Context of My Week
This week was weird. (I write this the week of March 20th, 2023.) It was the last full week of Women’s History Month. Atmospheric rivers wash over the area where my daughter lives, blown brackets across the NCAA (sniff… both U of AZ and Purdue go down), audio books about neutron Jack (Jack Welch) filled my ears and mind. A blogger in some of the large writing circles that I participate in, passed away at the age of 53. (More than a shame, it just isn’t right!) And I flirted, once again, with politically motivated writing.
I do not believe that when I speak of potential implications of actions that it should be labeled political. Culture encompasses politics, along with language, economics, kinship, technology, social organization…just as it encompasses every other aspect of human behavior. Just look up EB Tylor‘s definition of culture, but do remember that he wrote in the late 1800s.
I cannot speak about legacy without talking about politics. Growing up I heard about how polite conversation excluded mention of sex and politics. Polite? As far as I can now tell, back then the use of the term polite meant mixed gender, white gatherings.
I must have grown up outside of polite society. I certainly grew up outside of the social circles of the ruling class until my teen years. After that I began to occasionally collect a friend or two whose fathers owned factories or whose mothers belonged to garden societies in the town closest to the subsistence farm where I was raised. That is when I figured out men control the limits of discourse. My view, shaped early on, was that the only reason women did not discuss x, y, or z was that men, quite different from my father, created and enforced the laws and customs ensconced within our society.
How can I not discuss politics when the last words my favorite big brother said to me before he died of cancer in 2005 were, “Keep fighting for health care.” I was on my way to Washington, D.C. to protest U.S. waging war in Iraq.
Deaths of Despair
Healthcare. The U.S. still does not provide health care to us. The blogger from my cohort was a tech writer, Alzheimer caregiver, and our community still felt we should gather money for the family rather than send flowers or give to a charity in her name. They need it. I did not know her well, but I am pretty sure that her medical bills were overwhelming her and her family. Another friend of hers said that she checked herself out of the hospital on Thursday evening even though her doctor told her that if she did this, she would die. She died that night in her sleep.
She will not be counted as such, but I will always believe that she was one of the countless deaths by despair that are decimating many communities in our country. This phenomenon is defined as death by overdose, alcohol liver disease, and suicide. People who die so that their families will not suffer further financial burden due to their ill-health, are suicides of despair. Such people do not have to die. They choose to die because they cannot afford to live.
Climate change and corporate capitalism also took up lots of my brain space this week.
- I’m listening to an audiobook, The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America–and How to Undo His Legacy, by David Gelles. I highly recommend listening for a review of the tactics that ruined the lives of laborers and amassed fortunes in the billions for corporate elites. #StakeholdersoverShareholders
- I also spent a fair amount of time thinking about my poor daughter who is ass-deep in medical school bills she may never be able to pay off, and who lives in fixer-upper in California that is disintegrating from the massive amounts of water working its way into every pore of her 1927 house, which she cannot afford to insure for California’s probable coming disasters.
Despite all this, I hope you all had a great last week of women’s history month. Do something positive related to creating a positive women’s legacy for yourself and/or others every day, every month.
A in #AtoZ2023 – About, All
Written in late March for April 1 publication