My Special Place in Hell, Courtesy of Unfettered Greed
'Women all over the country can write about the damage done to their lives by the rigged economy and the special place in hell they work to escape daily when trying to fight back.'
My Special Place in Hell, Courtesy of Unfettered Greed
By Donna Smith /

The comments made by Madeleine Albright about the "special place in hell reserved for women who do not help other women" certainly caught my attention this weekend.  While the implications were that those who support Bernie Sanders might find themselves suffering eternal damnation, which I reject, I will leave it to other more capable experts to point out how inconsistent Albright’s comments were in light of just some of the death and injury caused to women and children in the 1990s in Iraq under sanctions issued on Albright’s watch.

"It is a special place in hell women find themselves in when they hear women who know precious little about what we face within the healthcare system because their positions of privilege and power afford them all they could ever need."For many, many years, working class women and girls like me in this country have suffered in a "special kind of hell" as we have struggled against policies rigged to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful. So for these and other reasons, I must take issue with making gender the primary determinant when making my choice in this Democratic presidential primary.

There is a special place in hell reserved for those who can see millions of women and girls go without access to healthcare they can afford and not decisively to end the suffering.  Since this is the area I know most about and since it is the area that most damaged my life, let me be clear about how that special place in hell looks and feels to women like me.

Today, at 61 years old, I pay more than $600 a month for health coverage on the Colorado health exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act.  As if that isn’t enough of a dent in my income, I still have large deductible and co-pays that force me to pause before I seek care at all. In addition, though I pay $40 a month for dental insurance, I am having my teeth pulled one by one as problems surface because I cannot afford the literally thousands of dollars in dental work recommended to fix all the issues that years of dental care neglect have caused. That’s a special place in hell.

Why didn’t I get my teeth fixed or find a better job that paid better or at least provided better benefits? Because it’s the special kind of hell women like me confront when we are weeded out of the hiring process due to gender and age as employers do not care to take on the costs of health coverage for older workers or the potential that we will actually need care for something. I simply do not have the funds to pay out of pocket for dental care – it is outrageously expensive in this country.  That’s a special place in hell.

"Our healthcare system swallowed us. Doctors and hospitals threatened to sue. Choices were gone.  That’s a special place in hell."

Why didn’t I use the college education I struggled so hard to get while working full-time and raising six children to advance myself?  I had big dreams. My college honored me with many awards and all predictions were that good things were ahead for me if I worked hard to achieve those things. And I sure worked hard. But because my husband got sick, it was up to me to keep the ship afloat. I fought to keep my insurance benefits, stayed in jobs that had little advancement potential, and made sure to take care of the kids so that no one would suffer too much. I am so grateful the children were able to pursue their own dreams and get out of the house before the deepest financial decline came, but my dreams for pursuing a life of public service died as our financial decline continued into bankruptcy. Our healthcare system swallowed us. Doctors and hospitals threatened to sue. Choices were gone.  That’s a special place in hell.

So when I hear Bernie Sanders say he believes in Medicare for all, I know that would have given me a fighting chance to avoid so much of the trauma that has held me back. And I know so many other women face similar life situations with the greed-based, Wall Street backed healthcare system.  Working hard and caring greatly hasn’t been enough. That’s a special place in hell.

It makes me angry, and it makes me unlikely to vote for anyone who refuses to fix the healthcare system in the most sensible, sane way for us all – women and men alike.  Women all over the country can write about the damage done to their lives by the rigged economy and the special place in hell they work to escape daily when trying to fight back.

But most especially, it is a special place in hell women find themselves in when they hear women who know precious little about what we face within the healthcare system because their positions of privilege and power afford them all they could ever need.  Imagine that special place in hell I might have avoided, and please do not ask me to turn my support to anyone based on anything other than a firm commitment to achieving real good for all people. Having a vagina is not sufficient for me. Supporting 'Medicare for All' is.  My support is with Bernie Sanders for this reason and many other similar policy reasons.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Donna Smith is the executive director of Progressive Democrats of America.  PDA's mission is to strengthen the voice of progressive ideas inside and outside the Democratic Party by using "inside/outside" and "grassroots fusion" models of working both in the Democratic Party as well as working with other progressive organizations both inside and outside the Party.

4.4 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 12,616 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,251 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 2,252 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
Mark Corske's Engines of Domination (2014)
60 min · 2,030 views today · Political power -- armed central authority, with states and war -- is it part of human nature? Is it necessary for human communities? Or is it a tool that ruling elites use to...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,932 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,874 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 1,484 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 914 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 903 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 781 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 730 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Gil Scott-Heron Deconstructs Colonialism and Black History in His Own Unique Style
3 min · 727 views today · His-Story: I was wondering about our yesterdays, and starting searching through the rubble and to say the very least, somebody went to a hell of a lot of trouble to make sure...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 585 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 450 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 395 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 383 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 309 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
Are You Lost in the World Like Me?
3 min · 289 views today · Animated film by Steve Cutts for 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me?', taken from These Systems Are Failing- the debut album from Moby & The Void Pacific Choir. 
The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism
Chris Hedges · 284 views today · College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity—embodied in...
World's Low-Cost Economy Built on the Backs of 46 Million Modern Day Slaves
Deirdre Fulton · 258 views today · 'Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible.'
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
My Special Place in Hell, Courtesy of Unfettered Greed