The Poor Woman's Almanack

Impoverishment does not equal self pity.

Poor Woman

Poor Woman
Anywhere, United States
April 29
Social Reformer
6 Word Bio: RUDELY AWOKEN-- MOSTLY OUTSPOKEN-- REMAINING UNBROKEN ************************************* My life would shock most people. It is a little known fact that there are quite a number of those on the fringes who may not ever see relief. I am that one you never met, in that we are kept separate by way of societal demands that the poor remain silent, biddable, childlike nonentities without a say as to our care or how it's to be provided. *************************************


DECEMBER 28, 2010 11:26AM

Reflections On the Welfare State (with re-edit)

Rate: 15 Flag
Someone is mistaken here at Open Salon.
That someone seems a decent sort, a working person, a person like you and me, ready for our discussion online, and without threat to others.
I say they are mistaken in that it certainly would appear they have gathered their inferences elsewhere, from a party political viewpoint, and not because of any personal experiences. 
The person in question is suggesting our welfare system is, in part, to blame for the decline of family self support, as in: life in any third world country may be harsh enough to force those congregating at family level into sticking it out together without governmental support. I have heard it once to often, I guess. Hence, this post.
Perhaps we all would be better off once our country is a wreck, forcing us all to gather together once more at  the family level, sort of a Ground Zero in a new light.
I myself would not be able to do that.
That some of us face our worst trials in life at the family level is, in great part, why every society needs to adopt certain social programs, and not relegate the necessity to mere private causes which must be fulfilled as well. When people become bitter about the toll to modern society from a level that is taxation, it is easy for them to forget the awful consequences dealt with in a very real way by honest, living citizens.
These consequences may range from madness to social illnesses such as poverty forced upon the millions through governmental coercion based on who's pulling the strings, to the lawlessness resulting from the decades before when every social reform was not maintained.
Families seeking help from each other need more repair than may be provided at state level, let alone from each other. Whose resources do you lean on when the dire circumstances of your life would preclude all thought towards bettering yourself by viable means? We have thousands in my state alone whose bodily, physical wellbeing is now in the jeopardy phases simply due to the lack of courage from government.
The courage to do what is best must be forthcoming. Our lives must have their faithful representation at a Congressional level, and no other scheme lets us choose more freely what will become of our family life.
The freedoms to choose have their value from a standpoint that is as purely personal as the breath of our bodies. We have a right to assemble, to forge new bonds, to gather at will, to resolve to gain an upper hand via this peaceful pursuit known as government. In that it is an unspoken ruling now that we of a ground level movement must rebuild that courage to proceed which a higher echelon fears we may profit from, our thoughts might better be turned towards how we proceed to view the consequences of each action by Congress (some of its members without a single thought as to what their most telling action might mean to you or me.)
A family is only as strong as its background. There are many families which do support each other. If times are hard, they pull together to regroup. 
To help one another seems a simple mission. Who among family likes you to suffer? And I don't mean your Aunt Edna with the bad breath or her endless stories revolving around her endless pursuits of all things bingo or pink crocheted place mats. Are we really that confident our families are  that sincere we may trust them no matter what?
In my family, for example, there are principles being broken daily, almost hourly, which erode the family spirit. The honesty of some is lacking, while others are uncertain as to whether there were any trustworthy member or members at all. We were pirated as children, not allowed to grow up safely, have had our freedoms ripped from us at such a tender age we are as unlike those without such troubling circumstances to get over as it is possible to become before detectable signs must show overtly.
Those of us sane enough within the family fold, as it were, lacked wisdom before to create a new family basis, even though they might like to. Certainly, we are all pretty wounded, and as wounded spirits go, not one of us has the answers necessary to put this family back on track. I myself would liken that to a personal danger, having been hurt by it before.
To get out and then stay out has been the objective for me suitable to the only recovery process I could have then afforded. It was chosen out of necessity, and has not been lightly considered. I do not believe myself to be the typical offspring of such a wounding nature as my family then forced upon my time in youth. This is mainly in that I do not waste time enough on crying over spilled milk, preferring to take action on every level possible. This would include personal or physical safety to the home and family.
When families come unraveled, we like to think of it as society's deal to clean up any resulting messes. There simply aren't any other features of government which make more sense. Once you have a wounded population, then all else may begin to crumble. A life is so important, it cannot be estimated how highly regarded it may be in terms of the personal volition to win free of such a home scene as was provided me in childhood. 
What child's defense would you offer? More of a family take on what would be better for that one, or the more responsible, and thus less blind, kind of help that is required if society lets down the people most mattering: our children? 
That I was a let down child started me off wrong. The inexcusable behavior leveled at the mind of a child then alters their every thought or deed, even into adulthood.  Had I been shown every bit of the kindness a (not perfectly,but naturally, innately well enough) functioning family would supply, you would not now know me as the Poor Woman.
This must be understood before we can go further.
I did not ask to be raised by ill people whose ideals did every hurt it may take a lifetime of striving to regroup toward. There is a time when one must recover. That is not afforded me. When I tried to do it on my own, my body broke down. And now, like it or not, I am the recipient of the Social Security deal we all paid into known as their Disability plan.
I may not like it, but here is what I have to live with, and daily. I don't want to be required by my own health to take a back seat to the world and let it resolve this issue of my own health and wellbeing, yet I will have to be content with whatever I may be given. That is, until we rise as wiser, more levelheaded citizens to reclaim our dignity from the government. That I may have to wait for.
We are experienced, that are on the low end of the food chain, with every permutation of sneak thief or tyrant. They live in this land, not abroad, or in pictures on a screen. They are people, just like we are, and they like nothing better than to make it certain that I will not be cared for.
Not by their money, anyway. 
What I want to know is, how can it be justifiable for me to believe that, barring family, any public agency with funds for our poor is suddenly the be all and end all of safety or sanity, wellbeing, even family sanctity?
Where is that scene I will belong with once all of the systems have been bled dry which support this body today? And why would I want to apply there for any additional funding that isn't likely to be had anyway?
Our well that is drying up cannot be refilled unless somebody like us rises up in time to say NO MORE. That will take time. Mightily, it might do more harm that good to expect anyone to come out of the shadows into Congress and then be allowed to speak for the first time at such a level as to be then heard.
What each one of us can do, however, rather than wrangling about money's use or the Welfare State, is begin to reexamine this:
What family is there now that truly would be prepared to take on every debt, including every additional medical expense, of someone whose basic needs may not be met at the state or local government level? 
That is a question most of us are afraid to ask.
As our  ship is sinking, the rats may leave all the rest of us drowning, up to our ears in mass debt. Who will we provide for in the case of the ultimate collapse certainly on our horizon from lack of the guts or the spirit to do that thing most applied for?
And who will provide for this poor woman into old age (barring unforeseen returns of strength, stamina, and resistance to illness so long sought after)?
Who am I on the boards of every regulatory commission and statewide clean-up-the-economy committee, or in the halls of Congress--where a bait and switch technique has been used before to bilk us of the ability to care?

