People shock me. I know, I should be over it by now, but I just can’t seem to fathom that some people actually believe this shit. The myth of the welfare queen is alive and well, married to the belief that people need to earn their basic rights – health care, housing and education. I always just assume these are fringe beliefs, just a small but loud group screaming hysterics about leeches and drug addicts. But alas, no. Regular people, people I associate with, believe it. Over the weekend I actually heard that some people do not deserve to basic rights unless they “contribute to society” – how you might measure that I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that this person was not talking about contributing with the arts or exercising their democratic right to protest. They were talking about making and spending money – because how else can a person’s worth be measured?
After I collected my jaw from the ground I did not grab a burning log from the fire and smack this person in the head with it. Good job me! I did calmly, but passionately explain that it was the government’s JOB to keep its people healthy and housed and educated. And how can you expect someone to “contribute” if they are ill, have no home and no education?
It is unreasonable to first ask that a person prove their worth before offering them the most basic conditions they need to be happy, healthy and productive (I’m not referring to monetary productivity here). These are not privileges. Proving oneself worthy is not a requirement. Once these needs are met, doesn’t it seem far more likely that “those people” could do something with themselves?
Additionally, welfare doesn’t give you much money – it’s not like you’re living in luxury on the taxpayer’s dime. You’re thinking of Mitt Romney and his billionaire cronies. Those without jobs are unable to find one. They’re not lazy – they need help! And here were are telling them to try harder, prove their worth, give us a reason to help you because your mere existence in our society is not enough. You are a leech, suckling our system dry of precious resources (that could be more beneficial in the hands of military or millionaires, I’m sure) when you can just as easily pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get to work. But how can we expect people to pick themselves up by the bootstraps when they have no boots?