To those who proclaim that unemployed people should just “get a job” and not “expect the government to bail them out,” I say stop being so damned ignorant. To those who are voting Republican in this election because they consider “socialism” to be the worst kind of evil, I say stop being so damned selfish.
We’re all in this together.
Humans are SOCIAL animals. We live in SOCIETIES. We thrive on SOCIALIZING. And guess what? Socialism is not inherently a bad thing. Applied moderately within the framework of democratic rule and a capitalist economy, it simply levels the playing field in a few crucial areas.
For the record, I don’t think all that many people are sticking their thumbs out for a free ride. Yes, of course, there will always be some that take advantage of a handout, but most regular folks are horrified at the thought of having to live on welfare, shop with food stamps, and/or rely on Section 8 housing. Americans are proud people; they want to work, pay their own way, make something of their lives, and contribute to the greater good. But many simply are unable to do just that at this point in history. Because the too-big-to-fails, with the government’s blessing, have off-shored and downsized away hundreds of thousands of jobs and rigged the system in any number of other ways, resulting in a continual redistribution of wealth upwards and into fewer hands. They’ve greased the politicians’ palms… and in return are receiving the best back scratching money can buy. At the expense of a good chunk of what was formerly the middle class, not to mention those who have never had a chance to claw their way up out of poverty.
“Get a job?” I’m sure hundreds of thousands of folks would love to. If only.
Are we supposed to consider the unemployed and underemployed lazy and/or stupid and/or undeserving because they weren’t sociopathically devious enough to become part of the 0.01 percent? Because they didn’t have a magic 8 ball that told them the house they purchased in 2006 would lose 75 percent of its value by 2012? Because their life savings was wiped out when they lost their job and consequently their healthcare coverage, and then had the sorry luck to contract a serious illness? Should we just sit back and allow half the nation to starve, become homeless, resort to crime, and/or die of preventable/treatable diseases?
We’re all in this together.
Our society only works if we devise a system that strengthens it across the board.
This is why I believe the essential elements that allow our society to operate effectively — education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. — need to be socialized. These elements should be paid for by, and made available to, all U.S. citizens. They should not be owned or operated by the greedy self-serving private sector. We’ve seen where that’s led, and it’s nowhere you want to be caught alone late at night.
I’m not saying we should hand everyone a shiny new iPad and a set of wheels with that new-car smell. But an enlightened society such as our own should provide at least a baseline of existence for its citizens, a few safety nets, and a semblance of equal opportunity.
I ask you, which is a more positive, fair, and long-term effective strategy:
- Teaching a person how to fish, providing him with a starter pole, some tackle and bait, along with a sandwich and an apple so he doesn’t starve before making that first catch; or
- Affording him no education and no pathway to acquiring the tools and resources he needs to fish for himself, then tossing him into the rapids while you shout “sink or swim!”
I’m requesting that you try, just for a moment, to step away from your prejudices, put aside your righteous indignation, consider your own hard work but also your advantages, and try to love your neighbor while realizing that what benefits the guy down the street benefits you as well.
Rather than thinking “handouts,” think “a hand up.”
Let’s at least start mixing the paint and stretching the canvas… because it’s going to take all of us together — as a SOCIETY — to complete the big picture and make it a real work of art and humanity.