Can we please start putting the blame where it belongs? Most of the poor aren’t lazy welfare bums. Being poor isn’t fun, and if some poor people “game” the system, it’s because you have to be SO poor to qualify for help that if you make a tiny bit “too much” money or you work a few extra hours to get ahead, you are actually penalized for it by losing benefits, thus you can actually still be too poor to live properly but “not poor enough” to get any help.
Being barely above poverty level ourselves, I can say I am extremely grateful for the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare (sorry if that pisses off some people). The poor are not the problem. The problem is not “liberals and socialists.” The problem is that the capitalism (the “innovation that made America great?”) Ayn Rand wrote about is now out of control in this country. The American Dream is defunct. Big businesses, including drug companies and insurance companies, charge insane markups on necessary commodities and the rest of us have no choice but to pay them or go into hock trying. People die for not being able to afford proper healthcare.
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adamsin 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. (source)
It’s cute that some people still believe this is possible for everyone. In my personal experience, it’s the put-upon white “middle class” that are the worst about this. They aren’t rich enough to live in comfortable denial like the 1%, but they have had just enough white privilege in their lives (which they almost never acknowledge as such) to not be aware how hard it is for other people. The crux of the issue is the last phrase… “regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.”
I say this in full realization that I, myself, was born into a white middle class. All my life I had the idea of go to college—> get good job—> live comfortably pounded into my head. I used to also believe that welfare was for lazy bums and Ebony magazine was “racist.”
And then I had all the self-righteousness of my twenties knocked out of me when my husband and I lost just about everything in 2009. At the time, I had a double BS…and couldn’t find anyone willing to pay me more than eight dollars an hour, even for work related to my hard-earned degrees. I was bouncing back and forth between waitressing jobs, but my husband was working, making great money, at a powerplant. And then it all imploded.
I know how fast it can happen, and it can and does happen to people who work hard, “climb the social ladder,” and then get jackbooted off the ladder by some higher-up who wants to hire a newbie they can mold for half the salary. A friend once asked me, why shouldn’t an employer want to pay someone less to do the same job? It makes fiscal sense for their business. Maybe it does, but that basically means also acknowledging that company loyalty and “working your way up” mean nothing, and loyalty to employees is often non-existant.
In many ways, we are moving backwards in this country. The very unapologetic racism of Donald Trump, an actual “serious” candidate for our nation’s highest office, is evidence of that. He has given back the voice to the bigots of this country. Now they are still bigots, but unapologetically so, and they call the rest of us “bleeding heart liberals” and the like. They don’t even feel the need to hide their hate anymore. They don’t care about the poor, refugees, minorities, or anyone else that affect their bottom line or would require they no longer have the social upper-hand in this country. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
Anyway, I’m almost sure some angry right winger will stumble across this and want to argue, tell me I know nothing, decry my “silly liberaism.” I really no longer care what these people have to say. I am sick of the “whataboutme?” attitude in this country. I am sick of the mean-spiritedness and lack of compassion and empathy. This is me venting about it. Please feel free to comment, just don’t expect a reply. I haven’t the energy to argue today. Rather, I guess now that this is out of my system, I have better things to do.
See? We already ARE socialists…just not the right kind.