The above “Lesson” was posted by my cousin Brain J. Harris from a Michael Berry repost dated 5/8/2014, of no relation). I used The Lesson as an opportunity to gather my thoughts on the subject of welfare assistance, with some thought provoking assistance.
Rich LaVere: :::raising hand::: Yes, please tell me how the good Christian Republicans think it’s more important to provide corporate handouts than to follow Jesus’ directive to feed the poor and house the homeless?
KBP: Yeah, Rich LaVere, the ‘good christian’ Republicans would arrest and fine Jesus for freely peddling (distributing without proper permits/tax violations) loaves of bread and fishes because all those dirty smelly freeloaders would be messing up the mount.
Brain J. Harris: In my opinion the Food stamp program has out grown what it was intended to do. I agree with giving aid to those in need, but why are EBT cards excepted at gas stations and 7 Eleven’s? How does giving aid without asking for the person who receives the aid to work in some capacity helping the person in the long run.
Kathy, I have no problem if anyone (including Jesus) wants to feed people. Just do not use our taxes to do it. Churches and other groups feed and provide shelter and clothes.
Rich, our tax system is broken and needs a major lobotomy. If someone is really in need we should help, but there is no reason to have generation after generation collecting aid. Somehow the cycle has to stop.
KBP: I think that the myth of generational welfare recipient, which includes SNAP card users, home heating programs, school free lunch and healthcare subsides, has been conveniently demonized by the right into fictional freeloading pariahs sapping the lifeblood of the hardworking American christian citizen. This is not the case and a little more research on your part would provide you with a true picture of the situational poverty that engulfs an individual, even a hardworking individual or family, that can’t free itself of the quagmire of living below the poverty level. Our society’s poor are mostly the elderly and children, they aren’t merely singular cases of people saying it’s easier to sit back on someone else’s dime. Then add to those numbers the undereducated, the overqualified yet underemployed, the convicted, the unemployed, youth that are willing to work but can’t find a job, retired that were stripped of their pensions, families that lost their homes through foreclosure … it’s humbling to find once solid middle class families floundering in this quicksand of hardship.
I’ll tell you what, look at yourself in the mirror and congratulate yourself for your present state of success and financial status and then go out and find yourself a person using public assistance, for connivence’s sake a person in a 7-11 using a SNAP card to pick up milk, mac n’cheese mix and several cans of soup, and tell this person to his/her face what you told yourself in the mirror. Self-righteous christian republicans who are blind to the nitty-gritty side of life, that can’t/won’t see the flimsy filaments that hold together the successful from the lowly, really need to walk a mile to realize their logic doesn’t hold. It’s too easy to say that the cycle has to stop without looking at the machinery that keeps it running – and it’s not liberalism.
I forgot to mention the disabled (which I have first hand knowledge of being the sister of a brain trauma functionally disabled brother, and a special needs teacher), emotionally and physically ill amongst society that rely on welfare programs to survive. I cannot comprehend the flick of a christian republican’s hand in distant at these people being provided for by the largesse of the government; I do not begrudge them my portion of taxes in their care. I would rather it be applied here then subsidizing the oil corporations and billionaires, who glutinously and profanely suck at the government’s teat without apology, and the war mongering death industries that saber-rattle and destroy peace, crying “Come, Armageddon!”
I co-teach 11th grade British Literature and we are reading John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (a book I read as a little girl because the March sisters (Alcott’s Little Women) read from it constantly to give them fortitude to lead their parent’s chosen life of transcendentalism (Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, et.al.) and just read Vanity Fair. This is an appropriate righteous tract that clearly is the bedrock of current espoused republican indignation of the poor not toeing the live-right-and-prosper line.
Life is messy. Not everyone grabs the golden ring. Not everyone is Christian by whatever definition and denominations, God has many names and is merciful – people would do well to emulate applying mercy and take the mote out of their eyes.