A 54 year old woman from a town just outside of Boston killed herself yesterday because she could not make her mortgage payment. Before fatally shooting herself, she faxed a note to the mortgage company saying the foreclosure had killed her. A second note to her husband and son said simply, use the insurance money to pay for the house. What she did not know, is that insurance companies do not pay out on suicides.
Thousands of people are losing their houses regularly to the mortgage crisis. As I wrote last summer, tent cities are sprouting up in California and the working class homeless ride the buses all night and then shower at a community facility before going to their office jobs in that state as well. When visiting San Jose two years ago, I sat and talked with homeless youth that have no jobs to look forward to, no housing b/c they feel like drains on their natal families, and who are part of the informal economy by necessity not some investment in a “damn the man ethos.” All of these people have a very clear analysis of the economy and how it works (and who it works for).
While politicians point to immigrants and outsourcing instead of to the lucrative deals embedded in NAFTA, CAFTA, and other neo-liberal trade policies that line their pockets and increase economic instability and subsequent human mass mobility and engendered lines of exploitation, women’s safety and security becomes the first sacrifice in a long line. The unemployment rate in several major cities has either increased every year or remained constant but high. The sense of shame and loss associated with the constant search for a job in a market flooded with over-qualified job seekers has even hit the blogs. And articles get written at least once a month about how a college education no longer guarantees solvency.
Meanwhile both Congress and the presidential candidates debate whether or not a recession is actually happening in N. America. They blame Latinos for job loss. They blame the Chinese for tainted food and toys. They blame the Middle East and the Gulf for gas prices. Any brown body will do to distract us from the bloat at the top and the policies that put us all at risk.
Now a woman is dead. She is probably not the first one to commit suicide when the American dream was wrestled from her. It is unlikely she will be the last.
There is an election on, and it is time to stop pointing the finger at all “those people over there;” the boogeyman in the night come to take your children’s future is just smoke and mirrors to keep you from asking questions and demanding answers. When the presidential candidates come to your town, demand they answer the hard questions about our economy and women’s place in it. Don’t let the fear tactics and the soundbites sway you.
One way you can help is by supporting the Sanctuary’s efforts to get the candidates to answer real questions about their histories and their policies. Read Here.