Am I a dead weight to society?
I'll tell you who is. Lean in. I'll whisper it to you. It's anyone believing I don't matter, that you don't matter, that we are just mere tinder to be lighted and then expended.
The poor of this country are seldom thought about in terms that are real and cogent to the process of modern civility or calm fortitude.
Next time, I'll hope to tackle the states of confusion around our money (yours, ours, and mine, isn't it?), or how it's spent. 
I thank the gentle reader for continuing to this end point.
Peace with Freedom, people.

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I intend never to name the one mentioned in my first paragraph here.
Fair warning.
We all matter and I wish the government and people would understand that.
Rated with hugs
Linda:It takes the people first. when we don't make up our minds, they can toy with us. Baci!
This is an incredible, just too long for my eyes in one sitting. I will get back to it to finish it. You have excellent insights.
I long for the day we have a welfare state, like England, France & Sweden. Up with people.
What an excellent post. People who do not know what we, and I won't bore you with my problems, are only one sickness, one fall, one car accident, from being us. I never thought my body would leave me. I used to care for a friend who was a quadraplegic, and I pitied him, never thinking one day I could be like him. Hold your head up my friend, this person, like thouands of others like them will learn one day that they will need some type of help, and then they will eat the words they now write!
Patrick: I value your statement. It is not that I didn't make an effort to be brief. It is only in our understanding taking hold that we fright no more away from our poor. It can take patience to earn understanding in any situation. And perhaps you are ready for what I write, but a bite at a time.

