Posts Tagged With: Social Security

Discarded Obama Campaign Stickers

I was visiting overseas during the U.S. Presidential election, but I tried to stay informed. This was my first time to ever contribute to a Presidential campaign. I was also the first time I was really actively involved in any campaign. The Obama campaign had sent me a few bumper stickers as a thanks for donating and I was so excited that whenever I do get home… I was going to be able to post my Obama stickers on my little OLD truck. But my conservative mother threw them away! No thought given to the idea I may WANT them. No consideration, just trash. Some I had actually purchased. 

This campaign MEANT something to me! I willingly gave up my middle class lifestyle because of my Multiple Sclerosis and I had a tough decision to make – my lifestyle or my health. My health won-out! I gave up living in a nice house with one of my most favorite people in the world as a roommate, driving a BMW convertible and living in the exciting city of Las Vegas for living at home with my parents, with no car, in a small town in Mississippi. Like I said… NOT an easy decision, but a necessary decision. I knew the sacrifices I was going to have to make and I was lucky to have a loving and supportive family to help me.  

I struggled for two years with no healthcare because my M.S. was a pre-existing condition and this was during the time Obama was trying to get what is now labeled Obamacare passed. For the first time I saw something in politics that directly affected me and it was the President leading the cause. My new standing as a poor person with no insurance helped me see a side of this issue like others could not. I was living solely on my social security disability income and living at home, I was still only barely by. Eventually I qualified for Medicare and FINALLY had health coverage.  

My conservative, Republican, Christian family that watched more Fox News than ANY other news outlet, called Obama a socialist and believed all Fox News said, even though I was one of the very people Obama was trying to help with Obamacare – they saw it as evil and bad and so was Obama. This is when a passion for what was going on in politics began to grow IN me. My frustration also grew because I could not get them to see and understand – I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE” Fox News is demeaning! My parents had Social Security & Medicare and others in my family even had Medicaid and they witnessed my struggle with health issues all-the-while I had no health insurance. I began to see “conservative” to equal – I got mine and I do not care about you.

Needless to say this created a struggle for me in relating to my family and even strains our relationship today. I felt like an outsider in my own family.  Church was so important and BEING Christian was even more important. But as the conservatives boasted of their Christianity, I witnessed a great deal of not so Christian actions. Being gay has helped me see “church”, Christians, and even God in a much different light. I saw the principles of the Democrats relate more to Christianity than the “religious right”. I wrote a blog specifically to try to engage people to explain how “conservatives” were Christian (http://wp.me/pKLa8-GU) and e-mailed a blog that asked the same but in a friendlier tone than I had be able to muster! (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/11/time-for-christians-to-make-a-choice/) Republicans extol their Christianity but for me it conflicts with their politics and I feel the Democrats live it by their politics.

I see Jesus as someone that would spend time with gays, having wine and talking with them, not standing in line at Chick-fil-a so the company has more money to prevent gays having equality! I see Jesus touting the GOOD of Obamacare, not worrying how it could affect his personal coverage if the uninsured get access to care! This creates for me my biggest struggle – it makes me see my dearly devoted, Christian mother and others in my family as hypocrites! They already dislike me for being so different in how I think… how could they deal with being viewed as hypocrites? Or possibly even racist because of things they say about Obama? Oh yeah, that is why it was such an internal struggle for me to live that close to them. I hate myself for seeing my family the way I do. We DO love each other… but there is no respect unless there is agreement and I just can’t agree with them. They refuse to listen to my points because I think they do not want to see the hypocrisy. But any attempts I make to talk and try to understand only ends badly! I am a critical-thinker and NEED more than rhetoric and “faith” to understand things! Now I live far away and even at a distance it still hurts me!

My father was diagnosed with Dementia and suddenly Fox News was not on the tv as much (if any actually). A few months later he had a stroke, then 9 days later died. At his funeral, all that spoke (including me) mentioned his trademark little, old, piece of crap Toyota trucks he had over the years.  I did eventually get a little money and had the opportunity to travel to see my friend I call Little Buddy (one of my FAVORITE people in the world) and when I returned from that trip – I bought a little, old, piece of crap Toyota truck like my Dad used to have. I was looking forward to putting my Obama stickers on MY little, old truck, but they were thrown away because no one considered them relevant at that house  – the same as me… discarded without consideration or concern!

