A Presidential Candidate Advocating for SAHMs, Mothers of Special Needs Children, and Caregivers

living well mom

It means a lot to me that there are at least a few candidates this election cycle who are truly focused on humanity and the wellbeing of humans, rather than the bottom dollar/profits.

One candidate in particular is focused on lifting up the SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms), mothers of special needs children, and caregivers that are so often overlooked in an economy that is judged by what you produce via the GDP and profit margins.

Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang caught my interest when he was on the Joe Rogan radio show a couple months ago. I’d never heard of Rogan and had never seen or listened to his radio show, but I was curious to hear more about Yang’s UBI (universal basic income) and what it entailed.

It was through that interview that I learned Andrew and his wife have two children, one of whom is autistic. Andrew’s wife stays home with their six and three-year-olds, which is hard work that is hardly acknowledged, as I said above.

It came to me, as a mother who also was a SAHM to a special needs child who went through two brain surgeries and radiation treatment for a brain tumor at thirteen months and two and a half years old, followed by constant care for his g-tube feedings, drives to therapy and helping him at home with the therapy (over several years) done at the centers. I could totally appreciate and admire Yang’s spotlighting women like me and my friends who are caregivers and mothers of special needs children and grown children that still need one hundred percent care.

Although Andrew Yang is a millionaire entrepreneur and has the resources that help his wife in caring for their autistic son, he is not detached, distant, or out of touch with those families who aren’t millionaires and struggle either paycheck to paycheck, or are getting by, but have great emotional and physical stress caring for their sick family member or special needs child.

If you haven’t been following Andrew Yang via his appearances on TV news shows and talk shows and speaking engagements at various venues, he is promoting a universal basic income for everyone, stated in his campaign’s website:

In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it. To avoid an unprecedented crisis, we’re going to have to find a new solution unlike anything we’ve done before. It all begins with the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income (UBI) for all American adults, no strings attached – a foundation on which a stable, prosperous, and just society can be built.

So, Yang wants to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT), among other things, to pay for this Freedom Dividend. You can read the details here. The amount of the dividend would be $1000 per month for every American citizen eighteen years and older.

Andrew wants to ditch GDP as a measuring stick of how our economy is doing. Why? Because the more automation takes over human work, especially self-driving trucks, the GDP will be through the roof, while the average person’s life will not match that but be much lower.

There is a whole other path to go on with the loss of jobs, just in the truck driving sector alone, that will cause the spike in suicides, homicides, and depression that are also important to be aware of. But I don’t have the space and time to get into that in this particular blog post. Perhaps I’ll delve into that at a later time.

So, here’s my favorite part. Andrew Yang wants to measure the economic output of our country by the wellbeing of the people. How are working people doing? How are the children?

He is the first person running for office that I’ve heard talk about the importance of the crucial work stay-at-home moms, mothers of special needs children, and caregivers do in our society. It is true that the work that SAHMs do is vital, considering they’re raising up the next generation of people who will be leading and contributing to the country and perhaps, the world. That $1000 a month would compensate at least for a beneficial foundation for mothers and caregivers who do, truly work from home.

I really hope that his plan is implemented in some way in the near future, because my best friend really, really needs this foundational relief. She is a mother of six mostly grown children, with a husband with chronic back pain and suffering from the permanent effects of a concussion he got more than two years ago. He, for the most part, is stationary, in his bed a good portion of the day, when she’s not driving him to therapy to give him some relief from the concussion. It’s been roughly twenty years that she has been taking care of her husband with his horribly painful back problems.

In addition, her second born son has schizoaffective disorder, as well as epilepsy–the latter surfacing more recently. She works with him through therapy she learned through many years of taking him to therapy. He also has a psychiatrist. He is on strong medication for his mental illness.

My best friend’s husband cannot work since the concussion and retired early on disability. They are struggling keeping afloat with the loss in income and many medical bills because of her family members’ needs.

The past year or two, she took on a night shift waitressing job 2-3 nights a week. Now, she’s cut down the hours and days and is training to work at a shelter. She’d be working 2-3 evenings a week. This is insane, isn’t it?! She should be able to be at home, caring for her ill family members!

Every time I hear her struggles, I get very angry and upset. I wonder how a rich, bountiful country could allow families to scrape by, with mothers away from home when their special needs children (young or grown) depend on them to function? It’s nearly unbearable for me to know my best friend and her family are suffering so. It’s morally wrong.

We texted this morning, and she told me about the increase in her son’s seizures, and the doctor trying to wane him off an old seizure med and increase a new seizure med. She ended her response with “Go, Yang”. Yes. What a difference Yang’s UBI would make for her and mothers and families just like hers.

In wrapping up this blog post, here’s a short, moving video of Yang and what he stands for that I really liked.

Andrew Yang is one of the 2020 presidential candidates I’m following.

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Now For Something Deliciously Different

SAMSUNG CSC

In the midst of a terrible cold virus/sinusitis, forcing me to take a break from packing and getting ready for an upcoming yard sale, weather permitting, I thought I’d present to you a delicious Greek recipe. It’s one of my favorite Greek meals.

My favorite is pastitio, but my one attempt at it years ago wasn’t a success due to the tricky béchamel topping that is also used in moussaka.

So, I’m going with another favorite that I make quite regularly.

