Thursday, February 12, 2009

Well shit

Every now and then (and by now and then I mean once every couple of years) my city does something right.

Seattle City Council shows support for universal healthcare.

People First

I talked to an old high school friend today. Once a year or so she and I IM or chat on the phone till one of us is called away by the daily grind of kids or work. She has 3 kids (two who are toddlers) and hubby got laid off recently. There are no job options for him in my old town, and she's thinking it's time to pack up the kiddies and see if there's a better place for them. She wants to know if Washington's social services treat people better than Nevada's does. I told her only slightly. The problem is that in Nevada, they think women should just go out to a brothel to feed their kids instead of relying on social services.

Another dear friend came over the other night for tortilla soup and box o' ritas (margaritas in a box- $6 on sale at Safeway). She's been out of a job for a year now. She spends hours and hours everyday sending out resumes and is on file with every temp agency in the city. She's stressed out cause her boyfriend has to play sugar daddy every time they go out, and he pretty broke too.

And me, well I'm stressed to the max. Ruth got into grad school (YAY Ruth!) but that means that come August 1 I'll have to move again. I don't know if there is anything out there I can afford. And my job may be non-existent come summer, forever, when the school sells off my program to another school. And I am turning my bedroom closet into a room for the Kid so we can shave a little bit of money off our rent and get another roommate. And the Kid is being his typical, awesome self about it. And his shoes need to be replaced. They are held together by teenage boy foot funk alone at this point.

And there are emails and comments from people I don't know who are losing their homes. And I don't know how to help them. And dear internet friends whose young relatives need $ for cancer treatments not covered by insurance. And I feel like a tool for being too stressed out to remember to post a link.

So I have to wonder, with all the stimulus talk and all the bank bailouts, what about us? We are not the margins. We are the real, living, breathing people who make up this country. We are not pork, though Republicans seem to think that any money that might go to help us a pork program and Dems are so eager to be bipartisan that they agree to it.

People first needs to be the motto of the day. Not banks, not bipartisanship, but people first. It is the people of this country, average everyday people like you and me, who do 70% of the spending. We buy the milk and the eggs and the shoes that keep the economy running. And when we have to choose between milk or medicine, shelter or shoes, then the economy dies. It doesn't matter how much you prop up banks. It doesn't matter how much you cut taxes. These are not the things that makes us able to buy bread and shampoo or to pay for electricity or cover the costs when the plumbing explodes (as ours has, repeatedly).

So when the news bunnies talk about the economy and talk about what the government is doing, remember that it won't help unless they put people first. We need housing and food and health care. We need education for ourselves and our children. And we need jobs that pay a living wage so that when things pick up again we won't have to live in debt to keep the economy going.

People first. If you help us out, things get better for everyone. If you ignore that, then it's gonna get worse.