This young lady has great courage to voice these opinions! I applaud her and agree with her! Welfare is not a dirty word. Not everyone on welfare is abusing he system. Most people on welfare do not want to be. People in need should not feel totally exposed and violated simply because they are forced to ask for some help.
This is not the America I learned about in school.
I try not to delve into politics too often because, quite frankly I don’t understand where the compassion has gone.
When it comes to social services the status quo is to treat people like criminals. Welfare has become a dirty word. It always equates to fat, lazy criminals who suckle off the tits of the government. I frequently have debates with people who believe that more people on Welfare take advantage of it than those that don’t. I simply don’t believe that. Sure, there are scumbags everywhere. There are people who take advantage of systems in this country. The mainstream media floods our news hour with nothing but horror stories of people taking advantage. What we don’t see is the real faces of welfare. We never hear about the majority of people who need short-term, emergency aid.
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7 thoughts on “Not my America”
It’s the same in Canada. I was on welfare before getting approved for disability and you have to give up almost everything. We don’t have food stamps in my province so I can’t speak to that aspect. But, after going through the process of getting on welfare and proving that you are indeed poor and in need of assistance, I felt defeated, disheartened, disillusioned and just plain dissed.
Though, I must say, I feel for many of the workers. To do and keep their jobs they also have to follow the rules and regulations the current and previous governments have passed into law. It can’t be easy to explain to people all the crappy things that they have to say. I would think it’s as much a shock to the workers of what is ultimately expected of them as it is for people who apply for welfare. You start a job thinking you will be helping people and you start seeing all the problems, red tape, etc. and burnout is a big issue.
As for the lazy bums who people think are staying on welfare and cheating the system, many of them have a chronic illness or disability and need to get on disability so that they can have a little bit more money and a few more options available to them. It took me 5 years and applying twice for disability before I was approved. Also, many of the people who are on welfare for a long time also have mental illnesses, addictions or both in many cases.
I am also the first to admit, when I was healthy and worked, I didn’t think much about welfare/disability. Now that I am part of that system, it’s extremely eyeopening to see how things really are. It’s very much a case of don’t judge unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
Yes, there are those of us who need help or we’d be on the street because we cannot support ourselves anymore. When you do get help from the government in the US you have no privacy at all. You are treated like a potential cheating, lying thief by some of the workers, another leech wasting their precious time by others, and a human being by a few. (Seems the bigger the city the worst the treatment, in my experience.) They can go into any and all of your finances whenever they feel like it and you have to show exactly what you spend and what your bills are. Over and over again you have to prove how pathetically poor you are, how drastically your life has altered, and what terrible shape your body is in.
But despite all that, I am absolutely grateful beyond words for the help. I was headed for the street. 😉
Important that people are aware that welfare doesn’t equal a free ride!
I worked for provincial then city social services and took social work courses. Although I remained an office assistant, the course and my day to day contact with the homeless, the working poor, folks on welfare made me a de facto social assistance worker as I listened, and viewed each person as an individual. Of course, some were alcoholics, some just didn’t want to work. But the majority were there because they had no resources other than us.
Even if only a portion of their stories were true, I did see the broken, dispirited look in their eyes.
so many people look down on EVERYONE who needs assistance. They don’t look at the individual. I’ve even met people who have needed assistance and after they got back on their feet still looked down on others who were needed help. “it was different for me”
It’s so sad. What if it wasn’t there?
And many want it to not be there. They want to do away with it.
As everyone knows I’ve applied for disability. Now I get so sick when I get stressed out and I’ve come so far, I don’t know if I’ll pursue it. Yes I need it. I’m terrified of what will happen if something happens to Stuart and I would be left alone. I would have no insurance. But The thought of the fight, and the feeling of being violated. I don’t know if that is worth my health. I know I’m still disabled, but I’m better than I was, and I don’t want to be bedridden again. No I can’t work, but I can get out of bed, and move around my new tiny place. That is so much more than I could. Is fighting for disability worth taking that huge step backwards? I just don’t know.
Something just isn’t right in this country when good people are treated like severe criminals because bad things happen to them. And anyone can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon in a school, or bar with little to no waiting period and very little background checks (in certain states).
I hate to say I’m afraid of the country I live in. I’m afraid of where it is headed.
Well DUH! I don’t know how I missed the way to comment on this post on THIS site, but I did. Left one on the site of the author, however.
“Something just isn’t right in this country when good people are treated like severe criminals because bad things happen to them.” We’re not alone in our thinking on this issue, Wendy — Europe is equally appalled by how we handle things here in “the land of the free.”
RE: “some are alcoholics” – Let’s rethink that. Substance abuse is more than a “problem of choice” – and is rampant in mental illness populations (especially in the undiagnosed). Yet, without help (and I’m talking more than a program for alcoholism or drug abuse here), *most* will never get beyond it. Until we’ve all walked a mile in THEIR shoes, lets avoid lumping them in with those who take advantage.
NOBODY takes more advantage than those who really don’t need ANY form of “financial assistance” — the top 1%. Let’s take a look at the “milk” they “take” from the pubic cow in the form of tax breaks. If they paid the same rate of taxes as the rest of us, we could easily afford all sorts of programs to offer a hand up to those who are struggling with life’s basics.
THEN there are those who point to hard-working success stories who did it without public assistance as “proof” that anyone could. Good for them, but how insane to hold them up as legitimate role models. That’s like pointing to a superstar and saying that anyone who (sings, dances, acts, shoots a mean b-ball, etc.) is “proof” that anyone else who did so could rise to the top if they simply applied themselves and worked hard enough.
I hate that it must be said, but I don’t hate to say that I, too, am “afraid of the country I live in.” I’m afraid of where it has already gone – not just where it is headed.
My fellow Americans . . . I am JUST as ashamed to live in the same country with so many of you as I am proud to be associated with those who are out here “making a difference” and those who are struggling to hold their heads high and keep on keeping on despite DAUNTING circumstances.
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”
Madelyn. Here! Here!
You are such a gifted writer!!
sometimes when I try to say things that I feel so passionate about I end up putting my foot in my mouth, but you, the words come so eloquently!
I wish more could see them!
I’m proud to call you friend!
and I’m proud to know you are out there making a difference in this world.
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My goodness girl – I think you did a MAGNIFICENT job with the words above ::grin:: THANKS!
And don’t sell yourself short. Your posts are life-changing because you are always so vulnerable and forthcoming (and I haven’t noticed any foot chewing, by the way!)
Reread your last paragraph and pretend I wrote it to YOU, okay?