The Penalty for Caring

So Kate’s fine after yesterday. She usually is. This time, the seizure wasn’t as bad as it was looking when I bailed on the post. So now, I’m going to ramble about something I saw on Twitter.

Basically, the president of this college found a homeless student with schizophrenia living in the forest. He can’t take the kid home (giving the kid a ride is apparently against company policy or something), and he couldn’t think of anything else to do. So he let the kid sleep in the library and gave him some money to refill his schizophrenia meds. And for that, he was fired.

On the one hand, this seems like a pretty clear case of the homeless prejudice most people seem to have. “Oh, circumstances beyond your control have left you without shelter, food, or options? Well, fuck you! You should have tried harder!” There are no extenuating circumstances for this student. It doesn’t matter that he could have died from exposure out in the woods. He’s not allowed to sleep in a nice, warm library, and President Carroll has to pay the price for allowing it.

On the other hand, there are other options here. Carroll gives the student money. He couldn’t have paid for a motel room? Help the student arrange for alternate housing? I mean, it’s a for-profit college, so there’s probably no dorm system. But they could have looked at shelters or called acquaintances until they found a couch for him to sleep on.

I guess…I don’t really have a lot of insight here. Something important happened. A man was penalized for caring about another human being. Even if he didn’t go about it the best way, I don’t think he deserved to lose his job.

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Let’s Talk Politics

I did not vote for Trump. I do not like Trump. But I had to watch his speech the other day, and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about his presidency. I can’t tell if I’m just being taken in by more of his lies. He insists he’s going to replace Obamacare with something better. That would be amazing.

I don’t have health insurance. Even under Obamacare, I couldn’t get coverage because they couldn’t seem to process the concept of being self-employed. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a freelance transcriptionist. I am my employer. But for the past two years, until we became homeless, I was almost completely unable to work. Kate’s seizures were so bad that, even if I did pick up a job, I’d have to drop it again almost immediately. Until we became homeless, I had made about $50 for all of 2016.

So I’m very low income. That seems pretty straight forward, right? They just need a letter from my previous employer to tell them about how I was fired, and we can get this whole thing started right away.

OK, but I’m self-employed.

Oh, so you are making money?

No. I had to stop taking work to be a full-time unpaid nurse.

Oh, OK, we get it. We just need a letter from your previous employer…

And around and around and around. At one point, I finally got someone to tell me I needed a self-attestation. No guidance on what that means. No form to fill out. Just write up a self-attestation and turn it in. Where do I turn it in? Under the self-attestation category on your dashboard, there on the website.

There isn’t one.

Oh. Um…file it as a paycheck?

And then four months later, they finally got around to looking at it and informed me that it was about four months too late. But hey, if I wanted insurance, I could totally pay $400 a month for it!

So this is definitely a system that needs replaced. I’m just not sure I trust Trump to do it. Kate fully believes that he’s going to introduce universal healthcare, but I just…I don’t know. I don’t trust him. Not after the rioting at his rallies. Not after the rampant racism, the lying to get into office, the sexism towards Clinton.

I can only see this whole thing as one big long con for him. He’s going to come out of the presidency with twice as much money as he went in, and we’ll have nothing to show for it. But I hope I’m wrong. I really do. Because I want to believe him. I want to believe this country will be a better place for someone like me, for someone like Kate. I want to live in a place we can be happy.