I was immediately angry because Romney's "off the cuff" words made me feel small and meaningless - he called me a bum. I'm a working nurse and I couldn't help but relate his message to my life. I felt insulted that because I have borrowed thousands of dollars in federal student loans that in Mitt's eyes, I am somehow not a contributing member of society - that I have no worth.
Then I thought about my dad, Ed Thompson. My dad was an amazing man. A Korean War veteran, he went to the Veterans Administration for some of his medical care, he was on Medicare, he worked from the time he was 10 years old on my pap's farm, in the coal mine in Ohio and in the steel mill. He provided for us, elevated and educated us. He was a respected man in our community. Mitt Romney called my dad a bum, and men like him, not worth his time.
My dad would have said "small people have to make other people feel small so they can feel big and important. We should pray for them."
So I have been praying for Mitt Romney because I honor my father's legacy by my actions. I have been praying for Mitt Romney to give me an apology. I have praying for him to have a heart and I have been praying for him to see me, a working nurse, along with the other nurses and healthcare workers and my patients and veterans, those of us in the 47%, to see us and not try to extinguish us or call us non-valuable human beings!
I am the 47% and I am not a bum. I want an apology! I am asking on behalf of all of those in the 47% because I refuse to count anyone out the way Romney did.
Mitt, I am also praying for one more thing: that Americans see you for exactly what you are - not worth our time!
Cathy Stoddart, BSN, RN, is Chair of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare Policy and Politics Committee and a Staff Nurse at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.