Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Occupies my Heart

I'm no financial genius. I bust my ass 40 hours a week for very low pay, and go to school thanks to a state tuition waiver. My husband and I are perpetually struggling to pay off medical bills, courtesy of Cystic Fibrosis and our country's lack of socialized health care. The amount we spend every month on our health insurance premiums (mind you, I'm talking about JUST for coverage, not meds or anything else) is equal to 45% of the amount we pay for rent. Between basic health care and a place to live, that's most of our budget.

I've never invested in stock, never had a mutual fund.

I'm the 99%, clearly.

And the Occupy Wall Street protests are thrilling me. I look at the sea of people protesting that wide, wide income gap, and my heart beats faster. I feel honored that my new job is not only in healthcare, helping people, but is at a nonprofit hospital, and a union job at that.

I loved this quote from a CNN article about it: "The protest has drawn some criticism for its lack of concrete goals. But the fact that Occupy Wall Street is still going strong 19 days later means it's done what it set out to do: Draw focus to the concerns -- and anger -- many Americans have about the country's growing economic gap, plant the seed of an organized voice, and let the protest evolve naturally.

'We're showing that 'we the people' really are here, present, from all walks of life," said Tammy Bick, 49, an unemployed former medical secretary. "It's a meeting of the minds and a voicing of our issues. That alone makes it the best single experience of my life.'"

The other day, I had to go to the nearest Big Town to go get my BLS card (CPR for healthcare providers) before I start orienting at Father Sainty's. I kept Mr. Polly company when he needed to go a litle further out of the Big Town for an appointment with our accountants to get our taxes all finished up. The accountants that we use are people I've known most of my life - they work from home, and their home is on the street I grew up on.

Since we were right there, I saw my childhood home for the first time since the foreclosure. My Mother was still living there up until recently, but I hadn't been there, because of issues between me and her. I was having a very hard time setting foot in that house for the last few years, because of the condition it was in. I believe my Mother is a hoarder, although she would say differently (and does). At any rate, anyone would agree that the house was deeply in disrepair and looked obviously out of place in the neighborhood; it was the one on the block that was 'the eyesore'.

I hadn't seen it since my last visits there which were when I was cleaning and repainting the interior a few years ago.

Since it's been foreclosed, it's being renovated; pretty much gutted and redone. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about that. I think most people feel nostalgic about their childhood homes, and don't want anything changed. I found it to be a big relief to see the house being rehabilitated. I hope it turns out nicely and that the next occupants will be happy and healthy there.

I don't blame the bank for taking away the home, in this particular instance, I'm grateful that it happened. But I understand that's a rare reaction. And I would much rather that any profit from the whole transaction would be shared equally among all the workers involved.

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