Dear Mr. President:
Until now I have been reluctant to write about the OWS movement, and yes, I am calling it a movement because I’ve been moved by the people that I’ve seen in the news and on multiple web sites. On Oct. 15th my husband Gary, and I, joined the Occupy Sacramento movement and were able to meet and talk with people about their motivation for being at the protest that day.
In so doing, we met Ralph and Gloria Hickman who brought a hand lettered sign that read: No Jobs, No Money, No Medical – No HOPE… I told them that I write letters to you almost every day, and asked them if they would mind telling me their story. They readily agreed because they want you to understand that their plight is the plight of many all across the country, the plight of the 99%… here is their story.
Ralph is 62 and Gloria is 61, both have worked most of their adult lives, but because of their health issues and the economy they have both been out of work for some time, aside from collecting cans and plastic bottles, their only income is Ralph’s SS income of $856 a month. Ralph has emphysema, lung cancer, lymphatic cancer, heart problems, and severe pancreatitis. Gloria has high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma. Over the last two years both have applied multiple times at a free clinic… have qualified 4 times, but have yet to see a doctor. Ralph has had to be hospitalized 3 times recently, and because they make just over the minimum amount, he does not qualify for Medical and is not old enough for Medicare. Their medical bills from the hospital have already exceeded $30,000.
Because they are unable to afford even the most basic medications for their medical conditions, they have been forced to purchase their drugs on the black market. Most of which is pain medication for Ralph because of his cancer. And even though the medications have expired dates, Ralph says it does allow a little relief from the pain.
Yes Mr. President, Ralph and Gloria are part of the 99% that we keep hearing about, and unfortunately their story is not unique. We saw people in wheelchairs, people with canes, and people with obvious medical conditions. It would have been easy for Ralph and Gloria to stay home and feel sorry for themselves, but they felt it was important to “show the real faces of the 99%.”
Although the 1% would like us to believe the 99% are drug-addled hippies, or people that are just lazy whining ne’er-do-wells. These people are families with children, seniors, college students, teachers, nurses, people who have lost their homes, and people of all ages, ethnicities, and circumstances.
Yes, they were people like Ralph and Gloria, people that have no work, no money, no medical and…NO HOPE. Is this the picture of America you envisioned Mr. President?
What is your plan for all of the Ralph’s and the Gloria’s that need immediate help? I want to know… and they need to know… What is your plan Mr. President?
Your Gadfly Granny