P.S. I do love my family and they do love me… like my facebook relationship status says – it’s complicated! My writing is to express feelings I am unable to share otherwise and this is how I feel now.

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Weather Factor & Multiple Sclerosis

Sometimes I am even able to act like a tourist! 😉

I am not able to speak for everyone with Multiple Sclerosis, but in my case, weather is a major contributor to relapses with my MS.  Not that cold is better than hot or hot better than cold or even the fluctuations of the drastic changes in temperature on Spring and Autumn days in the South.  There are days we run the air-conditioner in the day and heat is on at night.  These extremes and fluctuations where brutal to my MS symptoms.  

Now I am living in Medellin, Colombia, South America.  Many ask why an American would leave the U.S. to live in Colombia?  The simple answer – weather!  The nickname for Medellin is The City of Eternal Spring.  For someone with MS like me… the climate is ideal.  With fewer days of really hot or really cold and the fluctuations of a mild Spring day back home (1.5 hours North of New Orleans), I notice fewer relapses while in Medellin.  By no means does it mean they go away, but the severity of relapses is reduced as well as the frequency.  Regardless of climate, fatigue remains my chief adversary!  Even here I fool myself into believing I am able to do more than I actually am capable of.

With a new place to live comes the obvious challenges like finding a place to live, learning a new neighborhood and making new friends.  Moving to a new country adds even more challenges like language and immigration issues.  Fortunately for me, Colombia actually has a special visa to encourage people to retire in Colombia – a pensionado visa.  This visa is granted to anyone with a pension (Social Security is considered a pension).  Any Colombian Consulate or Embassy in the U.S. can give you the step by step process for getting this visa.  The downsides are: it is a government agency so understand going into it that foreign governments are as bureaucratic as ANY government and the visa needs to be renewed annually. This process is always subject to change especially and now more so because the Colombian Free Trade Agreement is being implemented with the United States of America (which MAY even simplify thing more – cross my fingers).  I cannot (will not) discuss the political issues associated with the Free Trade Agreement until I learn and know more about it.

Making new friends in Colombia is EASY – they are a welcoming people!  But for me, there is the added obstacle to educate friends about how my MS affects me.  One main reason is because Multiple Sclerosis is much less common in South America in general versus North America.  Just as the climate seems to reduce my relapses and symptoms, it also reduces seems to reduce how the local population is affected.  The photo shows, the further south one goes, the fewer MS diagnoses.  Since there are fewer people diagnosed with MS, it is even more important to try to educate my friends how this illness affects me.  My experience has been overwhelmingly supportive!   Just like in the U.S.A., there are many misconceptions, but once I explain, most are understanding AND supportive.

Medellin may not be the best solution for ALL people with MS and I cannot even advocate

Maybe a benefit of a healthier lifestyle will be weight loss! 😀

ANY one else would find it as beneficial as I do, but it could be an option for some.  Medellin is now ranked the #1 city in Colombia (link below) “According to this year’s study, Medellin made massive improvements in several areas including environmental initiatives, where it jumped three places to rank fifth. In human capital rankings, which consider health, education and employment opportunities, Medellin came in second place, moving up one spot. “We will strengthen(…) the goal of furthering the education and training of our human talent to achieve equity and remove inequalities,” assured Medellin’s Mayor Anibal Gaviria.”  I always mention Colombia’s tourism campaign slogan Colombia: the only risk is wanting to stay and my slogan for Colombia would be: Colombia: it is not what you think… it is so much MORE (maybe I should trademark that? lol)!

*I am not a medical expert of any kind and this article only reflects my personal opinions and experiences!

http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/25140-medellin-ranked-colombias-best-city.html

Categories: Colombia, Life, Medellin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Enjoy My Rage: Am I the Only One?

