Entitled to eat

Entitlements; a dirty word in many circles. Welfare; the burr so many GOP hate. But with the generalizations the far right make about those accessing the system, is it really surprising they feel this way about entitlements?

The house vote to cut food stamp access for millions of Americans seemed to be divided by party lines.

The burned out drop-out that feels society owes them the world. The minority mother popping out kids to get a big government handout. These are the stereotypes that abound in the tea party today. These are the stereotypes that fuel the rhetoric of ultra-right conservatives.

I was raised by traditional grandparents and the archetype of the self-sufficient male taking care of his family was set in the stone of my being. The majority of my married life, I have lived to this ideal and my wife has been a homemaker. Yet, because of unexpected circumstances I am on welfare.

I hate it.

But if it wasn’t for this social safety net, I don’t know where I’d be.

At a glance one would assume I’m an ultraliberal. I’m not. Like many others on government aid I don’t expect a handout, but I do have a family to take care of. I don’t jump through bureaucratic hoops that accompany any government program for any sense of entitlement.

However, as someone who was raised on the “good ol’ days” ideal of staying at a job and working hard to pay for my future, I was devastated when my 10-year banking career plummeted as fast as the economy. Sure I was able to hold out a few years, but I could only do so much without a degree.

So, here I am. I’m going to school and my wife is underemployed with two jobs. I work what I can, but I’m still receiving aid, and am desperately trying to get off of it. Unfortunately, I’m still being stereotyped by the far right.

Should the reduction of things like food stamps be something conservatives push? Sure, it’s their right. But when the blanket generalizations and ideology of some grinds the government to a potential halt, they stop being leaders and start becoming hindrances. When compromises across party lines are nonexistent, the American people get hurt.

Even if someone is in a comfortable position in the now, it doesn’t mean things can’t change. A safety net is there for that. But if you accept it be ready to be stereotyped. Then it will really matter to you.

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