A Letter to Mitt Romney from Samantha…
By Samantha K.,
Dear Governor Romney,
I’ll be honest with you – you never had a chance of getting my vote. Not because I am a victim who is dependent upon the system, but because I am an informed woman with a grasp on economics, and I’m smart enough to realize what you’re selling ain’t worth a dime. Or, rather, not worth my dime, since it would be my dimes that you would be taking to fund more tax breaks for the rich.
But I digress.
I come from the 53%. In fact, I come from a family that met your $250,000 guideline that you called middle class, but, of course, being a member of the real world, I realize that most would view my upbringing as comfortable. Maybe even privileged. But because my parents actually believed in personal responsibility, they didn’t give me a bunch of stock to live off while in college, or finance my first home.
My father was a reasonably successful man. He went to college on the GI Bill that he earned when he enlisted (you know, volunteered) to serve as a paratrooper during a war while you ate croissants and risked your life trying to convert people to Mormonism. And, 40 some years after he ended his service, he died from a cancer related to his exposure to Agent Orange, courtesy of the U.S.A., somewhere in a jungle in Vietnam. Because of that, my mother receives a monthly stipend and health insurance from the V.A. We’d rather have my dad, frankly, and my mother’s monthly check and health care do not feel much like an entitlement to her. That check doesn’t change the light bulbs in the garage when they burn out. That check doesn’t calm her down when her car has a problem or the water heater does something weird. That check didn’t give her four children and a life of love. And that check didn’t walk me down the aisle when I got married, either.
See, although I come from the 53%, I married a man from the 47%. Like my dad, he served his country, as a Marine, during war time. He did his time in Iraq. (Where were your sons, Mitt? I bet, wherever they were, it had air conditioning. And hot water.) And when he got home, and we married, he spent three years working his ass off in a crap job. And he went to school on the GI Bill. We had a beautiful baby. And sometimes, the monthly payment of $246 the V.A. awarded him for a back injury sustained while repairing a harrier jet in a desert in Iraq was the one thing that put food on the table. It didn’t feel like an entitlement. It felt like something he had earned.
We never sat around, gnashing our teeth with envy over people who had more than us. We have plenty. And when money ran a little thin – as it often does when you are young and have a baby in the house – why, my mama was just 3 miles up the road, and I never had to worry about how we would feed ourselves if something bad happened, like the time my husband got sick and had to take 3 days off without pay. Three days without pay would have meant the difference between us eating and not eating, had it not been for my mom. And I have always been grateful, and very aware, that a lot of young families don’t have a mom up the road who says “I’ll take you grocery shopping, honey, of course – don’t cry. Your dad and I have been there, too. I remember.” (And because she does remember, she’ll be casting her vote for Obama…even against her own financial interests.)
And my son, Mitt. He is beautiful. He is bright and funny. He is, of course, my very heart. At seventeen months of age, he had his first seizure. As a mother, I cannot explain the fear and horror that comes with seeing that, and the realization that there is something wrong with your beautiful, perfect child. And then the tests – the 48 hours I waited to see if my son’s seizures were caused by brain cancer, an aneurysm…you may not know that it’s possible for a mother to be on her knees, praying that her child has epilepsy, but it happens. I know. I have done it.
Then my husband got a better job, and we were told that anything neurologically-related wouldn’t be covered for a year, as it was a pre-existing condition, and even with some of the ACA implemented, there were still restrictions. It was a crappy insurance policy, anyhow, so I began to shop around. But, of course, the moment I uttered the word “epilepsy,” no one wanted to talk to me. One company told me they could give me a quote based on a family without any pre-existing conditions, but that I would have to purchase the policy in order to see how much it would really cost. (Hey! Sounds like your tax plan! Do you have relatives in the health insurance business?) Another company simply quit returning my calls.
When the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, I cried. Real, huge, ugly sobs, snot all over my face and everything. My husband kept pacing around, doing a weird fist-pump thing, but he’s still a Marine at heart, which means he is often emotionally stunted. I held my now 2.5 year old son and I said, “The president has your back. And don’t you forget it.”
And now, Mitt, here you come, with your 47% remark, and that’s me you are talking about. That’s my family. We don’t pay federal income taxes, and we know that, and we’re smart enough to be thankful for it, but we’re also smart enough to realize the reason we don’t pay them is because we are a family of three living on one income. That’s my sister’s family you are talking about – they’re getting ready to have Thanksgiving over at her house in Germany as her husband gets ready for his fourth deployment. That’s my mom you’re talking about, as she collects my father’s social security and a payment from the VA.
That’s my child you are talking about, when you are referring to health care as an entitlement. We pay $267 a month and meet a $4,000 deductible, and you are goddamned right we feel as though our son is entitled to the exact same access and quality of health care as any child, regardless of whether his or her parents can afford a dressage horse. There are people, real people, Mitt, who make up your little statistic.
Part of me would like to invite you over to meet my son. To watch him play, sing “Country Roads” (John Denver is his favorite), tell you crappy knock knock jokes…and watch him have a seizure, and then listen to him ask me, “Why I do that, Mommy?” when he’s done. And then I would like to have you explain to him why you think he isn’t entitled to health care.
The rest of me, though, realizes you aren’t fit to meet my son. At not even 3 years of age, Mitt, he’s more of a man than you will ever be.
As I said at the beginning, you never had my vote. But what you do have, Mitt, is my complete and utter contempt.
Sincerely, Samantha K.
Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, July 2, 2012 (AP Photo). http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2012/07/23/romney-jet-ski