Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Give Us Social Care, Not Self Care

Return the gift

Today came the news that my daughters' school may not be open until January. Meanwhile, I am going in part time at my school, and my wife has to go to school every day. This, as you could imagine, creates a bit of a conundrum for us. We are relying on a combo of overpriced part-time day care and grandparent help to make this possible. Time will tell if this holds together.

We are not being given any help from our employers, our daughters' school district, or our local, state, and national government. What we are told, over and over again by those same entities, is that we need to practice "self care." "Self" as in "handle it yourself." As in "Fuck you we aren't going to help you." "Self care" is a heinous neoliberal plot to make people think that problems like not having proper child care can be solved with mindfulness meditation.

I am through with it. You can take your self care and shove it up your ass. It sure feels good when I order Chinese take-out and wash it down with some French wine, but it does absolutely nothing in regards to the underlying problems I am facing. It's less than worthless, since not only do my problems remain, I am made to feel as if it's all my fault for it getting me down.

If this moment has taught us anything, it's that the ethic of capitalist individuality does not work when the shit goes down. We don't need self care, we need social care. We need a society that takes care of its members, that offers them basic protections. If we had social care we could close down businesses and compensate workers to get the virus under control. We could avoid parents having to quit their jobs in order to take care of their kids. We could have schools refurbished to be more spacious and ventilated, and for children to be learning in them. 

Instead we have given everyone a little bag of self care magic beans, and told them to cheer up while their neighbors choke to death. To quote Gang of Four, return the gift. Fill that bag with gasoline, light it on fire, and throw it back. 

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