When Selfishness Masquerades as Liberal Compassion

Giving Hands

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The Democratic party has for years been able to convince the public that they are the party of compassion; the party that cares about the poor and middle class. It is so ironic because the policies they advocate actually hurt the poor and middle class the most.

It is this irony that I find most infuriating. Opponents of government welfare get accused of not caring about the poor because they don’t agree with the solutions offered. But is the liberal solution to poverty, working? This question, they tend not to ask themselves.

Poverty Rate vs Welfare Chart

The Cato Institute released a policy analysis that showed that for all of the money the government has spent on welfare programs, we haven’t gotten much in return. The poverty rate is about where it was back in 1964 when the “War on Poverty” began.

The U.S. currently spends $1 trillion every year to “fight” poverty, which amounts to over $20,000 for every poor person in America, or over $61,000 per poor family of three. And all we have to show for it are people who are still poor, and have become accustomed to being taken care of. How compassionate.

Liberals get to feel good about themselves for supporting these types of policies, whether they work or not, and this is what I don’t get. How can you claim to be compassionate when you refuse to follow up with your approach to see if it works? Is it not the ultimate goal to help, or is it merely to create the illusion of help? Are these policies really meant to help the poor or are they just a way to make their proponents feel good about themselves? Is it just their way of fooling themselves into thinking that they are compassionate people?

It is selfish, dishonest, cowardly, and lazy, to think that all you have to do to be compassionate is to support government handouts, and then close your eyes, cover your ears, and refuse to see whether or not you have made a difference.

“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” – Benjamin Franklin

Franklin’s idea seems a lot more compassionate to me as it focuses on results. Anything that doesn’t isn’t compassion. It is mere stupidity, selfishness and ignorance of the laws of economics and human nature.

Welfare spending has increased by 32% under Obama. This is the opposite of compassion. It’s enslavement. It’s the perpetuation of government dependency and it will not end well, especially for those dependent.

A big part of Obama’s strategy during his campaign was to turn the poor and middle class against the rich. What many refuse to realize is that the rich will still be rich regardless of Obama’s policies. It is the poor that are most affected by the destruction of jobs that results from these liberal policies. It is the poor that are most affected during a bad economy. It is the poor that will be most affected when the government can no longer continue handing out money it doesn’t have.

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  • Wow, VERY well-put! Thank you for saying what needs to be said. I will definitely follow this blog in the future.

  • Freddy

    I have to say that you are right. We need to create systems where we can help people to get jobs, maintain the jobs for as long as possible though, as well as get good pay and reasonable benefits (not too generous). I am saying this as a Democrat and I am going to criticise even my own party for mistakes that they have made, fiscally speaking though.

    • Thanks for your comment. I believe the best way to help is to allow the market to function and companies to compete. There are always unintended consequences when government tries to help.

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  • SB

    I disagree. Liberals really are more compassionate. That being said, I don’t disagree that there are a lot of problems with the welfare system as it is. However that doesn’t mean the solution is to get rid of welfare entirely and let people die on the street! Thats what conservatives want, though. You guys pat yourself on the back for being all logical and claim that liberals are faking compassion. But, there is a difference between trying to improve people’s lives, and doing nothing, and for the most part, conservatives advocate doing nothing. You guys don’t show any compassion. Tax cuts for the rich? Slashing programs that help the poor? That help educate children? Now you want to get rid of health care for millions, and can’t come up with a better replacement for it.

    Just because the liberals way doesn’t work perfectly doesn’t mean we lack compassion. It simply means we don’t have a good system (ie like welfare) that works as well as it could.

    Instead of criticizing us for “fake compassion” why not show some compassion of your own. First, acknowledge that the trodden, the less fortunate, need help. Then actually find ways to help them! Say to liberals “no, that plan TO HELP the poor doesn’t help, because our plan TO HELP the poor is better”. Instead you guys say “tax cuts for the rich, because it will ‘trickle down'” to the poor. Does that even sound logical? People by nature are greedy. Many of you guys are super Christian and know that. So do you really think the rich are going to give up any amount of money they don’t have to? Sure they could create more jobs, but usually what happens is that they invest in robots to do the work, or hire people from China because its cheaper. Its called greed.