Leon: True to form, Mr. Freilich, true to form. I thank you, friend.

scanner: They were ignorant,not rude, and meant well in part. This is a struggle of a grass roots level. It must come out of the people. To do it justice, more people would have to get re-educated as to who the poor are, and how easy it can be to become one of us. That's the job of citizens just like us, you and me, scanner. I like to think of us as just beginning to gather steam toward that end.
I won't give up on us, brother, and I know you won't either.
I have been an expat for over 35 years. I say expat to make clear I grew up in America but have chosen Germany as my country of choice to work, have a family and live in. I shake my head and sometimes my fist when hearing those who are blessed with job supplied health care saying no to others getting care.
They are only a pink slip away from financial, mental, physical, and social disaster. So short sighted, they cannot see the risk to society and themselves.
I consider myself lucky to live in a country where people are not left behind by those better off. Sure we pay higher taxes for those who have less. But I see, as one of the greatest advantages the fact that government cannot / will not spend the peoples money on war rather than its own citizenry.
Keep up the fight Poor Woman!
Out on a Limb: How sane you are! Would that we as a country had your strength of capacity for understanding the human condition!
And bless you for lending your strength here.
I don't quite understand. Our country is a wreck. What is it exactly that certain someone is mistaken about?
Belinda T.: Thanks for posing your question surrounding the what portion of this post. In an attempt to answer that question, I have included another paragraph, in the hope of clearing up the confusion. And thank you again.
It is of interest that programs intended to help often get diluted or worse misrepresented. Also true the family is the greatest safety net in time of need. Another truth which is unfortunate is when times get hard all safety nets develop holes. And it is the people who need the assistance most that fall through.
Di-gu-blah-blah-blah...hmmm. Sounds like a spammer handle. They've been doing this lately, posting legitimate stuff just long enough and then spamming away.... We'll keep an EYE on you, buster.
di-gu-go: (intriguing use of lettering in that name you've chosen) Thank you for the stopover. I know this is a long one.

I would agree with your statement in part. I happen to be aware of many people currently in need of help whose families are quite the reason they must ask for it. I am not alone, then. Maybe other families have more health or wellbeing or resources to share. Mine, and those of the many of I have encountered over the past several years without resources, do not even qualify under the heading of "family".

That's putting it mildly for some of them.

This is one of the great misnomers between our more conservative brothers across the aisle and the American public. Were we that healthy to begin with, our lives wouldn't become unraveled.

That may seem oversimplified. However, where personal experience has shown that many of the beleaguered souls on the dole have dubious family relationships, I think there may be a direct corollary. Several doctors I encountered see it much the same way. Interesting, no?
Tracy Jack: You must be new here too. Hope neither of you turns sour for us here. Peace to you, tho'.
You are the opposite of a dead weight, PW. I don't know how the system works so I can't comment intelligently. I just know for sure that it can happen- Poverty. There are many ignorant people and there are the rotten ones too who want to be believe they are untouchable.

Very intelligent and interesting post, as usual.
fernsy: Thanks, my dear! Always so good to find you here. :)
Blaming the victim appears to be an evil that just won't quit.

To build on Scanner's point: ALL of us are 2-3 "events" (illness, job loss etc) way from needing help. We're all connected.
Chicago Guy: you've got it right! Now, were we en masse, heading for Washington, do you suppose they'd call out the Nat'l guard to keep us away?
Just a thought.
And thanks for coming by for a read, etc.!
There's not anything that I can add to what's already said by Fernsy and Mr Chicago Guy. And as with Jonathan, I'm with you hundered percent. ♥'re_insane

I think this behavior is insane, too. I cannot make a better comment than to agree wholeheartedly with you and with Out on a limb's comment.
Jon: Thanks, bro!

Fusun: It's people like you and Jonathan keep me coming back for more OS time!