It’s spicy Greek meatballs (soutzoukakia in Greek). It has a savory flavor and a nice spicy kick to it that isn’t too spicy and not too dull. It’s just right. The recipe is my mother’s, who is 100% Greek, so you know you can’t go wrong. 🙂

Recipe:

1 package of hot Italian sausage

2 pieces of bread toasted

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup water

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, smashed (I just mince mine)

1/4 teaspoon pepper and cumin (each)

1/2 cup butter and oil (each)

Soak toast in mixed wine and water. Squeeze lightly to drain excess wine. Mix meat, toast, egg, garlic, pepper, and cumin. You can use a mixer or do it by hand (I use my hands). They should feel smooth and fluffy. Shape them into short, oval balls. Brown into the mixture of butter and oil. Then put them into a baking dish.

Make tomato sauce:

In same butter and oil, sauté 1 can 14-1/4 oz. tomatoes cut up (I get the petite tomatoes already cut) , 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Boil the sauce for 15 minutes. Pour over the meatballs. Bake at 350° for 20 mins.

It doesn’t say in the recipe how many meatballs that makes. I would say around eight.

You can serve over rice or noodles or whatever starch you want. I like it with rice. I have three men in my family (hubby, adult son, and teenage son), so I double the recipe.

Kali órexi!

 

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Gregor’s Loss of Human Identity in His World

depressed man in sunset

The tenets of Marxist Theory are socio-economic, the ideology of materialism, alienation as a result of a capitalistic system, and class relations (Bertens).  This theory can be used to interpret the text of the short story, “The Metamorphosis,” through the central theme of class relations, as well as alienation, and a socio-economic atmosphere in which the main character and his family live.

Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” is about the transformation of the main character, Gregor, into a vermin, which is a literal representation of a man who has lost his humanity through the socio-economic environment in which he lives.

In the beginning of the story, Gregor wakes up and realizes his human body has transformed into the body of a hideous bug.  He curses his job, saying, “What a strenuous career it is that I’ve chosen!  … There’s the curse of traveling, worries about making train connections, bad and irregular food, contact with different people all the time so you can never get to know anyone or become friendly with them. It can all go to Hell!” (Kafka).  This shows he finds little if any pride or pleasure in his career.

Karl Marx’s views on the relationship between the worker and his or her career depends on if the person is using his creativity and finds pleasure in his work and that he is doing it for himself, or if the worker produces whatever product and toils only for the benefit of his employer with no recognition for his labors.  If the latter is the case, then the worker has alienated himself from his own identity and from his own humanity (Sokel).

This is apparent in Gregor’s complaints about his drone-like occupation and the literal physical change of his humanity to that of a vermin, which is considered nothing more than a parasite and the lowest creature one can be (Sokel).

Gregor acquired his position as a salesman a few years earlier to pay back his parents’ debts to his boss that had incurred when his father lost his job. Living as part of the base structure (working class) of society, Gregor took on the faults of his parents – their debts – and the responsibility for supporting them and his sister.

The money he made went to paying his parents’ debts with little coming back to him.  He explains this situation to the chief clerk when the latter comes to Gregor’s family’s house by saying, “Being a commercial traveller is arduous but without travelling, I couldn’t earn a living.  … You’re well aware that I’m seriously in debt to our employer as well as having to look after my parents and my sister, so that I’m trapped in a difficult situation…” (Kafka).  Gregor goes on telling the chief clerk of his challenges as a travelling salesman, saying, “Nobody likes the travellers” (Kafka).

Gregor’s boss is part of the superstructure – the well-educated businessman’s sphere – and Gregor is in the proletariat/working class–base.

Because Gregor is toiling for his father who is not working and whom the latter reaps the benefits of Gregor’s labors by receiving the majority of his son’s wages and gives him very little, Gregor’s father represents the capitalist and Gregor, the alienated, dehumanized laborer (Sokel).

His father’s negative view of his son is illustrated in the text, as it reads, “His father had decided to bombard him” (Kafka), and his father “threw one apple after another” (Kafka) with the last one hitting him “squarely and lodged in his back” (Kafka).  This apple stayed in Gregor’s flesh as a reminder of the cruel actions of his father.

Gregor became the lowest living being in the house, which is shown through the family’s maid calling him an “old dung beetle” (Kafka) and threatening to smash him with a chair. He’d become even lower than the lowest of the working class.

With this physical change came Gregor’s mental change where he felt himself the vermin he’d turned into and consented to this state.  He’d resigned the position of breadwinner.

This left the parents and sister to figure a new course ahead.  Gregor’s mother toiled sewing various garments while his sister, Grete, worked as a saleswoman at a fashion shop, and learned shorthand and French at night to hopefully better her chances in careers later on.  Gregor’s father did not take up a job, hence changing the dynamics of the household once again since Gregor’s transformation.

His parents ended up renting out one of their rooms to strangers and served them meals.  The living room and kitchen had become occupied and dominated by the lodgers, which represents the family’s enslavement to the capitalistic society noted in the text that says the lodgers “sat up at the table where, formerly, Gregor had taken his meals with his father and mother; they unfolded the serviettes and picked up their knives and forks” (Kafka).

Through Gregor’s loss of identity and humanity in the socio-economic environment in which he lived, he became the sacrificial lamb for the system.

 

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Works Cited
Bertens, Hans.  Literary Theory:  The Basics.  3rd ed.  London and New York:  Routledge, 2014.
Kafka, Franz.  “The Metamorphosis.”  Gutenberg.org.  20 May 2012. Web. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5200/5200-h/5200-h.htm. Accessed 12 August 2017.
Sokel, Walter H.  “From Marx to Myth:  The Structure and Function of Self-Alienation inKafka’sMetamorphosis.”  The Literary Review.  Web. http://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/david.brenner/engl2333/course-materials-required-reading/copy_of_argument-research-termpaper-essay/suggested-sources-stage-2-for-research-papers/source-kafka-and-alienation.  Accessed 12 August 2017.