    Liberals ARE the more compassionate party, even if what we do doesn’t always work. At least we try. But you guys have to tell yourselves that we are faking compassion and that liberals are faking it and duping everyone. Why? Its the only way you guys can accept that what you are doing (neglecting the ones less fortunate) is ok. Kind of the opposite of what Jesus did, yet ironically most are Christian.

    Well, I can’t say whats in the hearts of other people, but I vote the way I vote, and choose what I choose, because I believe morality is more important, the most important, value when making political decisions. If things don’t work right, we need to change gears, and find better ways to help others. Maybe conservatives CANT feel compassion and thats why you guys claim its fake for us, because it is fake for you. Thats great. But don’t go around telling other people what is or is not in our hearts. When I see people suffering, I feel it too, it hurts me too. That, my friend, is compassion. When I see a homeless person sitting in his excerment, or like that child in Aleppo, I see that and it hurts. So much that I know we NEED to do something. THAT is compassion.

    Taking action to help others means you have compassion, because it is your intention, not the results, that defines compassion.

    If you guys have a better way to do THE SAME things, then bring it on. But I have NEVER seen a conservative caring a wit about the poor, the disabled, the less fortunate. Yet many of you sit in your high towers pretending to be righteous (well those of you who claim to be Christian.) You SAY you care about others, but the actions and the intentions behind those actions betray you.

    The day I say that a republican intends to improve the welfare of the less fortunate, is the day I doubt I will ever see. YOU guys pretend. There is a reason why liberals are called the compassionate party. Because we are. All conservatives do is care about more money in their pockets. I mean come on, whats the first thing the republican congress tries to do? Get rid of the ethics committee. That, my friend, is telling. It says that any belief in themselves being the ethical, compassionate ones, is fake.

    INTENTION, not results, are what tells you if someone has compassion. If a person doesn’t have results, its because they haven’t found a better way.

    • karen S

      You don’t know many conservatives do you. You have a notion of convervatives that is a reflection of what you hear in the media, not what you actually experienced based on conservatives that you personally know. Most democrates that I know are athiest or at the very least not practicing any religion. I’ve worked in and been associated with various help centers for the poor and homeless all are run and manned by volunteers….Christian volunteers who are also political conservatives. I personally don’t believe that government should be involved in helping people. I believe that people should help people. If government got out of minding peoples business and it would free people to be more caring for one another. I actually think the writer is on the mark.

      • SB

        You know, I wrote this really long comment awhile ago but didn’t post it, but I’m going to try to sum things up. I ask you to please be open minded. I’m not going to bash your belief systems or call them wrong, or put you down, but I’m going to explain to you another perspective. Neither is wrong, so please keep an open mind.

        First off, the media never “told me” that republicans lacked compassion. Them media doesn’t really say this at all. After hearing time and time again how they do things like block help to the poor, to the sick, etc, I had come to this conclusion entirely on my own. (Notice “had”). In the process of writing that long unused comment, I realized that I was wrong, Karen S, conservatives do have compassion. But, so do liberals. And I will explain what I realized….

        First of all, originally, I had thought conservatives selfish, money grubbers who didn’t care about the poor. I thought, ok, yeah I know conservatives do not like big government, but still! Sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to do to help others. That includes giving them money and time. So I thought, how on earth can conservatives care at all? But your comment gave me a clue.

        You said you believe in “people helping people”. From my perspective, that isn’t enough. Its great to help people sure, but a few volunteers here or there isn’t going to put much of a dent in all of this. And it made no sense that so many conservatives are Christian too! Why would they fight against helping people? Sure, the government is nowhere near as efficient as business, that’s never been an issue. The issue I’ve always had is, businesses main purpose, main motivating force, main carrot, is money. Often times, if its a choice between doing the right thing and earning money, a business will choose money. Often it has no choice, if it does the “right” thing, market forces will punish it, because the right thing often isn’t profitable! So why on earth would conservatives believe that

        Then I realized!!! It also explains why atheists are the ones who support government funded help for the poor and sick, and republicans are not! But the reason is NOT what you think!

