Thursday, October 30, 2008

Look What You Have Done!

You have gone and dragged me into even more political commentary!
First, Ramsam's comment: "I don't say this to cause a fight, but I was raised in a house where we were 'destined to be poor' and dad took money from us as we babysat, cleaned houses, etc, to support HIS habit of driving the streets all day and shopping at DI. MY mom cried in the bedroom most days and we never went to parties, played sports, or signed up for anything that cost a dime.

I was 'the selfish one' ( my parents words) because I earned my way and made a living for myself, I even bought my own car, and while I did help at Christmas and do things that I felt were important for my family, it angered me so badly to watch my parents.... they didn't work much because other people always bailed them out, so I disagree with you due to my first hand experience. They were total 'second handers'.

I love the fact that I can work as much as I want to buy what I need, and when people on welfare apply for cell phones (and get them) or get a "non-income" tax credit (check for doing nothing) it does anger me. Where is the drive and motivation in that? It is definitely NOT part of God's plan to do nothing and reap a reward. "By the sweat of thy brow" do we earn our keep, not the sweat of the brows of those that are willing to work hard.

Do you have more than one car? Do you have a cell phone? Why? You should give them away right now, because there are people who probably need them more than you and can't afford to go buy them. You should give away all your cute needles and yarn and craft stuff to people who want to do crafts but don't want to use their own money to buy them......

those concepts don't make sense!

But I am independent, and I think both parties are screwed up! I try to vote with what lines up with my own morals, and that is so different for everyone.

And I still love you and still want to read your blog. This is just another take on it. I respectfully disagree, but you give me much to ponder.


I wrote this as an email for Ramsam, but after calling my mom and getting her permission to post it, I think I will post my reply here.

And yes, I do see your point dear, I really do. And I am not demeaning hard work, nor the necessity of hard work. Just two things though. What about people like my little man, who will never be able to work? Should he go hungry and homeless because he is disabled? Many of the welfare cuts are affecting people just like him, when there isn't enough money, they take it from the poorest, not the richest. Don't forget welfare and Medicaid cuts affect the poorest of the poor. The widows, the orphans, those disabled in mind and body.
What if you stood before the Lord, angry at your father, and He told you that your father suffered from a mental illness? Is he then undeserving? Who are we to decide who deserves charity and who does not? Why would anyone want to live as your father did? I find it hard to believe he chose that out of a healthy heart and mind. When Christ fed the 5000, He did not sit down and give everyone a worthiness interview, He fed all the hungry. He told us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give to the least. Not judge them, not find them undeserving of our love and charity.
Second, not to lecture you, but I doubt you have ever been really poor. Have you known that it was going to be below zero, have 20$ and know you could either put that in the propane tank or feed your children? Have you gone to bed hungry? Have you sent your children to bed hungry?
Take this scenario. You live in a very small community that is over 100 miles in any direction from a town. You live in a trailer. The unemployment rate is over 90% because there are no jobs in the area. There is no industry, no area to be employed in. You have no running water, you use water from a pipe at a neighbors house. When your children need a bath, you heat water on the stove and pour it into the tub, water you carried bucket by bucket into the trailer. No running water means no toilet. Have you been without a toilet? It means you go out to the outhouse to use it. If you are the mother, and you don't want to take your three year old out in her pj's in below zero weather, you have the children use a bucket in the trailer and then the next day, in two feet of snow, take the stinking bucket out the outhouse and pour it in. You own no car, and no hope of getting one, there is no car dealer in town, you don't have a job, you can't save any money because every dime you have goes into getting enough food and propane in the tank for the winter. Without the propane, you will freeze to death like the family that lived the next street over. You water down the tomato sauce with water, so there is enough to cover the noodles. You can not move anywhere, that would take money you do not have, nor do you have any hope of getting any. You look at your wedding ring and wonder if you pawn it, will there be enough money for propane and food?
My darling Ramsam, I lived this. As a child, my mother struggled to make sure that we didn't go hungry, but there were times when she knew there would be no food the next week without a miracle. It took me a long time to realize that my mom didn't water down the tomato sauce because she liked that way, but because she didn't have a quarter for another can of tomato sauce. I know hundreds of families who live like this.
You have no idea how richly blessed you were to even be able to get a job. If you lived where my family lives, there would have been no job for you to get and there is no bus system to take you where there are more jobs. You have something the people I know do not have. Hope and a vision of a better life. For the families I know, it just isn't a reality. The stuff they see on TV is nothing more than a fantasy, and like most fantasy's, ungraspable.
I am one of the lucky ones. My mom is an extraordinary person, and she was able to find both the vision and the means to attend college, perhaps with some the "welfare" programs you feel are unnecessary. She has worked very hard to get where she is, and yet, she too feels that all should have shelter and food, no matter what. No child and no adult in this country should go to bed hungry or cold, not ever, we have too much and there is no reason besides an attitude to punish the poor that it happens.
I believe with all my heart there is enough for everyone. That there should be a level no person should fall below. All should have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. We are the only industrialized nation that allows for people to fall below this level. For whatever reason, mental or physical that people can not, or won't work, going hungry will not "teach" them to get off their butts and get a job. You are a white woman raised in a middle class area. I understand that you do not have the experience to realize that race and class play into poverty in America. You might have not been able to play sports because of the choices your parents made, but you did not go to bed hungry at night.
You are right of course, there are people who will take advantage of the system, who will buy alcohol with their welfare dollars, but does that mean we should make welfare cuts? Should all be punished for the sins of the few? What if you knew that only a small percentage of people misused the system? 90% of the people who come off their lifetime allotment of two or three years of welfare dollars will stay below poverty level, even though they are working. Even if they went to school for those two years, what kind of job could they get with two years of school? Most end up staying at jobs either at minimum wage or just above, with no hope of ever getting out of there. And that my friend is what I am talking about. Thank you for your comment, and I appreciate the opportunity to expand on my thoughts and feelings on this. Very few people will experience real poverty or have a chance to see it. But I have, so I am asked to raise my voice for those who do not have one, or haven't found theirs' yet.

