‘Down in The Dirt’ Stories for Ryan/ Romney: People’s Sufferings vs Politicos Breathing Rarified Air & Pining To Purge the Poor
I am a product of government assistance and without it I probably would not be alive today or have lived a productive life.
Let me explain. Before he married, my young father-to-be, was a professional baseball player in the NY Giants farm system. Suddenly–and unplanned by those who would go to war– WWII broke out. My father enlisted.
The military used his talents to hold R&R -a much needed physical and mental respite from both the boredom and dangers of combat contact and readiness. Thus he was in baseball with and against other men-in-service teams.
Towards the end of the War, my parents were married and I was born in 1944. At the end of the war my father rejoined his minor league team in 1946 but minor league baseball at that time paid VERY low salaries and the family struggled.
But then something happened– again, unplanned. Dad came home midway through the season when I got Polio.
To try to meet the crushing bills, Dad took a job as a Greyhound Bus driver, and from there spent his life driving– doing something that left his talents behind, but this he had to do for his family. And he did. Greyhound bus drivers were paid only slightly more than ball players.
My young mother was a homemaker and my parents as I said, had virtually no money. Both sides of their families were equally poor. I had been rushed to the hospital barely breathing and put into an Iron Lung. Without the Iron Lung I would have died. I spent 10 months in the contraption.
That hospitalization continued for two and a half years, all paid for by the State.
From there I was sent to Sister Kenny Institute which was mainly paid by the state, although also with some contributions from the March of Dimes. With the polio epidemics in many of the years that followed, hospitals were so crowded, we had beds covering every room, hallway, chapel and doctors’ lounges etc. No one had Health Insurance in those days, and without government help, hundreds of thousands of additional polio sufferers would have died, including me.
From the time I was 2 years old until I was 16, I spent the majority of time in State hospitals for crippled children. I had dozens of operations trying to correct the ravages Polio did to my body. Two spinal fusions to correct curvature of the spine; operations to correct feet that angled to the side; experimental operations to promote leg growth, etc.; with additional expenses for a series of leg braces as I grew; and physical therapy to learn to walk again.
Adjusted for inflation, in today’s terms, my life cost the state millions of dollars.
However, it allowed me to be a productive member of society and in fact allowed me to pay a couple million in taxes over my lifetime while being married to a wonderful woman for 44 years and raising wonderful children.
If Paul Ryan had his way, the government would not have rescued me from oblivion and death. My family did not have the money, and our synagogue was poor, full of refugees from Europe just trying to gain a toe-hold in this new country.
For very personal reasons, as you can see, I am in favor of a solid, permanent safety net for all Americans.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, in a “Club for Growth” meeting with Paul Ryan, I heard him say explicitly that the government has no business being a safety net– that that is the job of family, friends and Church. Furthermore, if people “planned ahead they would have no need for a safety net.”
I stand as a strong example of the fallacy of Paul Ryan’s ideas.
I am not whining about getting Polio, but I am eternally grateful for the help I received and have empathy for all those caught in similar or equivalent circumstances. I certainly would like to ask Paul Ryan what he thought his current life would be had he been born black of a single mother on the south side of Chicago. How would he have done being born in a small village in the Congo?
I see white privileged men, Ryan and Romney included, who were lucky to be born white, male, in America, with moneyed parents and sent to good schools–but who now are arrogant enough to think they did everything themselves –and thus if they did not need a helping hand, that no one does.
If you have a story about how a program helped/helps you immeasurably in a critical way, in health, education, or to pull up or ahead of the odds– please send your story (just write it as you speak it) to us here at TMV. We’ll run several stories on this issue in the coming weeks. You need not be ‘a writer’ per se. But all persons can tell their own story in writing, for you have lived it. If need be, we’ll give it a light edit for spelling etc. Ed/Dr.E