Fifteen minutes seems like a long time to write when you are sitting here being so irritated that it’s hard to think about anything else. I guess it’s my own mistake for spending the last hour or two scrolling through various media posts about the decisions that are being made in my country of origin.
You’ll note that I didn’t use the words “home country” there.
Since last November, I have had the same feelings that I think many Americans abroad have had. Namely, confusion, incredulity, disbelief, and disconnection. Today’s decision by the House to force through their destructive health care agenda at all costs is just another nail in the coffin of what I thought the United States of America was.
It was so easy to believe for a long time that the vast majority of people just wanted what was best for themselves and their loved ones. I’m sure that’s still true for the average person, but at what cost?
Looking at the celebratory pictures from the White House this afternoon (classy move, gents), and looking at all those men, I wonder if they even know the women in their lives. Because if you can find, and prove, that a single one of those men does not have a family member who has been sexually harassed, groped, or raped, I will give you all the money in my bank account. I don’t know a single woman who that has not happened to. It may have been a small thing, and it may have been the worst possible thing, but that does not change the fact that incidents like that in the future will have the ability to ruin that person’s health for the rest of their lives. And what’s their crime? In the most cases, being female.
Like being raped isn’t bad enough.
And if it’s not that? Like a person who has cancer (again, find me one of those middle-aged white dudes who has never met a cancer patient), should have to worry about going broke for life EVEN WITH INSURANCE. I shouldn’t have witnessed students collecting money for their uninsured friends who were newly diagnosed when I was in university (crowdfunding, the old-fashioned way), but these things happened.
You know what BV had never seen before in his life until we got together and I went on a private German health insurance policy? A doctor’s bill. When I went on German insurance, we discovered that I have an autoimmune disorder. How is that my fault and why should I be penalized for it? Well, I daresay that’s a preexisting condition so I’m probably screwed now if I want insurance Stateside. Cool. Cool cool cool.
If one of my students here breaks their leg, do you know what they do? Stay home until the cast comes off and they can get around again. Do you know how much they worry about losing their jobs if they’re off for “too long”? Not much. Do you know how much the care for that broken bone costs them? Probably not, and I doubt they do either in most cases.
This is a bit of a semi-incoherent rant, but that’s the way it is. I don’t understand my country anymore. I don’t know what happened to the good Christian value of “love thy neighbor”. I don’t remember the asterisk that informed you that the decree only applied if they looked like you, talked like you, and didn’t carry a designer bag while buying groceries with food stamps. If the population looks out for, supports, and genuinely takes care of each other, EVERYONE benefits. We can talk all day about how to improve lives and the conditions of the community, but it’s all lip service. When it comes down to it, everyone is out for themselves. It’s not the goddamned Wild West anymore, it’s 2017 and that is not how the world works.
The United States is one of the most diverse, fascinating, and innovative countries in the world. Why they currently seem hell-bent on turning back the clock is beyond me. I don’t often get the question of “when are you coming home” anymore, but I think that’s a good thing. With every passing day, the chances of that happening seem smaller and smaller. I’ve seen the other side, and going backwards is no way to live.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.