One of the things that really bothers me about the Right’s rhetoric on poverty is that it stops just one tiny step short of its true recommendation.
Fox News would have us believe that most people who receive some form of public assistance are moochers. They are really just trailer park dilettantes, kicking back and enjoying barbecue potato chips that come from Uncle Sugar. Or they want us to believe that the reason we have so many children in poverty is because we have so many slutty women out there just giving it away.
While I could not disagree more strongly with Fox’s assertions about the basic character of the people on public assistance, and I could produce reams of documentation to demonstrate how void their claims are of any factual merit, I have a different idea this time.
How about if for the sake of this one argument we all agree that laziness and immorality is why people are poor and need help. Okay, so then the question becomes what do we do with this group of slatternly and slutty people? Well, the lazy people would of course just get a job if we cut off their benefits, right?
Not so fast. Most people considered lazy have serious problems with attention, and they will never be good workers in menial jobs unless they receive medication and help. In other words, if a person is truly lazy, you cannot fix that character defect by placing him in fear of starving to death.
And what of those who refused to be “fixed.” Who about the people who just sit down and said, “No, I will not work that nasty abusive job flipping burgers.”
And now what of the women who just keep reproducing. I am fairly sure that there is a solution for that, but the GOP is doing its best to eliminate it. But let’s assume that all the truly needy people are needy because they are poor or because they are hypersexual.
Here is the tricky thing about people that are cut off from welfare and foodstamp roles. They don’t just disappear, at least not right away. They try to congregate in little tent cities so they have some safety, but police tear those down. They try to feed themselves and their children dumpster diving, but there simply isn’t enough nutritional value for a large number of people to turn to dumpsters as their sole source of funds.
The question becomes what do you do with these people you have determined not to care for anymore. How close to starvation or death from exposure should we allow them to go?
This is what we must ask ourselves: Are we really a country that will allow people to die, not because they have committed crimes, but because we find them lazy or a little over-sexed? Really, since when is laziness a capital offense?
Today I published an article in Role/Reboot called, I Was A Lazy, Immoral Single Mother.
I wrote it because I wanted to emphasize three things:
Shaming single mothers is a waste of time since we have enough self-loathing to cover the world in a nice thick goop of the black ink of shame.
Second, we are not the people who we appear to be at our worst moments.
Third, there should be n test of deservedness when it comes to keeping Americans alive.
We are a great country, and it is high time that we start acting like it. Great countries do not let themselves swayed or be intimidated by the very wealthy. We build a good infrastructure; we take care of kids, and we do it all not in then hopes of making the other person better. We do it because that is what makes us good people and a great nation.