        First off, just a disclaimer, yes I am religious, but I am actually of a really small, small religion. I’m Zen Buddhist. (yes its a real religion. We do everything you do…we meet at least weekly… we have sacred text, we have the equivalent of singing (chanting), we have rituals, ceremonies, special holidays…our religion teaches ethics, morality, we even have the equivalent of sin (we call it defilement), we also have a belief system about the afterlife, etc.) The REAL Zen Buddhism is not something you study in books alone, its something you practice, so I always get irritated at the claims that it is a philosophy. If you think its not a religion, then it really has no category to belong to, because a philosophy is in your head, not in your heart and your actions. I also am a western Buddhist, which means I am not Asian and converted in my early twenties. (I was born Christian…catholic to be precise). Western Buddhism and Asian Buddhism (in the west) are actually very different. The main reason for these differences is that among westerners, the three or four most popular denominations are not very popular in Asia. (I had some Korean friends who had never heard of my denomination, even though research did say it existed in Korea). My Buddhist religion is very close to my heart, and I do see many things through it. We do tend to be very liberal in general, as well.

        That being said, let me explain now what I realized. Most Christians are conservative. They believe in small government. But the teachings of Christ, (though I’m not Christian I do respect what he said) involve helping the poor and sick. So I thought, originally (not anymore) I thought…hypocrites! They say they want to help the poor but don’t! And phew, volunteering, thats NOT enough. They just want to look good. Because volunteering, how can you muster up the resources to REALLY help people the way they need it?

        Then boom! I understood. The key word is RESOURCES. I suddenly remembered the Christian church I was invited to from a friend. (I’m not Christian but I do get curious, and I had never been to a protestant church before). I remember how incredibly astounded I was at the sheer SIZE of the place, and the population! There must have been THOUSANDS of members on just that ONE Sunday! At my little Buddhist center, (which I am still a member of even though I’m on the other side of the U.S. from it now)….if you count all of their members, not just the ones who are local but MANY who are not like me…you get maybe 200. And this is one of the two or three BIGGEST Zen Buddhist centers on the east coast! When I used to live close by, there were maybe 20-40 people on a GOOD Sunday…. and that was packed for us. I remember when I lived there, our Buddhist center/temple used to do a few programs to help people. But our group didn’t have the resources to do much. So we did stuff like join an interfaith program between our center, and a couple of nearby churches, that helped homeless families stay together. Our Buddhist center, although we are one of the few that own our own buildings, didn’t have the resources to house families on a regular basis. So our members would do things like, cook dinner at our own homes and bring them to the families, or stay with them at the church they were staying at, to help with childcare… stuff like that. I once asked my priest (yes we have them, but technically we are borrowing the term) why we didn’t do more. He said that we didn’t exactly have enough resources. We could do simple stuff like food drives (which we do every year at least once) or money drives to offer to the red cross after diasters, but thats about it. We can do simple stuff that just requires time and not a heck of a lot of organization (which is also time). A lot of people actually get involved in protests with the intention of helping change policies to help people, thats time too. But if you’ve ever been behind the scenes on some of these things, just the overall planning can be time consuming even when not counting the money needed. With 200 people (most of which aren’t even local. Maybe, 50-60 of that are local) its a lot more difficult to plan and enact policies that can really reach a lot of people, rather than a small amount. When I was catholic as a child, even THOSE churches had more people on a quiet Sunday, then we did on a busy one.

