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 /
Feb 9, 2016

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 ·
Trending Today
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 18,823 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 13,500 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 10,132 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 6,654 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 5,746 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
The Fire Within
Words by Sophie Scholl - Illustrations by Gavin Aung Than · 5,507 views today · Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) was a German activist who is famous for speaking out against the Nazi regime. Scholl was a member of a protest group called The White Rose, which...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 5,309 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
The London Anarchist Group Squatting Mansions to Fight Homelessness
6 min · 4,024 views today · London squatting activists ANAL (Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians) are squatting empty multi-million pound buildings and opening them up to the homeless.
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 3,754 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 3,580 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 2,647 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...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 2,616 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 2,583 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 2,456 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 1,514 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,300 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 1,159 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,024 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 921 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 884 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
My Special Place in Hell, Courtesy of Unfettered Greed