In Lieu of Flowers: End of Life Planning for Those of Us Likely to Lose the Class War
Though the title of this piece may strike some as funny, know that I write this with the utmost sincerity and seriousness. This is not meant to make light of our current situation in any way, nor is it intended to be a work of satire.
Last month, I spent my 40th birthday dodging what appeared to be attempts at intimidation and harassment by my landlord while packing as much of my important belongings to stow away in safe locations and planning for an emergency in the seemingly likely event that I ended up being evicted or arrested based on another false accusation made by said landlord.
I didn’t plan to end up in this situation. In fact, the best of my efforts at planning for stability have failed. It appears that working since before it was legal for me to do so on the books, always having at least one job, sometimes two (sometimes five), attaining a master’s degree in a marketable field, living a healthy lifestyle for the majority of my life and avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and jaywalking, and unnecessary debt was never the key to a life of security and success.
At least not anymore.
I was born just as a star struck nation allowed a former actor- Ronald Reagan- to convince them that the poor and working poor are out to defraud the rich. Just in time to watch decades worth of gains hard earned by unions deflate under increasingly anti-labor legislation. In time for the backlash against working people and poor people, for white voters to once again choose white supremacy over understanding that the “welfare” benefits they now vilify were once the exact measures that helped their ancestors ascend to middle class lifestyle.
Growing up, I came to understand early the futility of the democratic party to protect working people any more than the republicans who sold us out. I watched as Bill Clinton both passed NAFTA, sounding a death knell for manufacturing and industry and also the Welfare Reform Bill, which further stigmatized low income people and those in need of assistance. Further adding to the stigma and obstacles to safety nets for individuals and families in need.
I remember when there were still some items labeled “Made in the U.S.A.” and…