Vanessa: Guess I'll have to check out your gift to the discussion! Thanks so very much for supplying it here! You're a dear.
Flower child, you are someone after my own heart. I really appreciate your additional input. Perhaps we could join forces. I'll met you in a PM.
Hi, PW. My thought has always been that the reason family self-support has weakened is the mobility of the modern American society. Whereas many of us used to stay in the community where we were raised, close to our kin, our siblings and children are now scattered like dust in the wind. It is kind of hard to support our blood relative when he's 2000 miles away.

I've also noticed - and I've discussed this with a couple of the European OSers - that Western Europeans seem to feel more secure and peaceful, knowing that their welfare state will provide stability in case of a medical disaster. I think that's a big reason why there is so much more anxiety and depression here in the U.S.
PW, no one is a better advocate for those who have been marginalized and all but forgotten than you. This is such a touchy subject for me. Few things are as heart-wrenching as the insensitivity we show to one another.
I'll have to return later to read this in more detail. I didn't have time just now. However, you wrote and I wanted to quickly comment on: The person in question is suggesting our welfare system is, in part, to blame for the decline of family self support

This person has it backward. I thin what's responsible for the decline of family self-support is the manufacturing era notion of “interchangeable parts.” Just as the free market brought us interchangeable parts of machines, so too it brought us interchangeable employees. People are now mass produced with standard skills and they must go where the jobs are. They don't grow up in a town apprenticing with the locals and taking a job with a local store, now they must move away, often far, and in many cases moving again frequently, such that relying on family—who are often caught moving in different directions—is quite administratively difficult. To live with family, or even near them, would be to limit ones options in precisely the way the anti-extension-of-unemployment-benefits folks speak disdainfully about, the notion that people would hold out for a particular job rather than “doing what it takes” and “adapting.” But, alas, adapting means moving with the changing tides of markets. And so we're all adrift, and it becomes the responsibility of society at large to watch over those that it itself has placed into motion for utilitarian purposes of its own.
Cranky: Thank you for joining the discussion! You make a valuable point regarding how our lives, in general, don't touch closely enough with family.
I, too, have had a chance here or there to speak with Europeans regarding their lifestyle, and I have reached the very same conclusion you share here. Maybe that's what's most galling to the GOP members without scruples, how citizens of the EU are much less anxious and therefore more calm and confident.

Rw: Words to live by. I find it of interest how so many of the bigger supporters of the passage of healthcare already get this, even if some of them are not practicing any religion.What's most curious about this is, when they want to make it seem as though their responsibility were already taken care of, those not wishing to fund this program cite their Bible like it was the law. They would like to think themselves above such a ruling, no matter who's making it. I am sure there are many there would rather not be made to pay any taxes whatever. They may bilk us the further before we're finished.

Fay: Good to see you here! :) Thank you for that lift to my spirit. That I am not alone seems certain. My guess is, there are many others. We just haven't run across each other here.

Kent: Which must be why you and everybody else today in America can be considered as wage slaves. As interchangeable parts, we warrant more care. They can't keep juggling people about like marbles. Eventually, someone will try and stop them--and if not overtly, then covertly.

To continue with Cranky's thought here, Michael Moore has, in his travels, viewed the TV news coverage in other countries as very different from our own. In fact, he stated in his documentary, "Bowling For Columbine," that Canada's way of getting to the heart of the news was much less alarming than our way here. Interesting, no?
PW, there are a number of systematic effects of what I said. Another is that there is excess help with “owning a home” and too little help with renting. The thing is that only the really rich or the very lucky can afford to stay put long enough for owning to be practical. If one sells a house too soon after owning it, odds are they won't see the practical benefit. It becomes like stock churning where the brokers want to do it just for the commission. But if I buy a house near work one place and end up having then to work far away, what have I benefited. If I am rich or lucky and can call the shots, that might be different. But it's just the desire to do that which makes people not mobile, even though it's what the government encourages. And again the government is basically setting up a system that it then is only somewhat supporting. We need to think more carefully about our policies and the society they will create, taking societal responsibility for the casualties caused by ineffectively thinking things through.
Kent, it is obvious to anyone with half a brain you are sincere, smart, thoughtful. I must chllenge you r thought on one ground only: WHO SAYS they are not thinking it may BENFIT THEM to continually think in ways unreasonable? (sorry-hands stiff this afternoon)
Just a thought.