Wednesday, November 07, 2012

i am welfare

hi, i'm going to get a little political and personal on here.  if you are sick of hearing about elections and politics and issues, you are more than happy to go look at kittens.  may i suggest lil bub?! she is the sweetest little mutant in the whole wide world and i love her. 

what bummed me out the most about this election was how nasty everyone seemed to get.  i'm the first to admit i have pretty pinko, lefty tendencies, vote democratic most of the time (when i'm not voting green like the hippie i am), but some of the rhetoric coming from the vocal right seemed downright cruel.  i can't tell you how much it saddens me to read endless facebook posts and blog entries about how people who vote for obama want handouts, how people on welfare are fleecing the system, how government shouldn't in any way step in and help out women, children and families.   when did it become a bad thing to extend some compassion towards those with less? when did it make us evil, lazy and socialist?

personally, i have benefited from public assistance.  more than once in my life, a government or social agency stepped in to help me out when i needed it.  as a child, i had some dental issues that my dad's insurance didn't cover, and he and my mom couldn't afford.  thanks to a deal the tribe i belong to and a local tribe made, i was able to get the dental work i needed on a nearby reservation.  i got student loans in college, as well as money for work study.  both of those are government programs.  while in college, i used the local food pantry once or twice when what i made in part time jobs didn't cover my ramen bills. did i sometimes spend student loan or work study money on beer and going out? sure.  i was young and made poor decisions, like everyone else i know.  was i actively trying to steal money from any government agency? no.  after college, as a young woman working and living on her own, i enrolled in a program through planned parenthood, where government money and donations helped with the cost of my birth control. 

people like me, who use the system at times when they need it, for whatever reason, make up the majority of those helped by social and government assistance programs.  flavor flav taking a limo and all his kids to pick up various welfare checks is an image that too many people cling to; that those who use welfare are "not us," are different, are morally and socially lacking in some way.  in reality, i am the face of welfare.  probably more people than you know are, too.  i know my kids benefited from health care services their mom and my husband received, and i'm grateful for that.  my father and his family got government assistance.  not for long, and not with the intent of not working.  i think if more people were outspoken about this, maybe we could reduce some of the stigma and negativity surrounding discussions of welfare and government's role in assisting those with less. 

you can tell a lot about a country, a tribe, a community, a group, by how they treat those who have the least.  if that's the case, then what does that say about you? your government? your political party? 

1 comment:

erik98122 said...

Well said! I couldn't agree more!!