The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, October 16, 2020 1:00 am

Cast votes that assure quality of life for everyone

Abe Schwab

For the past 15 to 20 years, I've been a bit confounded by the way the votes of my fellow Americans require us to live.

These voters may be narrowly focused on single issues or distracted by rhetorical sleight of hand, but I wonder whether they actually believe we should live the way they are voting.

For example, they vote for candidates who believe we should provide limited, if any, worker protections, and who hamper or directly outlaw unions. They endorse a system in which an employee may be fired at any moment for any reason.

This, of course, produces an ever-present sense of insecurity in someone's employment, which carries with it the attendant anxieties and frustrations of uncertainty.

Is this how you think we should live?

My fellow Americans also vote for candidates who believe we should provide a limited and loose social safety net for the unemployed. Some protection is provided, but it is short on length and quality.

It is difficult for an individual, let alone a family, to keep their home and provide for their basic subsistence on the support we currently provide. And so, the worker who may be out of their job at any moment's notice may also then be unable to pay their rent.

Is this how you think we should live?

My fellow Americans also vote for candidates who believe we should not provide basic health care for everyone. Instead, these candidates continue to endorse a system of health care access that is largely dependent on the will of their employer.

And so, the worker who could lose their job at any moment and thereby lose their means to maintain shelter and subsistence may lack the resources to access needed health care even if they remain employed.

Sure, there's Medicaid, but in Indiana, Medicaid covers a very small portion of the individuals who lack the resources to purchase their own insurance.

Is this how you think we should live?

Given this system, in which an individual is under constant threat of unemployment, loss of home and hearth, and access to health care, it's not surprising my fellow Americans are more likely to suffer mental health issues than residents in most other industrialized nations. There is a lot to be stressed and anxious about when one's job, no matter the quality of one's performance, may be gone tomorrow, and the social safety net has many holes, and they have limited or no access to health care. And then this, of course, is compounded by the fact that a lack of access to health care means a lack of access to mental health care resources as well.

And so, my fellow Americans have voted for candidates who endorse a system in which workers may lose their job at any moment, may thereby lose their homes, and may not have access to health care resources including the mental health care resources they may need to deal with the anxiety produced by this never-ending threat of job loss.

And, of course, all of this has been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has led to even greater uncertainty for those who still have gainful employment.

And so, the question is, should we keep voting for candidates who believe we should live this way?


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