Monday, October 17, 2011

The "Welfare Queen" is a Myth

We've all heard the decades old story about the "Welfare Queen" that goes something like this: An unwed woman, who is lazy, and doesn't want to work, keeps having babies in order to increase the assistance she receives from the government to maintain a lavish lifestyle. This type of characterization is sexist (often told with a racist spin) and denigrates assistance programs, taking aim at those in need when they are most vulnerable.

The NC Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thom Tillis, recently made a statement that closely models the myth of the Welfare Queen:
"When you go in and you see a woman in a wheelchair... who’s on the brink of losing her benefits, and you know that Health and Human Services are sending checks to a woman who has chosen to have three or four kids out of wedlock? Then at some point, we need to say first kid, we'll give you a pass, second, third, and fourth kid? You're on your own."

"What we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance. We have to show respect for that woman who has cerebral palsy and had no choice in her condition, that needs help, and we should help. And we need to get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government, and say, at some point, you’re on your own." (1)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MomsRising: No chance for 'do-overs' for N.C. kids

Cross-posted from Go Ask Mom.

While playing Chutes and Ladders, my son often asks if he can spin the dial again if it lands on a number he's unhappy with. Most of the time I oblige, he is 4 after all, and give him another chance to get a number that pleases him.

I wouldn't mind getting a "do-over" on occasion, but in this life there are actually very few opportunities to try something a second time to get it right. This is why I am deeply concerned about some of the proposed cuts this year to children's programs in the North Carolina budget. There is no do-over for our kids when it comes to their health and education, and these programs prevent problems that will cost the state exponentially more in the long run.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why 2010 was the Best Year of My Son's Life

My son, Ethan, has had a very unusual first four years of life. Most of his first year was spent in and out of the hospital, receiving out-patient chemotherapy, three sclerotherapies, and intensive physical therapy - all due to a rare, non-cancerous (but very harmful) vascular tumor on his lower right leg. There was even talk of amputating his leg at the knee and/or trying some experimental adult chemotherapy. My husband was a full-time law student at the time, and even though I was the "breadwinner" for the family, I had to quit my job to care for my son during this unexpected and life-threatening illness. With my job, went our family's insurance, and we were incredibly fortunate to be able to have Ethan qualify for Medicaid.

By his second year, the tumor had begun to go away and I am one of countless people who can honestly say that "government-run healthcare" helped to save my son's life. We spent our time trying to catch him up to a normal level of developmental with physical, occupational, and speech therapy, as well as occasional check-ups with his oncologist. He learned to walk (late of course, due to the pain caused by the tumor on his leg) and finally started being able to have what you might consider a normal daily life for an American baby.