The following was submitted by Rick Day, a regular reader and commenter who usually has a unique approach to most issues of the day. We are posting at his request.
There was a recent post about a Twitter war over dirty politics about a suicide.
Lost in the fracas of social media faux pas nuance and Obamacare blather, the real story was conveniently ignored.
The story of Randy Bell. I know his story because it is going on right now in my extended family.
Oh, I’m sure for many it’s easier to type about ‘civil conversations’ in social media while ignoring Mr. Bell’s creepy politeness about the mess he was about to make.
“Tell the coroner the door is unlocked. I’ll be in the shower”. Dang, just too much pain to think about. Who wants to cry over a stranger’s desperation when there are political points to make?
“Thanks for being my friend.”
The only difference between Bell’s plight and that of my ex-wife Susie is that she has someone. She worked all her life and was employed by the University system in TN when she too suffered a stroke, Christmas Day. She too lost her sight and mobility. She too has lost everything she saved. She too is in that limbo between COBRA and Medicare/Medicaid. She makes $213 a month too much to qualify for public assistance. Her COBRA payment is $600 a month. She brings in $1325. Our son can’t work. He is her full time caregiver.
My son will be 30 in 3 weeks, the prime of adulthood. Instead of working, paying taxes living life and consuming, he is the only thing that keeps her from going the route of Mr. Bell. And she has begged him to let her go the route of Mr. Bell.
Who among us, given Susie and Randy’s new reality, would not consider such options?
Almost as worse, who would want to be the full time caregiver to someone who has to stay at home, until qualifying for some arbitrary age triggered benefit? Look over at your spouse or parent. Willing to be that person responsible for changing their diaper while you watch them mentally deteriorate? Alone? 24/7? Would you sacrifice like this if it would save a nickel on your taxes? Do you expect others to?
Randy, Susie, our son – these are the faces of the ‘leeches’ who live off the public dole the right labels as a problem. These are the faces politically focused people seem to ignore in the general conversations about all things government. Like the post did regarding the real story behind the tweets; it ignores the uncomfortable reality of the existence of this very real problem.
So what about Randy? Well to most, he was a byline in a blog post; petty bickering at the post funeral pot luck lunch. To me, he was a man, more worried about his dog’s comforts than his own. I would have liked this man, if I had known him. And he allowed it.
Ultimately, aren’t we are all only one random clot away from being in Randy’s situation?
I don’t want thoughts or prayers for Susie or Randy. Save them for your school ball teams. I want you all to be aware *again* that this issue has substance and is impacting real lives, not fodder for policy wank. PLEASE hold on to your human side, when making political points. Acknowledge and address the human impact of your position.
I felt the story of Randy Bell deserved a front page revisit from a different perspective. Thank you for allowing it.