Socialism, Let's Do It, Please?
by Lisa Macafee
I have a problem with perspective taking. It’s an autistic thing.
For example. I assume that everyone who passingly knows me, knows that I have a deep-seated conviction for socialist ideals and social justice. It’s not like I have it tattooed on my forehead, so many people don’t know this.
You could say that socialism is a special interest of mine. I cannot fathom how people don’t see this as the objectively superior economic system with which to distribute wealth.
For anyone who doesn’t know how socialism works, it gives to each according to what they need. 40% taxes on most and those who make over $200,00 are taxed almost everything in surplus of that.
This pays for free medical care for all, reduced housing costs, free public transportation, free college and university.
There are still wealthy and less wealthy folk, but it’s a difference of one nice house, a timeshare, and three nice cars instead of 16 nice houses and 34 nice cars.
At the point of wealth inequality that the United States experiences, I’m tempted to root for a French Revolution style change! No one deserves, needs, or should have so much when children go without food or heat in the winter. No one deserves such excess when children suffer. Everyone should have a nice place to live, and I have no problem redistributing wealth. Yes, I would lose some of my wealth. No, that does not bother me.
100% worth it. Because. Crime is dramatically reduced when people aren’t struggling to make ends meet and failing. When people have opportunities to go to school to get a career they enjoy and not be forced into indentured servitude to do so. When the edge of desperation is removed from people’s lives who choose between dinner and heat tonight. Things… are better. Teen pregnancies decrease. The state pays for rehabilitation instead of prison (which reduced recidivism and increases productivity).
Poverty. Does. Not. Exist.
I remember my mother being angry and sad that my brother had turned on the air conditioning in summer. It would cost almost $20, she said, aghast after having worked until 2am the night previous.
I remember my father drinking himself into a stupor every night because he couldn’t provide for his family in the way he had been indoctrinated that he should.
I remember my mother taking me school shopping for the new year and spending $100 for clothes and I could see how proud she was to be able to do this.
I remember my mother teaching us how to collect food from the dumpster in back of Long’s Drugs that wasn’t “bad”, it just wasn’t “best by” anymore.
I remember learning to sew so that I could make my own clothes.
I remember getting a job at 15 and working full-time at 17 to be less of a burden.
I remember when my first friend committed suicide because they couldn’t get a job that made them feel competent. I remember when the second friend died of a heroin overdose. The third friend died in a dangerous job accident he had because he was a felon. The friend who was blinded in a drug-related accident.
I remember too much pain and suffering from being poor.
I remember thinking that everyone knew all this. I still think everyone knows all this. Of course, they didn’t and don’t. Perspective taking.
Then I discovered socialism and that there were countries that didn’t allow their people to live with such pain. HOW COULD WE NEGLECT OUR OWN?! I didn’t understand how there could be a way to avert the suffering of children, and we just choose not to do it.
Selfish. Mean. Cruel.
In college, I chose to study abroad in Sweden (paid for with student loans – best choice ever!) so that I could live in a socialist country and see if it really worked. I fell in love. If it wasn’t sub-zero for much of the year, I would probably have moved there. Socialism worked. I took the free bus everywhere - most people did. It was clean and safe and no one understood why Americans felt the need to drive their own car places. I asked people about their taxes and housing costs. I asked about poverty, to which they wrinkled their noses, as if I’d asked them about public executions (they don’t have poverty like we do).
There is a better way. We can take care of one another. Please, let’s do. Children haven’t done anything to deserve the horrors our society inflicts on them. Let’s be better and do better.
For anyone wondering, it has not always been this way – things have changed dramatically since the 1950s when top US incomes were taxed 75%
The poorest have less than nothing while the wealthy have more than they anyone could ever need.
When viewed in fifths, you can see how people below 80% would be largely unaffected by the increased taxation of socialism, and how the last 1% has almost 40% of the nation's wealth.
I am adjusting to having fibromyalgia.
By Lisa Macafee
Fibromyalgia occurs most often in autistic women survivors of sexual violence. If someone tells you they have fibro, there’s a chance they are also telling you those things.
Doctors still can’t really define fibromyalgia, but basically our brains, under too much stress for too long, mis-wire sensory signals as pain signals, so things that normally are not painful, are.
In 2020 I started seeing all kinds of doctors to try to help me get my life back. I was getting migraines 3-5 times per week and had pain and fatigue that made it difficult to do anything and was only able to sleep 5-6 hours per night before waking up in pain, usually also with a migraine.
For those who don’t experience migraines, they are an increasing headache and mental sluggishness that rises eventually into chronic vomiting. Basically it feels as though my skull in in a vice that slowly compresses until my cognitive ability declines into mumbles and madness. Without a Sumatriptan prescription, I would be on disability, unable to work. Thank you modern medicine!
When my father died in May, I thought I had covid (I did not), because I was so fatigued and in pain that I couldn’t even sit in a chair for more than an hour or two – I had to lie down for the majority of the day. It turns out that fibromyalgia “flare-ups” are an awful lot like the flu with body aches, pain, and weakness. Flare ups are most often brought on by stress, ha ha, as if the life stress is not enough, your body shuts down.
For me, the weird fibromyalgia things that cause migraines (in addition to typical triggers) are wearing clothing on my upper back and having too much hair. Yup. Sounds like a lunatic talking right there, but here we are.
I have re-arranged my entire wardrobe. I’ve bought super low-neck shirts and wear them backwards or cut the backs out of my shirts. Every so often I decide that this has got to be unreal and try a “normal” shirt and get a migraine within two hours of wearing it.
I started cutting my own hair. I shave the bottom half off and have started cutting the bottom off a ponytail to keep the rest short. I know when my hair gets too long because I start getting migraines every day, as happened to me this week (I cut my own hair yesterday and feel much better – less weight pulling at me).
I started getting a monthly Emgality shot that prevents most migraines except for the weird fibromyalgia ones (shirts and hair).
I was prescribed a light muscle relaxer to take every night before bed and it allows me to sleep through the night without waking in pain or migraine, allowing me to get enough rest to feel better and not hurt everywhere the next day.
These are huge victories. I still have one or two migraines per week, but compared to 66% of days previously, it’s awesome!
I am learning to give in to the weirdness of fibromyalgia and have felt a lot better for it, but it’s a lot of extra layers of bullshit and I’m tired. I will likely be disabled enough in the future that I am unable to work. Chronic illness is for suckers, don't get one, okay?
Hello friends! I would like to publish writings from myself and other people with autism as snapshots of how autism has affected them, since there are so many misconceptions and confusions about adults with autism.
Some background: I completed a 12 unit certificate program to be able to serve autistic students and am angry at how the program focused only on little boys as autistic and completely left out adults, the trans autistic population, and girls/ femmes/ women autistics. I am currently pursuing a PsyD to do more research on autism and gender.
Please contact me if you would like to add a story! If so, please send me your piece, publish name, title, and an image (can be a picture related to your content, your picture, an autism meme, etc).
I am interested in publishing this collection, because people don't know enough about us (but sure do assume a lot). Also on Facebook!
Lisa Macafee, autistic counselor with a hankering for social justice.