30 October 2014

Thoughts on a Thursday



With each year that comes and goes, I become more and more aware of how sad our society is becoming. It's true whether you want to believe it or not. With educational and financial decay, ass-backward government priorities and failed leadership, how can we even begin to claim that we are “The greatest nation” with regards to anything anymore?

We can't because we aren’t.

We do have a lot of talented, caring and kind people left in this nation but overall, it's pretty bad with regards to the human condition. As a whole, we are a collected body of laziness, apathy, hatred, ignorance, bigotry and selfishness. The overwhelming majority of people have an "every man for themselves" mentality. And while I'm a proponent of self-reliance, there comes a time in everyone's life when we all need a helping hand and really - what is so wrong with that?  Whether it is mental, physical, financial, or emotional help, we've all needed a helping hand at some point or time in our lives. If you say otherwise, you're either

A. Flat out lying or
B. EXTREMELY lucky

Think back to a time in your life when you needed help. And I'm not talking about the time you had a hard time putting your kid’s bike together so you had to call on someone for help. I'm talking about the times where you may have been seconds away from swallowing a bottle of pills because the pain of living was too great to bear and you had no one to turn to for comfort or no way to access mental health care. I'm talking about the time the bread-winner of your family lost their job and you were left to wonder how you would make ends meet while keeping a roof over your head and food on the table for your family. I'm talking about the time you were in a serious car wreck and your physical injuries were so bad that you couldn't work and earn a living. If I had to venture a guess, I'm sure most of us would have to admit that we were either

A.   Forced to reach out for help and assistance through government means
B.   Able to access limited savings or retirement accounts or
C.   Were fortunate enough to have either family or friends help us

You are the lucky ones. Most people are not as lucky.

The current soap-box of the Republican Party for this upcoming election is focused on government assistance programs such as SNAP or those who provide food stamps to help meet the needs of feeding families and individuals. Their battle cry is this - "It is not the government's responsibility to provide nutrition." Their aim is to strip this country of most assistance programs.

Let me repeat that: "It is not the government's responsibility to provide nutrition."

For those of you reading this, I want you to stop and really think about what this statement implies. Really think about it. Come back to reading when you've given it some thought. OK, go!

Aaaaaaand welcome back. So, let's recap. Basically, what I take away from the GOP's statement is this – “it's not our responsibility to take care of our own citizens. If individuals and families can't take care of themselves, then that's their problem. Work harder! Do more with less!” 

Are you freaking kidding me??? I could be wrong but I venture to guess that when the Great Depression hit (And in case you've been living under a rock for the past 4 or 5 years, we are in the worst economic crisis since the Depression) Roosevelt's response wasn't "Hey! You lazy slacker! Get off your ass and get a job!" 

NO.

It was more along the lines of, "WE AS YOUR GOVERNMENT are here to help you. WE AS YOUR GOVERNMENT will do what we can to get you back on your feet. And as a result, Roosevelt re-built a nation and did indeed put people back to work. But it wasn't just Roosevelt. You see, when the Depression hit, EVERYONE was affected including the rich. Unless you were a rare gagilionaire, you were homeless and living in a wood shack wondering if you were going to eat that day and in order to make it through those trying times, THE NATION CAME TOGETHER TO HELP AND ASSIST ONE ANOTHER. The little that people did have, they shared. The extra shirt they had, they put on someone else's back instead of keeping it for themselves. Those living through The Great Depression understood that in order for the nation to move forward, it was going to take the effort of everyone chipping in to help.

And it is my belief that that was probably the last time in the course of history that our nation's people were civilized in such uncivilized circumstances. 

I've asked this question time and time again and to this day, no one can give me an acceptable response that makes sense - What good is government if we aren't willing to take care of our citizens??? Think about that for a moment. Sure, we need laws and we can’t possibly be everything to everyone but really think about what you expect from your government: Prosperity. Leadership. Protection. 

What is so horribly wrong with helping our own people? And before any of you even try to give me that worn-out, broken record, song and dance of "People abuse the system!" I'm just going to have to tell you to save it. Really? That's the best you can come up with? 

Yes. Everywhere, every day and in every nation there is someone, somewhere who is getting over on something. It is bound to happen. You can't prevent it. We can do our best to weed out the ones who take advantage but people really need to start accepting the fact that it's going to happen - bottom line, end of story. What are we supposed to do as a nation? Not feed, house, and provide medical care (You know, basic human needs) to our own people because of abusers of the system? How ludicrous is that! 

Yes. There are abusers of the system but what most people fail to realize is that the overwhelmingly large majority of people on SNAP and food stamps are on these programs because of circumstances beyond their control meaning: Lost jobs, injuries preventing them from being able to work and a very large majority of handicapped individuals.  What infuriates me more than anything about this whole issue of assistance is how this majority of people are the forgotten ones in all of this. Most people just ASSUME that if you are on assistance, you must be some lazy, good-for-nothing freeloader when 9 times out of 10 that couldn't be further from the truth. And really, if I hear one more person say, "Just go get a job!" I'm going to punch them right in the mouth. It's that easy, huh? Because jobs are just so plentiful, right?

WRONG.

I'm going to share a little secret with all of you. When I was laid off last year and looking for a job, I tried to find employment with companies like Target, retailers, and mall jobs. I was applying for jobs within my career field but also applying for anything I could so that I could provide for our family. I even applied to a restaurant to be a server and guess what - EACH AND EVERY TIME I APPLIED, I WAS TOLD "NO THANKS.” 

Yep, that's right. This college-educated woman with an impressive resume couldn't even find a job so how do you think others are faring who haven't had the same opportunities in life that most of us do with college educations and advanced degrees? The reality is this - if jobs were so plentiful and available, our country wouldn't be in this mess resulting in the largest unemployment rate and fiscal downfall since The Great Depression. Stop telling people to find a job. It's insulting. It's demeaning and it's wrong. 

The average SNAP/food stamp allocation is $30 per week. $30 per week. So while most of you are enjoying your Starbucks or Panera while reading this, let that sink in for a moment. That breaks down to a little over $4 a day that these people have to live on to feed themselves and their families. Most of you waste $4 every day on things that don't even matter but you're going to pitch a fit if our government gives it to people who need it??? 

The bottom line is this - we should all be doing what we can within our means to help the cause for the greater good. If you claim to love America, then you have to take the good along with the bad. Step outside of yourselves long enough to realize that your life hasn't gotten to the point of where it is without the help of someone or something along the way. We have all needed a helping hand to make it through the rough patches of life.

Keep this in mind when you go to the polls on Tuesday. 

Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

1 comment:

  1. I think I agree with you. I'm totally for working and earning what you want or Hell, even your keep. But in the big scheme of things, I'm considered "well off" (whatever) and I think as someone who has the ability to help other in less fortunate situations, then I should. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a money tree in the back yard but we have an income that pays are bills, allows us to save and for me to be able to stay home with Connor. Having said that, I feel like it's a pleasure to help others.
    Also... too many Starbucks coffees makes you fat... I mean HELLO? Have you seen the caloric values on those bastards?
    Look at it as helping others while helping your waste line. #justsayin

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