I am ashamed to say the things I am about to. I recently attended an orientation for my daughter’s new school. I’m going to get real raw and honest here, and say that I truly felt a twinge of frustration that there weren’t more people “like me” at this class. I was relieved to find one of my friends there, but I’m embarrassed to admit that the generally low-income appearance and mannerisms that were there made me question my decision. I’m not proud of that. I wish I could say that my easy, middle-class life hasn’t made me overly comfortable. I wish I could carry with me constantly the compassion and love I’ve learned over the last two and a half years ministering to women at our local strip club. I wish I didn’t wonder that if the classes were filled with lower income children, if my daughter’s education would suffer. I wish I didn’t…but I did.
Because it’s comfy here. It’s very comfy in the middle class. Especially if you’re like us. I am married, middle-to-upper class, living in a beautiful home, have two kids in expensive sports, and we have a comfortable, six figure income. I drive a new SUV and I drink as much drive-through coffee as I can stomach. It’s comfy up here, and I feel sick to my stomach about it. So Trump’s proposed budget doesn’t really affect me. But it ripples out into people I love and care about, and I think we would all realize, if we thought about it, that it affects all of us because we are all human.
It’s comfy up here, where I am not an elderly person depending on Meals on Wheels for my next meal and companionship (which my elderly grandmother depended on recently). It’s easy when we are not having our electricity shut off, or needing assistance to pay our heating bill in freezing Oregon winters, like my friend who is a single mom supporting two little ones.
It’s comfy up here, where my children have a fridge full of food, and I don’t cry myself to sleep wondering where their meals are going to come from. It’s comfy not living in a third world country, where funding is going to be cut to prevent famine and disease. I am not the mama mashing together dirt and rocks and water to fill my children’s stomachs.
It’s comfy here, where I am not a parent of a child with in incurable disease. When I don’t have to wonder if there will ever be a cure for the things that plague my children. I’ve met parents who wonder if anyone will ever care about their baby, laying in a hospital bed. Because President Trump wants to de-fund large portions of lifesaving medical research.
It’s easy here, where we have educational options for our children. It’s easy when you can afford piano lessons and sports and investment in the arts for your daughters, and not wonder if they are getting a subpar education. It’s easy when I don’t have a child with special needs, and when I am not fighting for a place for my child to learn. Because guess what…the arts and special education are not priorities in this new administration.
It’s comfortable when we have insurance. It’s easy when I can deal with hearing loss for my daughter by lightly paying the co-pay and scheduling all the appointments. It is not easy when you are choosing between healthcare and groceries. And I WAS someone making those decisions just five and a half years ago when we were extremely low-income.
It’s very easy to dismiss the crumbling of our country by erecting higher walls, and buying bigger weapons. But the kind of world I want my girls to grow up in, is not one where the over-arching message is this:
“If there is something wrong with you, if you are elderly, disabled, low-income, intellectually challenged, poor, or unable to work, well…we just don’t really care about you.”
So, it’s pretty comfy where I am at, but I am sick about this today. I am disappointed in a President who has done exactly what he has promised: disregarded people who aren’t good enough to meet his standard. We’ve got to stop letting this happen, America. We have to be able to look our neighbors and our friends in the eyes, and say,
“I am willing to be uncomfortable to understand your challenges. I will be uncomfortable to stand up and say, enough is enough. Because every person in America matters, and we stand up for our own”.