Until I lived in Walla Walla, I’ve never really known anyone that was on unemployment, WIC, food stamps, or any other dole of any kind. Or at least I didn’t know I knew them. Partly this is due to the incredible hard work of my mother and father, who have always taken care to put us in good schools and good neighborhoods while growing up. Partly, I’ve never lived in a rural area before.
I’m working class now. Let’s face it. I slave at a depot, break my back, put in the long hours, and I don’t get to wear high heels, that’s for damn sure. I’m on an hourly wage, I clock in and out, and if I have to miss a few weeks of work for some terrible reason, I hope to God it’s on disability or magically approved (and PAID) LOA. I live in a smaller town, and very few of my in laws have more than a high school education, if that. There are people all around me who have more bills, more kids, more expenses and less pay than I. There are also people all around me who are on unemployment and other sorts of support (thank you, oh great American politics).
Some, SOME of these people are rightfully on this aid. There are those with recent let go’s, or a mom I know with 4 kids of her own, 2 “step” kids and a significant other who is employed occasionally, but not full time. She deserves every penny she gets, and she works SO HARD. She’s a great mom, a great employee, and she deserves five times what Home Depot pays her.
The rest….the rest. The rest I’m about to turn into the government for cheating on their unemployment. The people I know who used their severance pay to take a trip to Costa Rica and are collecting unemployment, and lied about having renters in the house. The guy who has been on unemployment since before our wedding last year…I’ve never heard of him searching for anything; he lives with his mom and does nothing. There are others, but you get the point. There are the people that have constant aches and pains at work, that need paid time off for the slightest of ailments, that can never work at 100%… These people aren’t looking, they AREN’T trying, and it pisses me the F off. I want nothing to do with them, I won’t claim them and I’m about ready to write them off of my list of human beings that would be allowed to breathe air in my imaginary kingdom.
I get all worked up about this, and then at the end I always stop and think, “Bethany, do not judge. Pray to God that you don’t end up there one day.” I thank God that I have a job, that I have a healthy body that can work hard, that I have a brain that gets me through the day. I thank God that I had parents that instilled such a great work ethic in their children, that they set the example, that they didn’t fail in raising responsible adults. I do have some debt, which I am working very hard to reduce to nothing. One day I want to be able to stand up and say “I owe no man a thing. I pay my way, I am in debt to no one.” It will be a great day.
But I will owe my thanks to God. Because without His Grace, I would perhaps be from a different lot, I would not have my education, pride in my work, or the people that support me in my efforts. Thank you, to those of you who inspire me daily, and who set the example to the rest of us.
I’m feeling a little Rand-ish tonight. 🙂 – Here’s some quotes from one of my dad’s (and my) favorite authors, Ayn Rand:
The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it.
There’s nothing of any importance except how well you do your work.
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.
Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.