Mitt- it’s no secret that you and I may not see eye to eye, especially as you have been getting dragged closer and closer to the fringes of the right. But Mitt, I’m really, personally insulted by your opinion of “47%” of American’s that you think see themselves as “victims” that won’t take “personal responsibility for themselves.”
I’d like to introduce you to one of those so called “victims”. The ones you think are self made “victims” because of a lack of “personal responsibility”. Her name is Mom. My mom. She actually is a victim, but also one of the strongest, most hardworking women I have ever met. Let me tell you a little bit about her.
She’s worked hard starting at the age of 13 (back in the 70’s in our state- she could work under “family” laws at a local drive in). At the age of 17 (after graduating High School) she moved out of her parent’s house, started putting herself through nursing school and left as soon as she got her LPN degree. Not exactly an RN- but it’s what she could afford to do, to get the job she wanted to get. She worked at the same hospital for almost 30 years. While she raised me, she worked nights (12 hour shifts starting at 6pm) so she could be home during the day to spend time with her daughter. She left a horrible marriage, in which she was abused physically and mentally, with nothing more than what would fit in her car and her daughter. She got nothing in the divorce but her daughter. And she kept building her life, she kept taking responsibility. She kept thriving.
She married her High School sweetheart, and while they both come from modest means, they wanted their 2 daughters and son to go to college. Having been raised by a tight knit family, she took care of her In-laws. Taking them into her home, keeping them out of a nursing home, and providing healthcare that she had been trained to do. After her mother-in-law passed away, she requested to get her hours changed (she had switched to days when her children all started school) back to evenings to be home with her father-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s. At that point, she served on several committees with really rich people like you Mr. Romney. People who work on hospital boards as a hobby, and was the only member without a full 4 year+ college degree. She was valuable and hard working and provided input to policy that positively impacted the hospital she worked at.
When she asked for an accommodation in her schedule, her direct supervisor (threatened by her knowledge and network) said it was impossible and she would have to quit. The hospital administrators were so distraught over this situation that they offered her a job in another department. But my mom decided it wasn’t worth it. The hospital (being run by hobby philanthropists and business men more interested in $$ than people-sounds familiar doesn’t it?) wasn’t what it was when she started. My mom, as she’s always done, chose her family. She quit, so her father-in-law wouldn’t be a burden on anyone else. Her family made it work, she took odd jobs catering and more. After her father-in-law passed away, she got back into her career with a local hospice and was happy there.
And then, Memorial Day of 2008 came. She was getting a ride 1 mile up the road, back to her car after visiting some friends at a Memorial Day Party. A friend of a friend offered to take her on his motorcycle, and she got on- knowing the driver was not known to drink while riding his bike (it was his baby, after all). As they headed west on the busy road, a young man in a big pick-up truck took a left hand turn in front of them. That split second- a second that wasn’t her fault, changed her from a courageous, independent woman- who never dreamed she would need the social security, medicare/medicaid, and insurance policies, into a woman who in your eyes, Mr. Romney, is a “Victim”. By the way, that truck driver, can still take personal responsibility for his own life, but he sure as heck isn’t taking responsibility for his role in my mom’s new world.
That day, she broke almost every bone in her body. If she had been wearing a helmet, she would have died- the impact so severe, the weight of a helmet would have snapped her neck. She was in the hospital 6 weeks, before she was kicked out because her insurance dictated it. She was in a rehab facility for another 6 weeks until she was kicked out of there, again because of insurance. Finally, she came home- was unable to get physical therapy that was affordable, so she did it all her self. She was lucky- she had LPN training.
Unfortunately, she’s not so lucky, because she still is in pain everyday. Not little, complaining because I have a sliver pain. Serious pain, Mr. Romney. Pain that means when she’s having a bad day, she can barely move out of the bed. And because she’s on medications that are legal narcotics- so controlled that she has to provide a driver’s license, pee tests, and other proofs to make sure she’s taking it and not selling it, she can’t work. It is impossible for her to return to her previous line of work, and sitting at a desk all day without her leg elevated makes her leg swell to the point that she can’t wear shoes.
Mr. Romney, the saddest part of this entire post, is that until the other day, I think she may have been interested in voting for you- based on some of your other policies. She’s always has such a poker face where politics are concerned- I’m honestly not sure where she stood. What I can tell you, Mr. Romney, is that she is a victim of a legitimate accident. But she’s never seen herself as a victim. She worked hard to provide for her family and security. She paid into her social security and other taxes. She and my father still pay property taxes on the house they were lucky enough to not loose in this entire ordeal. Their savings is gone, and we were uncertain until Federal Student Loans came through, if my brilliant brother would be able to go to college (since they can’t get any private loans at the moment).
But she can never go back to not depending on the government, in order to have a healthy life and ensure that an insurance company will never drop her coverage or deny her because of this incident that she didn’t cause. It runs deeper than that, though- because there are a lot of things she’ll never be able to do. She’ll never be able to play on the floor with her grandkids (a thought that fills my eyes with tears at this moment), she’ll never be able to snowmobile or ride comfortably in a ski boat again, or go tubing. She’ll never be able to have the amazing mother/son dance she has probably dreamed about since she gave birth to her little boy 18 years ago. She’ll have difficulty traveling anywhere, and thank goodness she saw Europe before her accident, because a 10 hour plane flight is next to impossible for her. She’ll never be able to grow her Catering business like she planned, because being on her feet for more than 10 minutes is painful. And because of these things, Mr. Romney, she really is a victim.
The thing is, she would never admit it- and you calling her that, makes you even more out of touch with the human race than I thought possible.