“I don’t have money,” Mason said, “to pay for other people’s health insurance.”
That may be the most insightful statement of the misguided conservative philosophy of self-interest I have ever heard. Senator, you already pay for other people’s health insurance. And assuming you have health insurance, other people pay for yours. That’s the way insurance works.
Very few people can afford to pay out of pocket for health care, so we pool our resources. No one pays in as much as they collect if and when they become seriously ill. We all underwrite one another. That’s why we need young, healthy people in the pool and why there is a health care mandate. And if people do not have health insurance, we pay for their care in the increased cost of our own health care and hospitalization.
The same is true of life insurance. Sure, you pay premiums, but when you cash out, it’s other people’s money that pays the death benefit. No one pays their own way in this world.
I first became aware of the emboldened and benighted selfishness of the conservative right when I served on the local School Committee back in the 1990s and heard people arguing that they should not have to pay for other people’s kids to go to school. Somehow the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay for anything that doesn’t directly benefit you swept through the conservative movement like a self-inflicted virus.
A decade on, I find it extremely tiresome to hear conservatives constantly complain about paying for health care, unemployment benefits and food stamps as though they were footing the entire bill themselves. They would have you believe that they not only pay their own way, but also have to support an entire family of illegal immigrants on welfare.
To begin with, no one pays their own way. We are all supported by other people’s money. And when it comes to taxes, the portion that goes to assist the poor is a pittance.
The American way of life is underwritten by the tax dollars we pool to support a civil society and the money we pay into a social safety network of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military and public pensions. No one other than criminals would be able to make a living, were it not for our concerted effort to work for the common good.
Of course, conservatives don’t believe in the common good, which to me means they don’t believe in America. Only in the perverse logic of the right, for example, could a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay the same fees as other ranchers for grazing his cattle on public land be considered some kind of a folk hero. He’s a thief.
Exclusive: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and a dozen other Veronica Mars alums will co-star in Play It Again, Dick.
When Play It Again, Dick — a web series revolving around Ryan Hansen’s fan favorite Veronica Mars character, Dick Casablancas — was announced in January 2014,…
Well, first, I remind myself that all the authors in that anthology have already been paid, and that the majority of anthologies never earn out or make any additional revenue for the authors inside. It’s a small thing, but it salves my conscience. Beyond that…
Let’s say there are three authors whose careers I monitor. Jan, who is an absolute favorite, whom I would follow to the ends of the earth. Pat, who stepped on my foot once at a con and didn’t say sorry, and who I consequentially avoid whenever it doesn’t inconvenience me. And Robin, who actively lobbies for causes I find repugnant, and flat-out says that my friends and family are perverts and freaks of nature for loving the people that we love. Now let’s say that there’s a new anthology containing all three people.
This is a problem for me, obviously. I want to read Jan’s story. More, I know Jan makes a lot of money from anthologies, and since I want Jan to keep getting those invitations, I don’t want to pirate the story. I’m okay with giving a little money to Pat; there’s no hatred there, just mild annoyance. But what about Robin? Robin’s an asshole and a bigot and I am really uncomfortable with the idea of forking over a penny.
This is my solution, which obviously is not perfect:
I buy the anthology. And then I take an exacto knife, and excise as much of Robin’s story as I can, slicing carefully one page at a time to prevent damaging the spine. If I’m lucky, Robin’s story doesn’t share any pages with the stories around it, and I can get the damn thing completely out. And then I mail that story to the publisher of the anthology, with a letter explaining that they almost lost my money because of Robin’s presence.
I am not advocating censorship. Authors are people too, and they’re going to live their lives as they see fit. But I am saying that you have a right to live your life as you see fit, too, and that if people are going to put an author who says your life is wrong in an anthology, you have a right to comment on it.
Also: please don’t yell at authors who share an anthology with Robin, because odds are they had no input at all on who got invited. We’re all just trying to put food on the table however we can.
Son of a gun, such a brilliant and simple solution. Never crossed my mind; I’d always try to figure the plus to minus ratio and then decide.
