Friday, December 3, 2010

"Well it's your own fault if you don't have a job."


That headline is a direct quote from a comment left by a "conservative all the way" on an MSNBC article regarding how over two million US citizens may lose unemployment benefits.  I'd cite the post, but I have blocked both the screen name and the article's location from my mind in the interest of my own mental and emotional health.
 
My problem, aside from its callous and insensitive treatment of others, is that I don't think the opinion is unique.  I believe that it is an unstated undercurrent amongst many of our political leaders, mainly conservatives.  
All the unemployed people that I know hate the fact that they are collecting unemployment.  They want to work.  That bears repeating.  They want to work.  People with Masters degrees are applying to Wal Mart and to grocery stores because any job beats having no job.  Trust me, "getting paid to do nothing" is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.  Mostly because you are not getting paid to do nothing.  You are getting paid so that gas can go into your car and you can get to a job interview.  You are getting paid to keep a roof over your head while you email resume after resume to any open position.  You are getting paid so that you don't have to make the choice between making the copay on your medications (if you even have health care) and paying the heating bill.
I really don't know where these politicians and pundits get their nerve.  It's an esoteric myopia, one that almost actively wants to see us devolve into a Mad Max society, complete with fights in the shopping malls for the last bottles of water.  That's right, if the fittest will be the fightest, then the fittest will survive.  For a bunch of fundies, they can be quite Darwinian.

There aren't many ways that I view humans as being essentially different than animals, but there is one aspect of our collective psyche that I believe sets us apart from a herd of gazelles or water buffalo.  
When chased by a lion, these animals are perfectly satisfied to allow the sick, the injured, or otherwise weak among them to fall down and be prey to the predator.  People are not like that.  Not most of the time, anyway.  We will stop and lift up those who have fallen down.  This doesn't mean that we will or should build them mansions with hot tubs and a Porsche in the garage or guarantee that they'll never have to work again, but we will at least see them through the immediate danger.  It's part of who we are and who we have to be if society is to progress.

I wonder if our elected leaders know that.


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3 comments:

  1. On Facebook, Graymalkin said: "I don't think humans do pick you up if you trip. First they look behind to see if the lion is close enough and only pick you up if there is no lion. If there is a lion, they let the lion be fed and say what a shame it was, but then start ...walking safely again toward their own goal. I say this because I know that in an epidemic, if I were to be ill, I am an individual that has been classified as discardable so that healthier more contributing members of society might live. I understand the triage philosophy that is necessary in that critical time, but I say it is in man's nature to 'eat or be eaten' and that also means to dominate, you must let others be dominated or soon, you too will be dominated. To that, I say, "It sucks to be Tiny Tim." It's cold out and Scrooge needs another pile of gold."

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  2. First off, I would do everything in my power to try to make certain you wouldn't be sacrificed. I think that's more evidence for why we need to build a fortified survivalist compound somewhere.
    Secondly, you are correct. Many people act co...mpletely in their self interest. The opposite is also true. I think that what happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina is a good case study. We saw disgusting acts of barbarism, but we also saw the most noble, self-sacrificing side of human nature. What would we get in the type of scenario you described? Again, probably both. But if we abandon our nobility altogether, then I believe we have truly troubled times ahead.

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  3. On Facebook, Dixie said: "It is nice to see something written about this topic that shows compassion."

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