Sometimes I think I live in a state of perpetual consternation. And heartache. And the desire to chase people with sporks. (…) Whoops, was that out loud? Anyway. You could say politics, as a whole, is at the root of it, but to be fair it is really the human condition itself, as pertains primarily to the culture here in the United States.
I posted recently on another venue about one of the first lessons I learned as a child. Not just me, mind you… it was common to almost all children. The lesson?
We all heard it, or most of us. Share with the child who has less than… share because it is the right thing to do, and share because you don’t want that child to suffer from a lack or from feeling excluded. It was a good lesson. A right lesson. And yet… apparently a lesson with a statute of limitations. For, as adults in this country of ours, we are in the midst of a series of heated debates, at the heart of which is whether or not to give to those that have little, those that suffer a lack. The overwhelming voice coming from the side of those against such a thing is a voice chanting, ‘Why should you get to take away what is MINE?’
A seemingly innocent word, ‘mine’. But in this case, it is far from innocent. It is a voice of rage, of territoriality, of ferocious defense against anyone getting anything from anyone. I hear conservatives say two things that oppose one another… that they aren’t against helping those in need, and that if anyone wants anything they have only to work hard to get it themselves. This fallacy astounds me. If living with a base level of comfort were as easy as working hard and receiving it, there would be little to no complaint in the known universe. It is the height of hubris to look down at others and decide that, if they are in need or unhappy in their position, it is only due to their own lack of hard work. Some of the hardest working people in the population work at some of the lowest paying jobs in existence. So no one can accuse them of not working hard, not trying to contribute… yet they still are lacking, in most cases, health care and any level of financial or situational security. It gives lie to the very idea that hard work is all it takes to get ahead.
I’m a logical sort of person, believe it or not. I know, the conservative party would have you believe that they are the logical ones and we ‘bleeding heart liberals’ are the ones that can’t see logic. But logic dictates that no society can survive without a healthy and thriving lower and middle class. Not one. Logic dictates that not all people are born with the same capabilities and circumstances, so some will be able to be well paid lawyers and doctors and some will be busting their asses to get you your food order in a timely manner. Neither is better than the other, as they are both doing their absolute best with the gifts and lives and curses that we all have. It infuriates me to hear talk like, ‘Well, if person X doesn’t like their state of lack, they should just go to college and get a better job.’ First, not all people are cut out for college. They simply aren’t. It’s no judgment against them. Second, not all can afford to go, even IF they could find work that would allow them to work and go to school at the same time. Lastly… are you paying attention?… lastly, our society NEEDS people in the very jobs that others are suggesting they vacate for something better. We ALL need them. And, logically speaking, what makes more sense than to take care of something that you NEED? I don’t care if it’s animate or inanimate, your car or your beleaguered neighbor, when something is essential, you TAKE CARE OF IT.
The saddest part of all of it is the greed. When is plenty plenty enough? When do we, as a society, realize that we ALL benefit if the least among us is healthy, educated, and content? When do those that have so much realize that their lifestyle will be fine if they share, but their life suffers as those who live in lack suffer? When does it sink in, to the consciousness of the country, that when someone can’t afford BASIC medical care is a bigger drain on the system than actually paying for the medical care itself? Job loss due to untreated illness, just to pick one effect, leads to far bigger costs than just sending them to the doctor and getting them the medicine they need to RETURN TO WORK.
If a man has three million dollars, and was called upon to give, oh, let’s say $500,000 of it in order that others might eat, have shelter, education, health care… well, the man isn’t going to CARE that he can still live beyond well on two and a half million dollars. Heavens, no. The man is going to kick and scream at the alleged <em>injustice</em> of it all, and repeat one word, over and over, even if in all manner of other forms…