I’ve tried think of a way to say this, eloquently, dignified. But then I break into the crying and it won’t stop, not even when my mouth stretches wide open, no sound coming out but ugly squeaking, saliva dripping out like thin strands of mucus.
My partner lost his job. He lost his job exactly one month before I am set to lose mine. My contract wraps up, and with the political climate being what it is, there’s next to nothing to move on to.
It was going to be hard for us to navigate living on just one income. I have been lining up part time work and side jobs. And we were going to be ok. It’d be hard, but we’d be ok.
Then the news came. We live in Michigan, and the news comes all the time for all people.
I’ve got a kid who just had major reconstructive surgery and is in physical therapy. I am being treated for auto-immune illness. We don’t have insurance anymore. We live in Michigan, this happens all the time.
The day after we found out, I looked on the website of my kid’s school to find out about the free lunch program. We are a family that was living pay check to pay check. No more paycheck means no more food. Food insecurity is a fact of life in Michigan. Entire school districts are on free lunch programs because this is Michigan. Pink slips are a fact of life.
That very same day that I looked for information on the free lunch program, news that Betsy DeVos wants to get rid of the free lunch program dinged all over my social media. The level of vindictiveness. The level pure vile evilness. What kind of God allows it?
Politicians in Michigan implemented a drug testing policy for welfare recipients. Because they don’t want food money going to parents, who apparently use the money meant for food for children to buy drugs. They don’t. But politicians spend a lot of time trying to convince us they do.
But at the same time, the most direct way to feed hungry children without parent interference is through the free lunch program.
And they want to end it.
They want our children to go hungry.
The ugly cry, the ugly tears. They won’t stop.
We’ll be ok. We always are, someway, somehow. We don’t need health insurance to live, like some people do. We have degrees, we have work history.
But when you go off on how ‘glad’ you are that 45 is in charge, how pleased you are that he’s going to ‘shake things up,’ when you ask me to ‘give him a fair chance,’ please know that I’m fighting too hard for my own chance to survive to worry about giving him a chance. Please understand the bile I spit could’ve landed on you.
We’ve spent months since the election speculating on how to treat 45’s supporters. Nobody has bothered to ask those who will die without insurance how they’re doing or what they’re going to do. Nobody has asked about how the kids with no insurance to cover their therapy will manage. Nobody has explained how parents will feed their children.
Michigan is going to be the way of life for everybody now. And we’re so busy worrying about those who want it like that, we forgot to ask about how those who are busy trying to survive are doing. We forgot ask our neighbor’s what they need. If they’re ok. Or maybe we just don’t give a fuck anymore.
There’s nothing eloquent or dignified to say about being terrified of hunger. Of not surviving. Of seeing you’re kids suffer.
So I cry. Hot thick wide mouth ugly cry.