- Boskone — Boston February 17th-19th
- Helsinki Worldcon Agust 9th - 13th
- Bubonicon August 25th-27th, Albuquerque, NM
Is it a lack of empathy? An inability to ever put yourself in another person’s place? Fear? I’m trying to understand the actions of the Republican party. The food stamp vote was breathtaking in its pettiness and cruelty. Yes, there are a few cheaters, but the majority of people on food assistance are children. You’re going to take food out of the mouths of hungry children? Really? The other large block of people are the elderly. Talk about letting Granny die. And back to those people who game the system. Aren’t we the country that claims we’d rather see ten guilty men go free then one innocent man be wrongly executed? Let’s talk about the amount of money people receive while on SNAP. The average monthly allowance per person in the United States is $133.00. You try to feed yourself on that. It works out to $4.43 cents a day. A pound of bacon costs five dollars now. Let’s not even talk about the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. What can you eat on $4.43? Macaroni and cheese, pasta, a loaf of bread and some peanut butter. These modern day Scrooges then point to the fact the poor are fat as proof they are lazy and takers and all the other ugly things that are said about our less fortunate citizens. Yeah, their fat — they are forced to subsist on empty calories. Then there is the racial component. Most people on food assistance are single white mothers, but it has become code for lazy brown people thus tying back into our national shame, the legacy of slavery.
I look at this and realize that all I can do is up my donations to the local food bank. My hope is this cruel and evil measure never gets past the House of Representatives.
And let’s talk about health care — Is the ACA perfect? Of course not, but for literally millions of people it is a huge improvement, and may very well be a life saver. For the first time in their lives they will have health insurance. They won’t be facing — in the best case — bankruptcy because of illness, or in the worst case — death — because of lack of insurance. Running ads to convince people not to get health coverage is the height of irresponsibility. Let’s put aside the morality of denying basic health care to our fellow citizens. Let’s look at it from an economic stand point. By doing this the Republicans are encouraging people to continue to use emergency rooms which overloads the system and costs tax payers enormous sums. I thought they were all about protecting tax payers?
I’m grieving right now because I don’t recognize my country, or at least some of the people who share these borders with me. Americans are by no means perfect. We have a ugly racial history, we can be xenophobic, but one thing we weren’t was mean spirited. There used to be a sense that we were all in this together, and people helped each other. My dad told me stories of the kindness of strangers during the Depression. Now there is this “I’ve got mine, Jack!” attitude that is widening the gap between rich and poor. I’m just praying this fever breaks and we have a return to kindness and civility and an understanding of the plight of others before this Balkanization tears the country apart.