Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quick question.

Why is it that, now that more and more formerly middle class people are getting public assistance like food stamps or even welfare, that suddenly getting assistance is no longer a bad mark of character? The last time I looked, it was all to do with the fact that you were too poor to afford all of your grocery or utilities bills or your rent, and not with you being stupid or lazy or whatever it is, the same way making $500,000 had nothing to do with your being a hard worker or a good person or anything but stupidly lucky.

I am directing this question to the people on the bus I rode this morning who I overheard sneering about "welfare queens" (for the record, Ronald Reagan's example never existed - he made her up) a few months ago. For the past week or so, several of the bus route regulars who made those remarks have been thankful for being able to get help in the form of food from a church group or food bank. Some were talking about hellishly long lines in the social services offices, or tragic stories they've overheard about other people in that office, or telling the driver and other fellow passengers about relatives or friends or friends of relatives who were hit.

Did you ever realize that, one bad turn later, the woman you sneered at for daring to use food stamps in the grocery line could be you?

Just asking.

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