Thursday, March 20, 2014

Raise your hand

The older I get, the more I love my big mouth. I think this happens with a lot of people. You just don't give a shit and will say what's in your mind, especially when you are passionate about it. 

Sometimes I get my big mouth into debates with folks about issues that I am passionate about.  And sometimes I debate, passionately,  on Facebook.  Once again, because I'm mature.  I mean, who even really does that anymore?  That is soooo 2010.

This last round was regarding Papa Murphy's pizza accepting EBT cards. (Food stamps).  People were a little annoyed by this. Poor people should NOT get take and bake pizza.  So of course, I opened my mouth.  That was followed with a day and a half of back and forth debating.  I got called a liberal, "I bet you voted for Obama" and it is obvious I am not a Christian.  I said some good stuff back too. 

Did I change any one's mind?  Probably not. But I did get to correct them on the fact that it wasn't Jesus who said "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats forever" but a Chinese proverb. That was an amazing feeling.  Besides, who really knows what Jesus said anyhow.  He has been quoted by so many.  

This next part is important so listen up. 

The reason people believe that welfare recipients are low life's, who live off of the taxpayers is because the only people we hear about who are on welfare,  are the ones who are cheating. Which in fact is less than 2%.

The reason the non-cheaters on welfare are afraid to say they are on it, and that they need it,  is because they are afraid people like the yahoo I was debating yesterday.  Who wants to admit they need help, when with that comes the sneers, the blaming, the name calling, the shame, the fear and the embarrassment?  So you don't get to see the REAL faces of welfare, because they know what you will say about them.  (You know who you are.)

I didn't admit we were on welfare until I was well off of it. But you know what?  I'm STILL on government assistance. 100% permanent and total, forever. It's just through the VA and Social Security Disability now. Not through the county. And all he had to do was fall apart and lose everything.  He just happened to be a veteran who served and has struggled since.  No different from anyone else falling on hard times or who have experienced trauma.  

So why is that not shameful?  Because it doesn't have a stigma. We love our veterans.  But our vets are on welfare too.


So just like working on removing the stigma of addiction, we need to remove the shame and stigma of poor people who need help. So I encourage anyone who is, was or is applying for public assistance to tell people. Be proud and grateful it's there. Don't let people define who you are. Fucking show them you are a normal human who needs help, and are lucky enough to live in a country that offers it. 

I think you should share with others what you get (I know…kind of tacky, but still), and what it takes to get off welfare.  What kind of education benefits have you been offered so you could improve your situation?  (None. There are none.)  And tell people how hard it is to get by.

If we don't talk about it, they will keep defining us a mooches, lazy and losers. 

People say shit like, "I worked two jobs to put food on my table."  I bet they had a car,  gas, the right clothes that you could wear and a babysitter. What if you had none of that?  (I understand people take the bus and work three jobs too, I'm just throwing out examples.)

It's not easy man. So just like they said in that movie The Anonymous People, we cannot leave it up to them to define us.

Maybe no one reads this anymore besides robots.  But if you would share your story here, about how it helped you, how you are on it, what it does for you, or how you got off of it.  Because what people like the folks I argued with yesterday don't seem to realize is that we are people.

Please don't post anything here about your cousin's girlfriend's aunt who received assistance in three states.  I don't want to hear that shit.  I want to hear the ones who were helped.


  1. When we were first married, I got pregnant, and we couldn't afford to feed ourselves, let alone a baby (after issues with trying to breastfeed). WIC saved our bacon with child number one, as well as with child number two. I wasn't embarrassed; my kiddos needed to eat, and this was what we needed to do. We used it as long as we needed, and then stopped. The point of programs like WIC and MAC, as well as EBT, is to help. Most people on those programs DO work, but they barely make a livable wage!

  2. Back in the 60s (so long ago) I remember my father bringing home a box of government surplus food - cheese, sugar, flour, beans, oatmeal and powdered milk each month for a few years. By the time I was in high school, my mother, who had dropped out of high school when she was 16 to marry my father and have me at 17, got her GED, went to community college and became an RN. My father went from being a gas station attendant to a bookkeeper. I graduated from Metro State as the first in my family with 4 year degree (and later a masters). That food was at the start of our journey. Food - one of the most basic needs. I am so tired of all the lies about lazy welfare moms, lazy people on unemployment benefits, lazy people who can't afford health insurance. I want every kid in school to have a free lunch, because kids learn better when they are not hungry. I believe it is criminal the way some politicians use the poorest, most disadvantaged of society to fan the flames of the haters. And the rich just keep getting obscenely rich. I will get off my soapbox now, and thank you for addressing this issue in your blog. And no, I'm not a robot - just a fan rooting for your success as you complete your studies.
    Barb in Minnesota

  3. My family is currently using EBT. I have been on and off it since I had my girls. First as young uneducated parents working alot of hours to support ourselves to unfortunately a single Mom not receiving any support from the father to now struggling to find work that revolves around a teen who struggles with depression. I have used it in need but have ALWAYS given back when I had a great paying job. It is there for a reason and one upside I try to look at is, we get to sit down to FAMILY dinners because "someone" is atleast helping us with that.

  4. If you are having trouble posting here, go to my Facebook page and I'll post it here.


    Check out this video that puts government assistant into another prespective.

  6. I have used WIC when my oldest was a was a life saver; and then after my husband died and I was left raising 3 on my own I made use of food pantries and clothing exchanges. I'm not ashamed to take hand-me downs on anything...clothes, furniture, etc. And by doing this I am teaching my kids that there are many people who may need help at one point or another, that everyone has a story and to not judge anyone's situation, and that it will always be alright to ask for help. I also always pay it forward whenever I have extra.

  7. My husband is 10th year teacher, and I am home with two small children. We cannot afford health INS for the kids (or much else for that matter), so both are on our state welfare.

  8. Betsey....This is the first time I have ever looked at a blog, and I loved reading your thoughts regarding welfare, etc. Many years ago, I used to have a negative attitude towards those people who were on welfare because I just assumed that a person should work and that was it, and if they were using public assistance, they were just flat out lazY.

    Well...not only was I young, but I was also very ignorant. Then, years later, I became the very woman that I used to sneer at when I was younger: single mother on welfare with no job, higher education, etc. While those years were tough ones as I struggled to raise my son without child support, etc., a very wonderful thing happened to me. I learned that value of the programs such as welfare had to offered. I appreciated the little things that I did have, but most of all, I appreciated the kindness of others who took the time to help me when they did not have to.

    Thanks to the help that I received, I was able to leave an abusive marriage, live sober, and raise my son in a non-violent home. I also learned that the world was not full of terrible people, that I was valued, and as a result, I grew to be a much better person. While others will tell me that I am stupid if I give someone a few bucks to help them through a tough time and I hardly know them, I know that I am not because it was random acts of kindness that kept me from going over the edge when often times that is what I wanted to do. I am so for helping people to recover from the fat-lips that life doles out. I truly believe that God puts people on this earth for a reason, and we all have a duty to help others who are in need. To be judgemental of someone who is in a tough place and we have not walked in their footsteps is ignorant, just as I was many years ago. Thank you for posting this blog.

    1. Thank YOU for that beautiful response. This is exactly what people should know about the system. I am so happy you shared that. You sound like an amazing woman. Thanks.