Republicans continue to attack the poor and seek to further benefit the rich! Where is Americans outrage over what the Republicans are allowing the tea baggers to do?  I once considered myself a fiscal conservative with liberal social leanings.  Now the Republicans are trying to pass their CRAZY “budget blueprint”, I am seeing that I cannot even call myself a fiscal conservative anymore by this far, far right fiscal thinking.  I am beginning to have RAGE against the Republican Party for allowing the tea baggers to be the tail wagging the dog.  Republicans are proving crazy is infectious!

The Republicans are alienating independents like me by catering to these nut bag tea baggers.  Even Donald Trump is gaining momentum with the “birther” theory as part of this “Tea Party” movement (I agree with Bill Maher – I will stop calling them tea bagger when they stop calling it Obamacare).  Showing this is a movement of nonintellectuals.

The “budget blueprint” that passed the House of Representatives today (Friday, April 15, 2011)1 calls for changing Medicare to a voucher system, cutting Medicaid and food stamps, all while not only keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest but also reducing the top corporate and individual income tax rates from 35% to 25%.  Where is the rage against this?

The Democrats by default come across as less fanatical and more level-headed.  “Democrats dismiss this strategy, saying that although some spending cuts are needed to rein in deficits, wholesale reductions in education, public works, research and other core government programs leave Americans unable to compete globally.” says Pat Dollard2.  While programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the defense make up the majority of the budget, these programs can be improved, made more efficient or even reformed without throwing the baby out with the wash! Where is the rage from the poor?

GE made $14.2 billion profit and paid no taxes and in fact received a $3.2 billion tax benefit. 3 GE also employs a 975-employee tax department4 to insure they find as many loopholes as possible.  Why are the Republicans leading their fight by attacking programs that assist the poor and elderly instead of attacking the corporations they are trying to help even more with an even lower tax rate?  Why are they not trying to get the U.S. out of 2 very expensive wars?  My thoughts are the Republicans are influenced by the self-serving interests of the Tea Baggers.  The tea baggers are self-indulgent and have the idea, if it does not benefit me – cut it.  Where is the rage against Corporate America?

Wall Street bonuses increased 17%5 from an already astronomical amount, after the government bailout.  Why have the Republicans not besieged Wall Street in this “budget blueprint”?  Again, does it have something to do with protecting big money?  The poor are an easy target that find it difficult to have access to defend itself in a government that money = access!  The poor do not have access as demonstrated by my unsuccessful attempts to have an elected official listen to my concerns about E.R.I.S.A. and inspiring a blog Mr. Smith Still Needs to go to Washington6.  Where is the rage against Wall Street?

There was a time when it was political suicide to even mention cutting, changing Medicare or Social Security!  The idea of such  caused outrage!  Where are these groups now?  Are they allowing the Republicans to hang themselves?  Why aren’t the old school Republicans curtailing the Tea Baggers?  Where is the call to reform for Corporate America & Wall Street?  Where is the rage against the Tea Baggers?  In the past I would hear tea baggers say they wanted to “take America back” and I would ask, who are they taking it from?  Now I know, they want to take it from the poor and helpless so they have more for themselves.  I am glad my tax money does something to help the poor, sick and elderly because I do not have the money the tea baggers are trying to protect from the government.  I wish I could do more to help the poor, sick and elderly! Why don’t the Democrats harness this rage and take America back – from the crazy tea baggers (note: I am not using rhetoric, I am saying who I want America taken back from)! Am I the only one outraged?

Help me out… give anything… even if it’s only a $1

1 http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/15/house-passes-6t-spending-cut-plan/

2 http://patdollard.com/2011/04/republicans-propose-6-2-trillion-in-budget-cuts/

3 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html

4 http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/GE-Bringing-Creative-Tax-Strategies-Light-57849-1.html

5 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-02-23/news/27057087_1_bonuses-wall-street-personal-income-tax-collections

6 https://thomasajohnston.com/2010/11/09/mr-smith-still-needs-to-go-to-washington/

Categories: Life, Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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