My Halfhearted Attempt at Being Political

First, a disclaimer, this is not necessarily a political post but with the elections right around the corner it is meant to highlight some of the absurdity and stupidity going on in Washington regarding some of the programs offered to the American citizens in the name of helping the poor.  I thought I’d pipe in my two cents about what I have personally encountered within our American system. I should also state, I am not very politically inclined one way or the other on most issues.  This is just an honest post about how I think the government is absurdly off with some of the ways our money is handled.   I was brought up very right winged conservative, always voted this way because of my upbringing and because most of the right winged views have generally resonated truer for me as an American citizen – except for three years, from approximately  2007-2010, when I had the opportunity to unwillingly participate first hand in more of a left winged funded lifestyle.  During those years I lived in what is labeled by the government as the “poverty level” as my late husband went on disability due to a terminal illness and the family took advantage of the systems in place: food stamps, Medicaid, free cell phones, free heat, free daycare, free graduate education to pursue my English Master’ degree, and the list could go on and on.  Some of these are legitimate examples of America helping the poor, and some are very poor examples of tax dollars at work in their finest moments.   Yes I took advantage of it, and yes it probably made me more democratically inclined for a period in my life, and it made me more democratically sensitive towards those who truly need these programs.  I know as a family with 4 children and two adults, we received nearly $1000 dollars a month in food stamp money, and we ate better than we ever had eaten in our entire marriage. Did I need the food?  yes, did I need $1000 a month for food?  Heck no, I didn’t even need to use coupons anymore or shop off brands.  I was free to purchase whatever I wanted with absolutely no stipulations whatsoever.  Was a cell phone a necessity for me?   Probably more so for me than for most people while having a terminally ill husband and a special needs child but for the general population, I don’t believe that this is an actual NEED.  People have survived for centuries without the constant need to be connected to one another.   Was finishing my education at a graduate level in an English program a need or a want?  It was a want, and I took advantage of a system in place to go for it. GENERALLY, I don’t think there are truly poverty stricken people in America or there shouldn’t be many of them with all of the poverty programs in place.  Truly poverty stricken  third world countries; Ethiopia, Somalia, and Zambia, those countries often portray a picture of true poverty to me, mothers with their dying babies at their breasts, swollen bellies and hollow eyes of children who have not eaten in days; those are accurate depictions of poverty –  not the American eating lobster and sushi, talking on his cell phone, from the porch of his 850 dollar a month, 3 bedroom apartment with heat and electric paid for and collecting the welfare check that bought the 60 inch big screen TV because he had NOTHING else to spend the money on! You can get complete, 100% paid for housing assistance, heat and electric paid for, all your food paid for, a free cell phone plus minutes, completely 100% paid for health care (never had one bill with late husband’s 3 year battle with brain cancer), free day care if you work, free schooling if it is in a high demand profession, free automobile repairs if you need it for your free schooling, and free interviewing clothes for your new job when you finish your free schooling.  These are some of the situations that I have unfortunately had the privilege of being a part of.   There’s also a whole system that caters to women of a certain economic level who have realized that the system actually rewards them generously for the number of children they are capable of having out of wedlock – more babies equals more money and benefits.  I realize that there are legitimate welfare situations, but I do believe that those taking advantage of a weak system often outweigh those who actually need it.  These systems need to become a temporary, helpful thing that we offer the American citizens.  They need to  be for those who work hard, pay their taxes, and then due to some unforeseen circumstance find themselves down and out, and they should not be a lifestyle option as they are for so many people in this country.  I believe that these systems are beginning to enable our society’s laziness rather than encouraging our citizens to rise up and take responsibility for their own plight in the American dream because there is nothing in place to demand accountability for most people who receive these benefits.   There needs to be more accountability for the money we allow to flow so easily to anyone who is able to fill out an application, and there needs to be an awareness that tax payer money is being unacceptably abused at many levels.  I don’t know what the answer is, nor do I really have the time to pursue that answer other than the act of placing my vote on November 4th for the candidate who I believe will address some of these issues in the most effective and efficient manner.  In the meantime…
Just keep livin!!

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