Hobbled to Work
There’s a woman I know, an acquaintance, who epitomizes the people that I think most politicians, and many people forget or don’t even consider. Yesterday I watched as she tried to accomplish her daily routine.
This woman is middle aged, maybe a little older. She is not physically fit, but she is not really overweight either. She is unkempt. She may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I don’t really know since I have never had an intellectual discussion with her. She is shy to engage in conversation. Like many who service our daily expectations, she is accustomed to being invisible.
As I walked down the block I saw her exit her car with a quad cane. She then gingerly made her way up onto the curb with the aid of her cane and her car’s fender. She then carefully leaned over to extract a stack of newspapers from her car and attempt to carry them into the store. I hurried to catch up to hold the door for her. The store has a fairly high step up, and then a heavy door to open. I was pleased to hear that the building’s maintenance person assisted her with some of the papers that went to other floors.
Our paper delivery person broke her ankle over a year ago. For a long time she struggled to still drive her standard transmission car, which is a bit of a bear in a downtown setting with it’s frequent stops.
For those of us with good jobs in this University town, her daily struggle would not be ours. Though we might struggle with co-pays and medical bills not completely covered by our insurance, we would have access to pretty good care. Most likely we would be able to lay up for a while using our sick days and disability insurance. Disability doesn’t pay much, but it’s something.
This woman would have to pay someone to do her route for her. Oh – the paper might cover her route for a day or so. That’s why they go through supervisors like a chain smoker goes through matches. Any absences means the supervisor has to run those routes. But she is considered to be a contractor, and is expected to have her own backup. And those routes don’t pay well at all. After gas/oil/repairs on your delivery vehicle, there isn’t much left over.
So for the past year, in rain, snow, ice, this woman has been hobbling around town, fulfilling her customers’ orders as best she can. Ever politely. She is not some lazy leech on society. She is a hard working person, doing a legitimate job to the best of her ability, and she certainly deserves a little help from whatever social safety net we have, more than the R2’s and their buddies need bigger tax breaks. Thousands of dollars for your dancing, therapeutic horse Sir Romney? How about some physical therapy for a woman struggling to walk?
Could Romney or Ryan ever imagine what this is like? I expect Obama has had a bit more contact with folks in these desperate straights. No, most of our ‘deciders’ have no idea – they have ‘people’ to do things for them. Perhaps it was FDR’s wheelchair that brought him, a wealthy man, to have compassion for others. He struggled to maintain an image, and to complete his work while doing so. That struggle which must have been exhausting, and I am sure painful, could have brought him an understanding of what the wo/man on the street deals with on a daily basis.
When did it become considered looney toons liberal to care for our neighbor? When did compassionate Christian Conservatives lose their compassion? Why does it seem that only Lefty Lucy and Lou can see the hard working folks who can’t make it on the crumbs trickling down from those off-shore investment accounts?