Your greed and ignorance are not harmless

The right wing in this country loves to blame the victim.

Poor people are lazy and don’t deserve any help.

Sick people are at fault for their own illnesses.

Women deserve to be raped.

People of color deserve to be shot in the street, even when they’re unarmed.

They also expect the things they want to be paid for — you know, the roads they drive on, the electrical grid and the water systems they use, the military that gives their tiny dicks a hard-on.

Their attitude is “I got mine, get your own,” as they pass laws that make it impossible for others to get their own.

If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch Jimmy Kimmel talk about how his newborn son almost died but was saved because he had good insurance.

No one should have to watch a child die from neglect the way I had to.

And then Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Alabama) claimed that if people live a “good” life, they won’t “get” pre-existing conditions.

I had someone come onto my timeline this morning on Facebook who buys into that crap, hook, line and sinker. He claimed that people with pre-existing conditions should have taken better care of themselves, that their conditions come from personal choices.

I called him on his bullshit and he claimed it wasn’t victim-blaming, but a harmless point of view.

No, your point of view is harmless only if the outcome doesn’t harm someone. If you take away the pre-existing condition clause of the Affordable Care Act, more people will die the way my son did. That is not harmless.

My son was in no way responsible for having a birth defect. It was in no way his fault that he couldn’t find a doctor in Savannah, Ga., who would let him pay for his care in installments. My son did not choose to get colon cancer, and nothing in his lifestyle caused it. But my son died because he didn’t have — because he couldn’t get — insurance.

I have been healthy all my life, but I developed asthma a few years ago. Having insurance means I can manage it and it doesn’t get worse — and more expensive to treat.

My best friend developed type 2 diabetes in her 50s because she has a genetic predisposition. She exercises every day and eats very, very well. Because her insurance also pays for glucose testing supplies, she can manage her diabetes. Without insurance, she would develop life-threatening — and extremely expensive — complications.

My husband’s family has heart disease all through it, so no matter how much he exercised, no matter how healthy he chose to eat, he still developed coronary artery disease and needed bypass surgery, which saved his life.

My son didn’t deserve to die, but people still try to place the blame on him.

When I went to speak to a newly elected state senator about health care and told him Mike’s story, his first question was, “Was he working?”

Not, “Oh, my God, how does this happen in America in the 21st Century?” but “Was he working?”

My answer was that he was working and he was a full-time student with a 3.75 GPA, and he was a volunteer.

But then I had a question for him: “When did being unemployed become grounds for the death penalty? When did death for unemployment become part of the penal code?”

He had no answer. But he’s still against expanding Medicaid in North Carolina because he still thinks it’s OK to blame the victims of our society’s greed and self-centeredness for their own suffering.

Perhaps that’s more comfortable for them than facing the truth — that public policy is a moral thing, and that their willingness to let people die rather than have compassion for them is immoral on its face.

The person on my Facebook thread this morning asked why I get so upset over his “harmless opinion,” and I told him his opinion is neither harmless nor correct. I had pulled four instances of people with pre-existing conditions that were not their own fault. I had told him about how his opinion had led directly to people’s deaths, and he persisted in saying people are responsible for their own pre-existing conditions.

What’s worse, he said I should know that children can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. He was unaware that that’s a piece of the Affordable Care Act, and that’s not my opinion, that’s fact.

Until 2012, you were off your parents’s plan at age 19, unless you were a student and then the cutoff was 21. And if you had a pre-existing condition like little Billy Kimmel’s heart defect or my son’s birth defect, you somehow deserved to die.

It’s time we face the immorality of our public policy on health care, on the minimum wage, on education, on workers’ rights, on the environment, on housing, on income inequality.

It is not the fault of the victim, it’s the fault of every one of us who believe selfishness and greed are “harmless opinions.”

 

 

 

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