No cone of shame, for now. Bright, blue, smiley face bandage where the growth on his toe was removed. There’s Morbier waiting at home for him, and wine for me.
"Bessie Stringfield’s life is the stuff of which legends are made. Bessie has been mentioned in books, magazines, newspapers and television documentaries. In 1990, when the American Motorcyclist Association opened its Motorcycle Heritage Museum, Bessie featured in its inaugural exhibit on Women in Motorcycling. A decade later the AMA created the Bessie Stringfield Award to honor women who are leaders in motorcycling. In 2002, she was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Bessie, or BB as she was known among friends, described over 60 years of motorcycling: “I was somethin’! What I did was fun and I loved it.”
In the 1930s and 1940s Bessie made eight long-distance, solo rides across the United States. Speaking to a reporter, she dismissed the idea that “nice girls didn’t ride motorcycles in those days.” She was also seemingly fearless about riding through the Deep South when racial prejudice was a tangible threat.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911, she was brought to Boston as a young child but was orphaned by the age of 5. “An Irish lady raised me,” she recalled. “I’m not allowed to use her name. She gave me whatever I wanted. When I was in high school I wanted a motorcycle. And even though good girls didn’t ride motorcycles, I got one.” She was 16 when she climbed aboard her first motorbike, a 1928 Indian Scout, and, despite having no prior knowledge of how to operate it whatsoever, Bessie proved to be a natural. She insisted God gave her the skills. ”My [Irish] mother said if I wanted anything I had to ask Our Lord Jesus Christ, and so I did,” she said. “He taught me and He’s with me at all times, even now. When I get on the motorcycle I put the Man Upstairs on the front. I’m very happy on two wheels.” She was especially happy on Milwaukee iron. Her one Indian notwithstanding, Bessie said of the 27 Harleys she owned in her lifetime, “To me, a Harley is the only motorcycle ever made.”
At the age of 19 Bessie Stringfield began tossing a penny onto a map and then riding to wherever it landed. She covered all of the 48 lower states. Bessie’s faith got her through many nights. ”If you had black skin you couldn’t get a place to stay,” she said. “I knew the Lord would take care of me and He did. If I found black folks, I’d stay with them. If not, I’d sleep at filling stations on my motorcycle.” Bessie folded her jacket on the handlebars as a pillow and rested her feet on the rear mudguard. Using her skills and can-do attitude, she also performed trick riding in carnival stunt shows.
Between her travels, Bessie wed and divorced six times, declaring, “If you kissed, you got married.” She and her first husband were deeply saddened by the loss of three babies and Bessie had no more children. On divorcing her third husband, Arthur Stringfield, she said, “He asked me to keep his name because I’d made it famous!”
During the Second World War, Bessie worked for the army as a civilian motorcycle dispatch rider. The only woman in her unit, she completed rigorous training maneuvers. She learned how to weave a makeshift bridge from rope and tree limbs to cross swamps, although she never had to do so in the line of duty. With a military crest on the front of her own blue Harley, a “61,” she carried documents between domestic U.S. bases. Bessie encountered racial prejudice on the road. On one occasion she was followed by a man in a pickup truck who ran her off the road, knocking her off her bike. She played down her courage in coping with such incidents. “I had my ups and downs,” she shrugged.
In the 1950s, Bessie bought a house in Miami, Florida. She became a licensed practical nurse and founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. Disguised as a man, Bessie won a flat track race but was denied the prize money after she took off her helmet. Her other antics, such as riding while standing in the saddle of her Harley, attracted the attention of the local press. Reporters nicknamed her the “Negro Motorcycle Queen” and later the “Motorcycle Queen of Miami.”
Late in life, Bessie suffered from symptoms caused by an enlarged heart. “Years ago the doctor wanted to stop me from riding,” she recalled. “I told him if I don’t ride, I won’t live long. And so I never did quit.” Before she died in 1993, at the age of 82, Bessie said, “They tell me my heart is three times the size it’s supposed to be.” An apt metaphor for this unconventional woman whose heart and spirited determination have touched so many lives.