Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Congress, You Can Take This Job and Shove It

More than 16 years ago, I committed to the job of being the wife of a soldier. 11 years ago, I re-committed to the job of being the wife of a soldier, this time during wartime. A time when my soldier would have a deployment tempo that would have him gone almost half my 12 and 10 year olds' lives. I was committed. And I committed my children to the job of being the children of a soldier. But, now? You can take this job and shove it. Congress is no longer populated by people who come and go. It is populated with career politicians, people who truly cannot understand what it is like in every day America.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't understand what not getting paid can do to a family. What millions of federal workers are going to have to do to survive without a paycheck, one that may never come. What not getting paid can do to a person's credit. People so out of touch with reality that they don't truly grasp that the majority of Americans live pay check to pay check. And many of those are federal workers.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't understand what not getting paid does to your disposable income. What shutting off the income of millions of people all at once can do to an already damaged economy. 

People so out of touch with reality that they don't understand that people can't support their families on $7.25 an hour, even if both adults are working full time, sometimes two and three jobs, just to try to get by. Don't see the children coming to school with a handful of cereal in their lunch boxes because they packed it themselves while their crackhead mother slept on the couch. Don't see the children that schools don't allow to eat lunch because they forgot their lunch money.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't know what it's like to have doctor after doctor turn you down for care because they don't accept your insurance. The fact that only one gastroenterologist in a city the size of Louisville accepts Tricare or Medicaid because those programs don't pay enough to keep the lights on. Don't see the soldier who was shot, whose convoy was attacked, who has PTSD, but whose treatment is denied by the VA. Who don't understand that we need real, true health care reform.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't know what it's like to try to teach a class full of students who barely speak English. Students who look and sound like a mini-United Nations. Students whose parents are so whacked out on drugs that they rarely even know where their kids are, let alone how they're doing in school. Students who don't know what it feels like to have someone care about them. Students whose only meals are eaten at school. Who go home on Friday to look forward to a weekend without food. Students who can't learn. Can't, because they don't have the infrastructure to do so. But we expect them to come to school Monday ready to learn and pass those tests.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't know what it's like to have to decide between putting food on the table or taking your sick child to the doctor. How by the time you decide to go to the doctor, your child is well and truly sick. How that trip to the emergency room could mean the end of all your family's hopes and dreams.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't know what it's like to have to worry about being able to pay for college. How even saving for college from the time your child is thought of might not be enough, because the cost of college is much higher than the poverty line.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't see the children who have grown up in the United States, the children of illegal immigrants, illegal themselves, brought here at such a young age that they don't remember living anywhere else. Some not even speaking the language of their birth country. How 'returning' to the country of their birth in an effort to attain legal residency in the only home they've ever known is impossible because they just can't afford it.

People so out of touch with reality that they respond to every letter and email of concern with a form letter. A letter that touts whatever talking point they want to make. Usually reassuring the recipient that such and such isn't going to happen, when that was not the recipient's concern at all. Refusing to listen to constituents' concerns, unless those constituents happen to be backed by checkbooks.

People so out of touch with reality that they don't understand what reality is in America. The reality of struggle. The reality of pain. The reality of love. The reality of chasing a dream. The reality of attaining that dream against all odds. The reality of watching that dream slip through your fingers. 

Things need to change. And right now, this instant? If Congress can't do their job, why should I have to do mine? Why should I have to live with endless deployments and absences? Why must I have to deal with the stress of waiting to find out whether or not we're going to get paid? I'm looking for a new job. I think I'll title it "Head of Vote Your Congressman Out of Office."

2 comments:

  1. I would like to give a hearty AMEN to this. Of course minus the deployments.

    Stephanie Mushonga (been stalking your blog for a while) :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said - if only the career politicians were listening.

    ReplyDelete

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