Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Tea Party's America

A few months ago I stopped into a local fast food restaurant for lunch. It was after the lunch rush and there was only one woman working the counter and one cook in the back. The woman waiting on me appeared to be in her late fifties or sixties, and looked very tired. As I was placing my order, an older gentleman who had been in the dinning area began heading toward the exit. The woman behind the counter shouted at him and ran around the counter, grabbed him and ushered him back to his seat. She returned to the counter, apologized and began taking my order again. Once again she had to stop before I was finished and lead the older man back to his seat.

When she returned, she explained with tears in her eyes that the man was her father and he had advanced Alzheimer’s. I told her I understood what she was going through because my mother had died with the disease three years earlier. The woman told me, "Back when I had a full-time job I took him to an Alzheimer’s day care Monday through Friday, but they aren’t open on weekends.” She went on to say that her manager was not working that day, but she was pretty sure when her boss found out she was bringing her dad to work with her, she would lose this job too.

Our local congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn (TN), is a Tea Party Republican who voted against healthcare reform and was opposed to extending unemployment benefits. If anyone in her family is stricken with a catastrophic disease, she will certainly be able to adequately provide for their needs…with the nice salary, health benefits and perks provided to her through the taxes on low wage earners like the people in her district working multiple minimum wage jobs trying to make ends meet.