Not so long ago, I wrote a post trying to help raise a bit of money for a man suffering from liver failure. My motives in that post were…mixed. And some of them weren’t so nice. I wanted a sick man to be well. I wanted two little girls to keep their daddy. But I also wanted to shame that man with the generosity of his enemies. I wanted to make a point about how public healthcare benefits everyone, even people who think they’ll never need it.
(The GoFundMe account for that is still up, by the way.)
Today, my feelings are not mixed.
Yesterday, I was reading Daily Kos, and I found this article. I followed the link, and I came to this headline:
Short version? Dewayne Pullens of Pearl River, Louisiana, has had brain cancer since 2004. His chemotherapy costs $800 per six-week cycle, plus travel costs to the hospital in Texas where the treatments actually happen. His daughters, Katie and Whitney Pullens (twelve and nine years old, respectively), have set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the next cycle of their father’s chemotherapy.
The next cycle. Just the next fucking cycle.
As of the writing of that article, the girls had raised the phenomenal amount of $600. Which, obviously, still isn’t enough. I’m sure that they’ve earned a great deal more since their story started to gain publicity on wwltv and Daily Kos, but remember, even if they’ve reached their $800 goal, that still only covers this six-week cycle.
One. God. Damn. Cycle.
So go here. Give what you can. Help these little girls keep their daddy a little longer. They’ve worked so hard. Don’t let that be in vain.
I said earlier that my feelings weren’t mixed on this case, as they were on the earlier one. And that’s true. My feelings are shining, ice-crystal clear.
First, my heart breaks every time I even look at that headline. I’ve had to struggle against crying the whole time I’ve been writing this post.
Second, I am deeply, terribly angry.
This is not right. This is obscene. This should not be happening. Those girls should be arguing about how to divide up that money, or debating which video game console to buy with it. They should not be trying to keep their father alive with the earnings from a fucking lemonade stand and the kindness of strangers. That is not a burden that they should even have to think about, let alone bear.
Over the last few years of the Health Care Wars, I’ve heard all the arguments:
“Socialized healthcare doesn’t work! Just look at the failing states of Canada, England, France, Germany, Sweden…”
“Government regulated insurance exchanges are the first step in an expansion of government that will lead to the kind of communist tyranny you see in Canada, England, France, Germany, Sweden…”
“Why do you want to mess with the best health care system in the world, just because millions of people don’t have access to it?”
“How will we pay for it? Return to the crushing, business-choking tax rates of the Fifties?”
And of course, when they decide to be honest:
“Why should I have to pay for someone who sits around on his ass and gorges himself on junk food until he starts getting heart trouble and Type 2 diabetes and who knows what else, when I stay in shape and have a job that gives me health insurance? Why can’t that guy just die and stop being a burden to decent people?”
As you can tell, I was never very impressed. But now I straight up don’t give a shit.
This is what this is about. This isn’t about the undeserving, parasitic welfare queen in your imagination. This isn’t about your freedom and how you shouldn’t hafta if you don’t wanna.
This is about two little girls who are selling lemonade. To pay for their father’s chemotherapy.
The richest country in the world, and we let that happen. And I do mean let, because we chose this. There are plenty of countries where this would be unthinkable. If the United States had a National Health Service, Dewayne Pullens would get his chemotherapy and his daughters wouldn’t have to feel responsible for keeping daddy alive. But the best we can do is Obamacare, and there are still a significant number of Americans fighting against even that, fighting to preserve a system where two little girls sell lemonade to pay for their father’s chemotherapy.
Go to that page. Give what you can. This shouldn’t be happening, but because it is, we need to do something. Who we? Everyone. Anyone. Whoever is reading this. We’re all responsible for, and to, each other.
Maybe if we help enough, we won’t be damned for letting it happen in the first place.