Are you reading Dresden's "In Times Like These" series? You should be. She's compiling real people, telling real stories about their experiences with public assistance.
I'm sharing my perspective over there today.
This is one of those topics, kind of like miscarriage and loss (and I include the grief of infertility here), that people talk about in the abstract. It's easier that way. It's easier to paint in broad strokes when you aren't the one getting smothered by the brush. The more that I think about it, so many parallels can be drawn.
It comes down to this: Bad things can and do happen to good people. Through no fault of their own. And that is a very hard thing for most people to wrap their heads around. It's far easier to say, help yourself out of your mess. (in babyloss terms: Get over it. Move on. Why are you wallowing? There will be others.....) rather than extend a hand and some compassion.
I am always surprised when I get to know someone a little better, well enough to slip in a mention of our babies and maybe even this blog and boom, another shared story of infertility unfolds. But why? Why should I be? Just like infertility and loss, I am guessing the need for public assistance in some shape or form is a part of the realities of a lot of people that we know, that I know. I just don't know that piece of their story yet.
I love Dresden already. But projects like hers make my heart swell.
Words matter. And they can be used to do some amazing things. Like change minds. Widen perspectives. Offer solidarity. Invite hope.
Will have to head over and check it out, my husband and I always say that most people are one step away from social assistance, poverty, homelessness, its not laziness, or something inherently wrong with those that need help, it's just that some people have had hard times, through no fault of their own, and I'm happy that I live somewhere that the compassion is shown(by most people). It's something I have had plenty an arguement with my ignorant neighbour about...
Words do matter... it is nice to see yours out in the fray. Too many of the words out there matter, but are saying the opposite. Blaming. Not taking time to understand. Jumping to false conclusions.
Not only are all of us just a stroke of bad luck from our lives completely changing... if there were no safety nets, we'd all have to spend a huge% of our time preparing and planning for hard times rather than using some of that energy to help the people facing that situation now.
What a great series. While I agree wholeheartedly with the necessity of programs, I wish people had more compassion. More willingness to give (of their time, of their dollars if they can). More direct involvement on a local, community level. I truly believe that is where the most positive impact can be made.
(a comment related more to the actual posts on Dresden's page: Like others, I work in state government; specifically, Medicaid fraud...more specifically, big pharma. I work on teams with the feds and their various healthcare fraud departments within different agencies. And I can tell you this: recipient fraud is a tiny, tiny percentage of overall welfare fraud. Does it happen? Absolutely. The true fraud, however, is committed by providers (physicians, dentists, counselors, pharmacies, etc...) and the even bigger fraud -- by big pharma. Truly disgusting.)
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