This is a great post about what it means to be poor- specifically, poor in the USA. It’s worth a read; so are the comments. The number of people who had so much to add to the list is kind of overwhelming, and a few of the replies made me cry (see #78, for example).
One of the things that struck me is the number of people who talk about not being able to afford to go to the doctor, not being able to get help for mental health problems, etc. I know people in Canada still have problems with affording medications and dental care (I wouldn’t have been able to without AJ’s insurance), but at least I’ve always been able to see a doctor when I needed one.
The other thing that breaks my heart is how being poor means your kids get to join the military. If that’s one of their life’s great ambitions, good luck to them, and God bless. But the thought that people join the army because that’s the only way they can get their teeth fixed… or because there just aren’t any other options… Rich people don’t have to worry about that, which just makes it seem like the people who didn’t grow up with that advantage are expendable, doesn’t it?
We’ve been so blessed. We’ve had tons of tough times, but there has never been a time when we couldn’t count on our families to help us pay the power bill if things were really tight, on friends to invite us over for supper when they could (or offer to babysit for free so the two of us could get out for a bit)- there was even a mysterious envelope in the mail once with enough $$ in grocery store gift certificates to get us through to the next paycheque. (And damn right we’ll do the same for other people in the future!).
The fact that we let our neighbours live like what you’ll read in some of the comments… it’s sick.
(see #124 for a great little story)