9 Kids Who Want To Play:

Ambitious Blonde said...

Jo, you made me cry. But it was the good kind of crying so it's OK.

Have you ever thought of going into politics, even at a local level? Your eloquence and willingness to use your voice for those who don't have one could be a real godsend for them.

You are amazing, kiddo. Really, truly amazing. :)

Kristina P. said...

Jo, I agree. There are people who definitely made their bed, and they need to lie. But, you and are in the social services field, if you will, and we both see things that are not the fault of the person in poverty.

Sometimes life deals you a crappy hand. Does that mean you should do nothing, whine about it, blame society, and the government? No. But most people who are poor and live in poverty don't want to be there.

Dads(2) said...

You, simply put, are perfection--pure perfection!

Sheri said...

Nicely said Jo! I left a similar, yet far less eloquent post over on a post at North of Reality yesterday about the same thing.

And there is no such thing as a non-income tax credit. You actually have to earn an income to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. I have no problem with this "free money" because if you are eligible you are living below the poverty level AND working already.

When I found out I was pregnant I had no health insurance. I was working and Robert had to leave his job to stay home full time with Dustin. I felt horrible using "the system" for medicaid, but my mom reminded me that I had paid into that system since I was 15 and began working.

There are those who abuse any system. You are completely right that we should not penalize all for the deeds of a few.

Our welfare system does good. I truly believe that is what sets up apart from a third world country that has the very rich and the very poor. If it is called socialism now we have been doing it since the early 19th century. I don't think it's called redistribution of wealth, I think it's called kindness.

K J and the kids said...

Amazing stories. I'm glad you survived it because here you are.

I 2nd that, and I would also like to add....that it might be the democrat in me, but it makes me sick that someone (who worked REALLY REALLY HARD) buys a car that costs as much as a FRIGGIN' HOUSE, one of 8 cars he owns, when there are people who are starving and worried about a place to sleep.

I wish there was a way that everyone could only live at a certain level. Max 3 houses, 3 cars, 2 swimming pools....the rest goes to others.
Why can you shoot a ball in a hoop and live like a king. I've never understood it.

OH OH OH...and don't forget about the MOTHERS who are left to raise all of her kids and trying to make ends meet and can't.
I could go on and on and on....but I won't :) ha ha

Whitney R said...

I started by reading Ramona's letter and completely agreed with her.
Then I read yours. I agree with you, too. I personally think it is up to the person to get themselves out of their environment that isn't productive and get into a productive one. I am competletely fine with people using welfare and financial aid to GET SOMEWHERE. To do something good with it. Granted - take what you need to feed your family and pay the bills but don't spend it on things you don't need. Use it to better your life and to make it possible to not need it anymore.

There are some people who do have too much money. Some that really don't have to work very hard for it. But there are some people who work very very hard for the money they get and made the sacrifices to get there. Only for someone who isn't willing (I'm not saying this is anyone you know or that you talked about.. I'm talking about people who wont make the effort) to get some of that hard earned money without doing much to earn it.

Again. I don't have beef with welfare systems or medcaid or medicare. I think they do great things for people who need help getting on their own two feet. Then there are those that spend money they don't have, go into debt and then apply for welfare and medicaid and take other people's hard earned money because they couldn't be frugal.

I have a lot of different opinions. I just think people should do everything they can to make their lives, and others, better. I don't mind paying my taxes. I don't want people to starve or go roofless. I guess it all depends on the type of person they are. And I'm not the one to judge that.

Thank heavens.

Thank you for this :)

Maggie said...

Jo, my friend. You say it like it is and that's why I have so much respect for you.

Sue said...

Fantastic post Jo.

(RE: the dumping comment - that made me sad - I hope you don't think that - I'm very negligent and jerky - but still full of fondness for one of my original blog friends :>)

Jenny said...

Here Here! Jo for Gov!

"When Christ fed the 5000, He did not sit down and give everyone a worthiness interview, He fed all the hungry."

I'm filing that away for use again later. That quote is priceless.