A hand out, or a hand up?


When you follow politics as much as I do, it makes you think about WHY you end up with the opinions that you have.

A large part of it, for me, has been watching the GOP steer away from “compassionate conservatism” as described by George W. Bush and drive head on into the judgmental, superiority complex driven attitude of rich vs poor.

Instead of simply championing less government intervention and more personal responsibility,  they are voicing some ugly and cold hearted opinions about the poor and anyone who needs government aid.

While I had heard a few snide remarks about welfare recipients in the past, this has taken an even uglier turn.

I think it is not JUST that conservatives are anti-government assistance anymore – they are anti poor PEOPLE. The anger is no longer focused on the programs, but on the recipients themselves. People. Families. Children. Fellow citizens. They seem to resent that there IS a need that government, or ANYONE must fulfill. I’m not entirely sure they would be pleased to donate to charities that could potential fill some government gaps quite frankly.

For instance, most of the wealthy in my area who I know donate plenty of time and money. But not to homeless shelters. Not to facilities that help the needy right here at home. They LOVE to talk about bringing clothing and toys to kids in orphanages in Mexico. Or they donate to the Arts or Museums or maybe to a youth sports league that caters to special needs children. They *might* take their kids to serve meals on the holidays to the poor – but only then. Make a monthly donation? Go down there every week? Oh heck no.

Then, perhaps in a particularly bad example of a conservative friend – I got into a bit of a Facebook tussle with a high school classmate that resulted in her removing me as a friend. Which is kind of awkward because she lives 10 minutes away, our sons were born in side by side delivery rooms within  minutes of each other and we both go to every reunion and high school gathering there is. So it was very very difficult to see her literally go OFF on anyone who ever used government assistance with a disdain that was palpable even through the computer.

It didn’t matter to her that I told her I had used WIC coupons for the first year of my older son’s life, then rolled off once I gained enough income to cover those costs myself.

It didn’t matter to her that people I knew who had used unemployment benefits were members of my close circle of friends and family who only used it because they truly needed it.

It didn’t matter to her that things such as tax credits for childcare, homeowner’s insurance and such are actually government benefits.  (She sure loves those!)

Or that student loans for college are, or that small business loans are (she and her husband had used both of course).

Nope – all that mattered to her was that Newt Gingrich was SPOT ON and all those damn welfare and food stamp recipients were just a bunch of lazy people sucking on the teet of the government and hardworking tax payers and that “those people” had no motivation or self-worth or self-motivation to get them off that dole!

Hmmmm….sorta sounds like the now infamous 47% of the country statement by Mitt Romney doesn’t it?

Anyway, that 48 hour fight was ugly and somewhat painful and as I said, eye opening to reveal such an ugly side to this person who I most likely will have to see next year at our 30 year reunion (ugh!)

But I think it also encapsulates one issue very well.

Does it bother you MORE that some people will take advantage of government benefits funded by your taxes (among many other things your taxes fund which you may or may not support don’t forget!)?

Or does it bother you MORE to think that the government would just turn a blind eye to those in need in order to ensure that NO ONE ever skates by?

Would you rather risk that 1 in 5 people who you reach out to give a hand up will take it too far?

Would you rather walk past ALL 5 and never once reach out a hand?

I choose reaching back to give that hand up.

That’s why I support Democrats.

 

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