Taking care of dad in the tea party’s America


BARTLETT, Tenn. - A few months ago on a Sunday after church, I stopped into a local fast food restaurant for lunch. It was well after the noon rush and there was only one woman working the counter and one cook in the back. The woman waiting on me appeared to be in her late 50s or 60s, and looked very tired. As I was placing my order, an older gentleman who had been in the dining area began heading toward the exit. The woman behind the counter shouted at him and ran around the counter, grabbed him and ushered him back to his seat. She returned to the counter, apologized and began taking my order again. Once again she had to stop before I was finished and lead the older man back to his seat.

When she returned, she explained with tears in her eyes that the man was her father and he had advanced Alzheimer's. I told her I understood what she was going through because my mother had died with the disease three years earlier. The woman told me, "Back when I had a full-time, Monday through Friday, job I took him to an Alzheimer's day care on weekdays, but the day care is not open on weekends." She went on to say that she was working a part-time split-shift job now at a local dry cleaner and working weekends at the restaurant, both minimum-wage jobs.

She told me her manager was not working that day, but she was pretty sure when her boss found out she was bringing her dad to work with her, she would lose this job too.

Our local congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, is a tea party Republican who voted against health care reform and was opposed to extending unemployment benefits. If anyone in her family was stricken with a catastrophic disease, she would certainly be able to adequately provide for their needs ... with the nice salary, health benefits and perks provided to her through the taxes on low-wage earners like the people in her district working multiple minimum-wage jobs trying to make ends meet.

Photo: Nuevo Anden CC 2.0 

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  • People should sit in at that congressprick's office with media in attendance. This tragedy is being played out all over this country and is criminal. Crimes of the highest order

    Posted by Harvey Smith, 02/13/2011 6:11am (4 years ago)

  • My heart goes out to that brave lady and all the others who are being tortured working hours they can't do easily.

    I actually saw a VERY OLD granny at Walmart who was a greeter: she could barely stand up.

    We've become a heartless nation. Real worth and well being isn't monetary.....

    Posted by Helen, 02/12/2011 3:37pm (4 years ago)

  • Republicans = the party of GREED
    Democrats = the party of NEED

    Get it together and tend to the needs of the people like you're supposed to do.

    Posted by Tracy Knauss, 02/12/2011 3:05pm (4 years ago)

  • A sad story, but the"pro-life" Republicans are looking our for those poor billionaires who might have their taxes increased a couple of percentage points in order to take care of folks like that waitress's father.

    Posted by John Whiskey, 02/10/2011 11:44pm (4 years ago)

  • It's time we get together and show the upside of communism and how things could be different in a more socialist U.S.

    Posted by Patrick, 02/10/2011 7:51pm (4 years ago)

  • People in similar situations, whether caretakers of seniors or children, should start a movement of taking their charges to the offices of congress people who oppose care funding and leaving them there with instructions that the care is now in the congressperson's direct hands. Of course this should be done with cameras on for presentation in the media.

    Posted by Judy Botwin, 02/10/2011 4:06pm (4 years ago)

  • We have all heard this story too many times. I keep wondering when we will finally say ENOUGH. What will it take?

    Posted by bh, 02/10/2011 1:11pm (4 years ago)

  • The last paragraph points to the problem. The Republicans have insulated theselves (Democrats, too) from the real world of low paying jobs, no adequate health care--etc.

    When will the ordinary citizens wake up and throw all the bums out?

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 02/10/2011 12:36pm (4 years ago)

  • There are hundreds of thousands with similar stories and still the republicans/tea partyers/conservatives refuse to hear their voices. Thank you for being an eloquent voice
    for the plight of those who remain in the shadows.

    Posted by sengemo0, 02/09/2011 7:02pm (4 years ago)

  • What a story! The writer has keen insight into what's going on today, tragedy after tragedy!
    --jim lane

    Posted by jim lane, 02/09/2011 11:51am (4 years ago)

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