Spike Dolomite Ward tells her story in an LA Times op-ed.
I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.
I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. We’re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids’ schools and church.
We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.
Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.
So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”
Grotesque income inequality is just a symptom of our larger political disease.
A FEW WEEKS AFTER the Occupy Wall Street protests began, we found ourselves having a random conversation with a couple of San Franciscans at a store counter. What were these kids going on about? they asked. Time was tight, the inquiry a pleasantry, really. Best to keep it simple. “Jobs, the economy, income inequality.” Well, one offered, he knew the wife of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, and according to him, the reason companies aren’t hiring is because they are worried about the extra cost of Obama’s health care reform.
Because what can you really say to that, except…let them eat cake? Stumpf made $17.6 million in 2010—672 times what the average American takes home. And say what you will about Obamacare, but for large companies that already offer health benefits, it imposes pretty much zero costs and might even save money.
But why single out Stumpf, who actually sounds fairly cuddly for a bank CEO? (His hobby is baking bread, for Christ’s sake.) Let’s turn instead to John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who unctuously admonished Occupy protesters: “Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow.” Or how about the homeless-themed Halloween party thrown by an upstate New York foreclosure mill? Or the financier David Moore, who, having been dressed down by a panhandler for proffering only a dollar, took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to bray about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric: “The president’s incendiary message has now reached the streets. His complaints that rich people must ‘pay their fair share’ have now goaded some of our society’s most unfortunate.”
A North Carolina fourth grader says he didn’t even know what sexual harassment meant until he was suspended for telling another student that his teacher was “cute.”
Chiquita Lockett told WSOC that the principal of Brookside Elementary in Gastonia called to explain that her son, Emanyea, had been suspended for “sexual harassment.”
“I was talking to my friend and I said Mrs. Terry was cute,” the boy recalled. “And that’s all I said.”
Chiquita Lockett said the principal did not dispute Emanyea’s version of events.
A spokeswoman for the district told WSOC’s Alan Cavanna that the 9-year-old was suspended for “inappropriate behavior” because he made “inappropriate statements,” but she refused to give further details.
Gaston County School’s Student Code of Conduct (PDF) says that “disruption of school” is punishable by up to five days of out-of-school suspension. The code of conduct does not specifically mention “inappropriate behavior.”
Both sides recognize the importance of the campaign, which is also targeting the lieutenant governor and three Republican state senators. Progressive activists are working to collect enough petition signatures to force a recall of the governor, and Walker and his allies have already started an ad campaign in response.
Underlying all this is a scattered amount of isolated, underhanded activity that may be illegal. The past weekend even saw two arrests of recall opponents.
On Sunday, a man was arrested on allegations that he defaced recall petitions.
“The suspect stood in line to sign a petition and when given the petition clipboard, he scribbled out some names on the actual form, and the recall worker took the clipboard back, and he left the scene without any incident,” West Bend, Wis. police Sgt. Matt Rohlinger told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.