Something that always gets my hair all twisted up in a knot are these political discussions about the nature of our economy, socialism, capitalism. It can be very convoluted and full of rhetoric, but this common theme that irritates the heck out of me is a self absorbed inability to empathize. Being highly skilled at angst, misery, and woe, I can allow both sides of the debate to fully get on my nerves.
So one side is always all about how, “if I make good choices, get a good education, get a good job, no one should have the right to steal the fruits of my labors.” R-i-g-h-t. As if you did not benefit from a dozen hand ups, access to roads, libraries, public schools, supportive parents, good health, connections. Oh, no, everything your have is simply the result of your own “good choices.”
So like, people don’t chose to get hit by a bus or who their parents are, or where they are born, or what cards life deals them. People’s circumstances are not always all about their “choices.”
This idea that people just need to make better choices, pull themselves up by the bootstraps, irritates me no end. It expresses a complete sense of entitlement, a lack of gratitude, and arrogance, as in I did it all myself because I’m just that awesome. The have-nots just make bad choices. Not my problem. They should be smarter, like me.
As is human nature however, the so called “haves” seem to have no problem supporting a social security program that keeps their elderly relatives out of their hair, a food stamp program that feeds their impoverished relatives so they don’t have to, and a disability program that keeps them from having to support their disabled family members. Nor do people seem to have a huge problem with large amounts of corporate welfare, tax subsidies, exemptions, anything that greases the palms of industry, because these things allegedly bring “jobs.”
The moral (immoral?) implications of people benefiting hugely from not having to take care of their own really stuck in my head during Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Here we have this high society event, parents earning millions of dollars in speaking engagements, and they didn’t invite a niece because she was on food stamps and they assumed the financial burden would be too hard on her. Ah, wasn’t that considerate? Actually it wasn’t. What I wanted to know was why people so wealthy could not be bothered to take care of their own? How can you be millionaires and yet allow blood relations to suffer in poverty, forced to survive off of food stamps?
I suppose this rankles or twists the cockles of my heart because I have so often been left behind with the dependents needing care, while other people simply ran off with the money. You could say it’s been a choice, but it’s not necessarily been an immoral choice. I had two parents that both came from fairly upper middle class circumstances and yet I spent most of my life bailing them out, trying to get them off the streets, trying to keep them fed and sheltered. Than I have a sister, same story. Hubby is the same way, hardwired into his DNA is this idea that you must take care of your own…..and people belonging to others who get left behind, too.
I wish I could say I was alone here, but it’s a theme I see play out all the time. People’s families are off vacationing in the South of France while I get paid incredibly low wages by a state funded system to check in on them. Does that sound like class envy? I suspect in part that is true, I watch and observe the injustice inherent in our system everyday and it rankles sometimes.
Than we have another class of people, the professional poor, people who simply avail themselves of every possible benefit there is, making a career out of it, the depressed due to chronic unemployment, the permanently disabled due to social anxiety disorder. I work for these people too, people who believe the whole world exists to provide for them, to serve them.
Government does not really help, government so twists and traps people in poverty, and the obstacles they set in people’s paths become insurmountable. Permits, regulations, fees, fines, tax codes. You get a raise you’re now in a new tax bracket so you actually get to take home even less money. I quit working overtime because overtime actually made my checks too small. My husband too, we were killing ourselves trying to work so hard and just netting less money then ever. Now we even get to pay fines for not having health insurance. Thank you ObamaDon’tCare. We were actually swimming upstream fairly well until politicians and people of a leftward bent decided to “help.”
If I look at this broken economy, this system that is so stacked against people, the inherent injustice and immorality of it all, and I cry out for something to change, than I know millions of others do too and that doesn’t bode well, that creates a powder keg of resentment, of knee jerk emotionalism where we go seeking solutions to the wrong problems. Many people seem to just want the whole thing to collapse, to implode in upon itself, in the hopes that something better will be born. I empathize there, what we have now is simply unsustainable, not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well.