit was ready to roll off (or so I thought -- I hadn't learned of the legal loopholes corporations use to keep bad credit from EVER coming off of your credit report). If we simply paid our bills and managed our money wisely, we were within 18 months of being ready to move on to a better future. In addition, I was two semesters away from earning my degree, so i would come out of it with increased earning potential.
We didn't have health insurance, though. I made $22,000 a year, and there were no plans available for less than $650 a month. Yes, the kids qualified for CHIPs, but I let the same people who call me a socialist for marching talk me into believing that applying for CHIPS made us leeches on society and somehow lesser human beings. In short, I believed the Republican lie. I wanted it to be true because I saw it as a map for a better life for my family.
One morning, my thirteen year old daughter came into the room. She said she had pulled something in her arm at the playground the night before and couldn't move her arm. I took her to the ER, our only option, and she was diagnosed with a broken arm. The total bill, when it came to us, was over $11,000.
Two weeks and one day later, we were preparing to take her to the doctor's for followup, and our then 4 year old came screaming out of his bedroom. He had pinched off the tip of his finger in the closet door. Amy headed one way to the doctor with Destiny, I headed the other with Quinn to the emergency room. Another $5,000.
We did not qualify for indigent care because we actually made money. I could not apply for CHIPS because we did not have certified copies of the birth certificates for the kids, and, at $25 apiece, could not afford to purchase them and pay the rent and keep the utilities paid in the time required for medical assistance to cover them. When we tried to make payment plans with them, they shrugged off the $25 a month I offered. "Not enough". They wanted $400 a month minimum, or a payment plan at 14% interest. I couldn't even pay the INTEREST on that plan!
I finished my degree, and am making better money but still not good money. We had the fortune to find a house that had been abandoned and purchase it via tax bid for less than $1000. We had to clear out a LOT of garbage and brush, and put a new meter loop on, and the sewer and roof will need replaced as soon as we can afford it, but it's ours. But because of my credit, I am automatically disqualified for many of the jobs for which I carry all of the paper qualifications, education and experience needed to obtain. I currently pay 25% of my income for health insurance premiums, and when insurance premiums are paid, I take home about $24,000 a year. It's not enough.
I'm not asking for redistribution of wealth; I'm asking simply for an honest wage for honest work. For our working class families to have hope and a future as well, and not to have the American Dream be the domain of the privileged few. When your child coughs in the middle of the night, you shouldn't have to ache with them because you cannot get cough medicine for them, or sit out a fever wondering IF you should seek medical care. We should, we can, be better than that.