Care is an organizational structure needed to keep our nation running. It’s, by definition, infrastructure.
Source: Molly Doris-Pierce on Twitter
Putting care—not just care work, but care—at the center of our economy, our politics, is to orient ourselves around our interdependence.
care work makes all other work possible
Source: Care for All Agenda
I added those quotes to my Just Sayin’ collection in a new section on care.
I love how the Biden administration is centering care and pushing for HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) funding, especially after an administration that centered cruelty and left the HCBS system on the brink of collapse.
President Trump and Sen. McConnell’s relief bills contained no funding for HCBS, leaving the system on the brink of collapse. The most recent relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, contains $12 billion for HCBS, and advocates weren’t even certain the money would be in there until late in the process. Historically, home care and disability services in general simply haven’t been a priority, under Democrats and Republicans. Under President Joe Biden, that appears to have changed, as $400 billion is more than any of the advocates I spoke to had hoped for or expected.
Deinstitutionalization and HCBS services are the biggest priorities of the neurodiversity and disability rights movements. That $400 billion is desperately needed.
Interdependence and care are good framing and good centering. Design is tested at the edges, where care is most needed. This $400 billion is a very welcome recognition of all that. Cheers to all the advocates and policy workers who got us to where this is even a possibility.
I’ve been rabbitholing, lately, on eugenics, particularly on what I call the cradle-to-grave eugenics of our current systems, contrasting that with the bioarchaeology of compassion and care. During my journey, this line jumped out to me as a disabled and neurodivergent parent of disabled and neurodivergent kids:
“[O]ur system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.”
By not providing care.
When care is not infrastructure, when we are not oriented around our interdependence, we generate ableism and eugenics.
But if you’re killing an entire person to get rid of a non-communicable health condition, maybe think on why you’d feel the need for that. Is it for the good of the child? Is it for the greater good? How do you define that? Maybe it’s because our current system places greater value on a certain type of person? Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.
The notion of disability in our society is underscored by a bizarre conception of “independence”.
It is time to celebrate our interdependence!
We are dying for you to widen your lens.
Republicans have balked at the idea that infrastructure encompasses caregiving. “We’re up against a gender and racial bias that this work is not worth as much as the rubber, steel and auto work of the past century,” Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU, told The Washington Post. “The key job right now is we have to in the public imagination and in the congressional debate widen the lens, so that people understand that investment in caregiving is an investment in infrastructure.”