Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Posts Tagged ‘welfare

Friendship. Ur doin it rong.

Well, it finally happened.

Not because I am atheist.

Not because I am liberal.

Not because I am loud, provocative and offensive.

I lost a friend because I am poor.

It didn’t start out that way.  It started out as a typical Facebook debate over liberal and conservative ideals.  Welfare was brought up, as usually happens no matter what the original topic is, and I reminded my friend that I am a government assistance recipient.

It isn’t much.  My son receives Medicaid and SNAP (the new name for the federal food stamp program.)  We recently voluntarily gave up his WIC benefits because I felt we did not need them.

I take a lot of pride in the contents of my friends list.  I did one of those “who’s on your list” things about a year or so ago.  Most of my list is composed of people who are opposite of me in almost every respect.  Religion, politics, education, financial situation, sexual orientation, marital status, you name a demographic variable and my friends are different than me.

I think that’s awesome.

Back to the story.

This friend became upset because I did not choose to take him up on a job offer he presented to me several months ago.  If I remember correctly, this offer was presented as I was choosing to return to school to begin my graduate degree.  The decision had already been made, I had come to an agreement with my family about the support they would give to help me achieve this goal and I had already accepted a job on campus.  If I remember correctly…it’s entirely possible that I have the timeline wrong.  If I do, it means the offer came as I was graduating last summer (pretty sure that isn’t it) or it came after I had already begun classes, taken a job and would be unable to do something different.  Quitting in the middle of the semester is grossly irresponsible financially for a number of reasons.  Not the least of which is that any financial aid received gets all messed up and withdrawing with F’s or I’s doesn’t work the same way at the graduate level as it does as an undergraduate.

Not that any of this even matters.

There is a pervasive idea in this country that if you are poor, you are undeserving.  You must work your fingers to their bloody bone, never have anything nice, always be miserable until you climb up bruised and beaten to the next tiny rung on the social mobility ladder and you’ll be grateful about it whether or not you actually reach the next level.

Because I am poor, I must try and get a job any place I can, shun any chance at happiness or goal fulfillment, never buy anything new, hide my face away inside my home so that no one gets the wrong idea that my life might actually be good and never draw out of a system I have paid into consistently.

I should not use my talents to get the education I need to have the career I want if I am poor because it might mean 1/10000000 of 1% of the aid I receive might come from someone who does not think I should have it.

(Wonder how well that will work when I start demanding the money I pay in taxes only go to those in need and NOT fund war or farm subsidies or corporate welfare.)

I have a great life.  I have a wonderful family.  I am happy and fulfilled.  I work a job I love that provides me with a small salary, great experience and allows me to go to school at a significant discount.  It adds to my employment capital, AKA the “thud factor” on the curriculum vitae that I will provide to the school where I earn my PhD.

I’m angry that I feel like I need to explain myself.  I’m not doing anything wrong.  I’m sad that someone would choose to judge me and refuse my friendship over $300 per month that buys food and only food for my family.

When I was strung out, I hid away.  I never applied or received any assistance from the gov’t.  Thank Bob my family thought I deserved to survive or I’d probably be homeless and still strung out right now.  It wasn’t until I decided to go get those things I want for my life and had a family to support that I applied for assistance in the first place.  It wasn’t until I decided to make something of myself that I asked for help.

And this is why I know it isn’t about welfare fraud or welfare drug users or welfare queens, whatever the hell that even is.

Because I’m not any of those things, but I am still undeserving, I am still a leech on the system; I am still filthy liberal scum.

Guess what?

Friendship. Ur doin it rong.

Written by thelittlepecan

August 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm