Politics of Domicile
I’m around the house, you know. Every six-eight weeks for the past year I’d get volcanically sick for three days and be out for a week trying to get back, with no clue why. 25 pounds underweight, forced to stay in a hospital and quitting the labor force to try and get better, my boss reeled me back with FMLA offer of 90 days off. I finally got a diagnosis, got on a benign medication for life and I’m soon to be a corporate cog again. I re-enter that land of enchantment in 13 days.
For the first time in my life I had to ask myself this question: what if I never get better and make it out of the house? Jesus, Mary & Joseph, what if I had been expected to spend my entire working career in the house?
I’m not clueless in these four walls; in fact, I’m a notorious homebody, I only like leaving for food shopping and movies. I scratched my travel itch in this life, I’d even rather stay home on vacations, frankly. Even so, facing permanent domicile status made me look at literal American domestic politics with a new, and ultimately much more respectful perspective.
The first phosphorous round of insight was the crashing reality of the American horror show of working parents and lack of daycare. This country falls apart without healthy families, yet our children need care while both parents are forced to work to make it here. It’s just astounding that forcing both parents to work with no help in raising an incredibly vital national resource, our children, is a reality in this country.
[While I was off my wife gleefully cancelled all of our daughter’s daycare and gave me instant status as a Prince of Rides. It’s a huge, painful issue that soon my daughter must go back to relatively shabby, expensive daycare, and my work schedule has been drastically altered so daycare can be cut back 65% this year, which we had started before my leave.]
Only with a corporate press and Republicans in power could this incredibly powerful issue of daycare been so shamefully neglected for so long—other civilized countries do not put their families through this and help with enviable daycare, Jesus and the saints save us.
I finally got a true glimmer of understanding to feminine political anger in this country. Women were expected to raise the children, then they had to go to work and nothing was done for the family, yet somehow working mothers are expected to handle everything. This is a plain outrage, and the fucking Democratic party has horribly failed its people yet again—no rationalizations or lying works as to how daycare is not on the political agenda in this country.
I’ve been a lifelong member of Kaiser Permanente, I’ve got no complaints, but I had to deal with an insurance company for my leave and it was a sorry, infuriating disgrace. This, too, is a horrifying failure of the Democratic party, how healthcare is not a flaming banner of victory for 2006 and 2008. At some point rationalizations and excuses are just not acceptable on any level for political leadership, the vital human issues causing so much horrifying pain is their duty to alleviate, no matter where it leads them or how uncomfortable it is. I mean, if Americans can’t take care of their children or get healthcare, why the fuck be a politician at all? We all know Republicans do it to pay off their rich cronies, but Democrats are supposed to be different.
No, I don’t give a shit if criticizing the party possibly hurts it. It’s my party too, I’m forever told not to leave to make it stronger, so deal with it.
We all are nothing without a good and healthy home, yet as a society we attach so little status to performing the duty well. Shopping, cleaning, cooking, driving, home ownership…throw in a few kids and mate who spent the day away from the house and thinks sex is a good idea when rest can finally be had and oy, one has found a very, very tough work career. No paycheck, expense account, bonuses or travel, either.
As I get ready to go back I’m vastly relieved not to have to attempt facing that, what a raw deal, truly. I’m amazed and very respectful that so many women handled it so well for so long in this country, and I’m going to do much more in attempting to get daycare and healthcare on the American political agenda. This is simply an unbelievable condition for a rich, modern democracy and it will not stand.