I’m part of the 47% of Americans you dissed today to your rich donors. You lumped me in with roughly half the people here in America, Mr. Romney. So, since you feel so confident that you know me so well, let me disabuse you of your elitist notions and tell you a little bit about myself.
I am a child of abusive parents. I was beaten and neglected. I nearly died of a ruptured appendix when I was 12 years old – because my parents wouldn’t take me to see a doctor. I was punished when I outgrew my shoes or needed new glasses. I was bullied in school and my hard-working and underpaid teachers protected and cherished me. Because of the dedication and compassion from those teachers who nurtured my young mind, I graduated from high school with a 3.75 GPA. I might have had a chance at scholarships, but I was too busy trying to stay alive – and to keep my stepfather’s hands off me.
After I graduated from high school, I was kicked out and was living on my own at 17, Mr. Romney, so I had to get a job to make my living. I had no stock to sell and my parents wouldn’t have given me a dime to save my life. My first job? I was a sales clerk at J. C. Penney’s, and stood on my feet for 8 hours a day, for which I was paid $2.00 an hour. Out of that, I paid my bills, bought groceries and a place to live – oh, and I paid my taxes.
Now, I’m 57 years old. I have paid taxes every single year of my working life. Do the math, Mr. Romney. I have paid my taxes for 40 years, and for each and every one of those years, my income taxes total up to approximately 15% of my yearly income. Sales tax, gas tax and other taxes eat up an additional 5%. I’ve had two periods of time when I collected unemployment, both lasting only 3 or 4 months at most.
Now, I have carpal tunnel and can’t do the work I was doing when my employer fired because I couldn’t do my job. I have been on disability. Now, I not only have the lousy economy to deal with, but I’m 57 years old and dealing with a disability which severely limits the type of job I can do. I look every day, but I’m not having much luck. Perhaps if your fellow Republicans in the House and the Senate hadn’t blocked President Obama’s every attempt at passing a jobs bill, well, I might have a job. I’ll keep looking, and in the meantime, the disability I receive is barely enough to keep my less-than-luxurious roof over my head and pay my bills. A friend took me grocery shopping this evening so I’d have groceries, because I had to put most of my remaining money into my gas tank.
So who the hell are you, Mitt Romney, born into and raised in luxury, to tell me – a child of abusive alcoholic parents, tossed out into the street at 17 – that I am lazy and not responsible for my own life? I was a teenager – and yet I found my own way. I was married to a man who beat me and abused me, who threatened my life – and I still made my own way, even while waiting for my divorce and living in fear because the police told me that there was nothing they could do to help me. I have been gainfully employed for most of my life. I do not smoke, drink or do drugs. I have never been in jail. I have paid the taxes that I consider to be the dues I pay for my membership in a civilized society. For most of my 50 working years, my taxes have gone to help others who needed it: poor working moms and dads with kids to feed, senior citizens and sick people. Now, my fellow Americans are helping me, for which I am grateful.
That does not make me lazy and dependent. So, Mr. Romney – just who the hell are you to call me a “moocher” or a “victim”?
I am neither. I am a survivor. You do not – and never will – represent me.