Tuesday, September 26, 2006

re-reading

So, anybody who didn't read Twisty's review of Samantha King’s book, Pink Ribbons, Inc. , do go and read it. She makes so many good points about our society and health care, I had to go back and re-read it.

You might be tempted to say, oh, her comments are about American Society, not Canadian Society. For Canadians who believe they enjoy universal health care, let me point out that the working poor most likely do not get paid sick days at work, or extended health benefits of any kind. Most of us Canadians are blissfully unaware of how expensive health care is. (I personally know people in the U.S. who supposedly had great health insurance, whose benefits ran out, the insurance companies refused to cough up more money, and these people lost their homes etc. as a result of serious illness. In addition to a large number of people who cannot afford health insurance, many in the U.S. are under-insured.) The working poor without added health benefits are in dire straits, in Canada as well, universal health care or no. There are countless expenses that come up when a person becomes ill, and social welfare does not cover many of the gaps for the poor who are not poor enough to qualify for assistance. And those poor enough to qualify, will tell you if you ever bother to ask, that the process is cumbersome, demeaning and the assistance never enough.

Not exactly on topic, but in the rural area where I now live, I wonder: there must be many migrant workers who are in Canada who are injured or become ill. It is rare, very rare, that you see them get medical treatment. Why? If they are here legally, they should be covered by OHIP, should they not? Do they not know this? I'm not sure what's going on, but my gut feeling is that they do not know their rights, or they are afraid to exercise their rights. They are brought here to do hard work that few Canadians are willing to do. Perhaps they are also disadvantaged by the different language, and the prejudice against them for their colour and/or countries of origin. Who knows?

This is only one instance of the people who are "missed" by a system that is supposed to be universal.

Yet, all too many of my acquaintances are quite willing to write off the "outsiders" as undeserving, lay-about, probably criminal elements, who "take advantage of the system". I have to remind some people at my paying job all the time, when they start complaining about "immigrants", that I'm an immigrant. (I guess they forget that fact, because I don't speak with a foreign accent and I'm white.) Their response: "Yeah, but you're different; you're not like them."

Oh, and so who am I like?? pray tell! I certainly don't fit into the "traditional family" pattern of man, woman, 2.2 kids with 3 gas-guzzling SUV's in the driveway of a 3,000+sq.foot home cheek-by-jowl with other 3,000+sq.foot homes in a suburban housing development that has eaten up acres and acres of the limited arable farm land we have in Ontario. Those are the same people who get so damned uncomfortable because I'm not part of a couple, I like sex, I don't have a full-time paying job, I associate with and enjoy the company of all kinds of people, and I don't talk about shopping 24/7. I laugh, because time and time again, they are confronted by my differences, but no, they deny it. I'm ok, a little eccentric, but not like them.

So, yes, the pink campaign that appeals to the shopaholic, the people who are led to be super-consumers, still so unaware of how they are manipulated, smug in their pink-middle class security, that lets the misogynist, xenophobic, money-worshiping, patriarchal society off the hook, that pink campaign makes me mad!

4 Comments:

Blogger clairesgarden said...

oh the couple thing is driving my friends demented, trying to decide on who to introduce me to next. I am happier than they are, perhaps they're just jealous of the poor but content life I lead? they say not. . .

6:45 AM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Isn't it funny how sometimes we can be very content with our life and choices, but other people are uncomfortable on our behalf (very unnecessarily)?

If I had a dime for every time I told people I was getting divorced after 5 years of marraige to a great guy and felt guilty for not being as sad about it as they were... or if I had a nickel for everything I get the look of shock when I refer to hanging out or talking on the phone with my ex-husband (we're still friends, and my boyfriend is more than fine with that) I would be a rich woman.

And I must say that I'm enjoying your "introspective/commentary" posts just as much as I enjoy your gaden ones... even if I don't always have a comment to post on them. :)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

ha! I wouldn't mind being part of a couple at all. But I'm having fun whenever and however I can. I notice quite often that I'm the only person dining alone in a restaurant -- male or female. I have a marvelous time going wherever I want to go, talking to whomever I want to talk to when I'm alone. I sometimes wonder if everybody else stays home if they can't "buddy up" to go out!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

I sometimes think because I don't have to "wait" for somebody else with whom to do things, for somebody else's mood, or schedule, or ability to coincide with what I want to do, I'm incredibly free. I get odd looks, but who cares about that anyway?? Sure, there are certainly times when I am lonely, or I think it would have been fun to share this or that...oh well! If I can't share it at the moment, I share in other ways with you all :)

6:30 PM  

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