        But its not just money, and lack of space that we didn’t have… its time. If you have 1000 people of your church, and they each give an hour of their time, thats 1000 hours. If you have 200 people, and they each give three hours of their time, thats 600 hours. We just didn’t have the numbers to help on the scale that many Christian churches have! And, most Buddhist centers in the U.S., especially in the south where I live now, are very small if they exist at all. The one I go to in my local city, has maybe 10 people on a good day. We don’t own their own space, so the local unitarian universal church rents a single room to us once a week. Since the Universal Unitarian Church meets on Sundays, we can’t do so easily, so we meet on a weeknight. Since I am taking night classes, I’ve frequently not even been able to go to it, because of that. So our little tiny group of 10 (on a good day) cannot really muster up the resources or numbers to really help people. When we do help people, at least in the city I live in now, we have to participate in programs that are not run my our religious organizations. Since we aren’t Christian, that means we usually don’t hear about nor feel comfortable working alongside other Christians (well, I think if they reached out to us and were willing to let us volunteer without preaching or attempts at conversion, or without derision about our religion or judgement, then it would be ok. The Christian church that my Buddhist center worked with was like that, which was nice.)

        But, atheists, atheists have it MUCH MUCH worse than even us Buddhists. They have NO COMMUNITY whatsoever. (You may think its sad and it kind of is, but they get by, they have lots of friends and family.) But if they want to help (and many do!) then its a lot harder for a bunch of atheists who never really get together regularly to meet….its much harder for them to organize something. So what do they have left? The government!!! And since many are liberals, most do not see big government as bad at all, so this works out really well.

        I know you might be skeptical about this, but think about it this way: If you grow up in the church environment where you know and see people helping others all the time, you just may not realize that those of us who grew up in a non religious households, or grew up in minority religions, or even the catholic religion which is still small in comparison (I think most catholics are liberals)….then you may not realize just how much the size of your religious organization plays in helping others in need. Atheists, they have it the worst, they have no community to draw support on!

        If you grow up atheist, non religious or in a small or minority religion, you do not see the same opportunities to organize, help, and muster resources that you see through large protestant churches. I mean thousands of members on one Sunday! Wow, my jaw just about dropped when I saw that for the first time. (Its one thing to hear or read about it, another to see it for yourself). So those of us who are liberal, we also happen to not see big government as bad. Maybe not as inefficient, but certainly not bad, and any inefficiencies we believe can be fixed with good old work on it. And since we dont have a large religious organization or community to draw on, we don’t see how much it can help people. We also see the people that aren’t reached by religious volunteerism, because those are more likely to be the people like us. So its natural to believe the government is the best way to help people. They have the resources! Is it any less compassionate to say “yes, take hundred of dollars out of my paycheck every year to help the poor?” Is it any less compassionate for us to spend our time, protesting, or going to rallies, or involving ourselves in grass roots campaigns to make the giant government system (resource) work better? Many many liberals even make it their life’s mission to start and work at nonprofits (funded often by government grants, because where else to get the money?). They forgo big paychecks so that they can spend their working life, full time, helping others. I’ve known MANY liberals who have done this.

        Really, we aren’t compassionate, we are just different. In sum, we have really only two differences:

        1. Conservatives believe big government is bad. Liberals think that big government isn’t bad, as long as the right (key RIGHT) policies are programs are in place.

        2. Conservatives have access to religious organizations that can organize, spend resources on and get people to volunteer in large numbers. Liberals usually don’t have access to such a resource,so the only thing left for us is government and non-profits run by government grants. (Yes fundraising can and does help, but again without a large church membership that you see every week, this is more difficult and government grants end up helping more. Don’t forget it also costs money and time to organize events and fundraisers… it takes only a few hours to fill out a grant application, I would assume anyway.)

        We really aren’t that different at all. Which is quite a relief actually to me because I am SURROUNDED by conservatives down here! I’m glad that I don’t have to see you guys as lacking compassion.

        I hope you can see the same as us, and just realize that our differences aren’t that one of us has compassion and the other doesn’t. Our differences are simply the method that we each think works best to help others. Maybe you are right and we are wrong, or maybe I am right and you are wrong. But, I kind of think we are both right and both wrong, and that in truth, we need each other. But I think we are both, most certainly both, compassionate.

        I hope you got to the end of this and kept an open mind. If you have, I would really like to hear your thoughts on this. I really hope we can both agree that we are both compassionate, and that where we are right or wrong is in our methods of helping, but not in the intention itself. Because I really think that that is the real truth.

        • SB, I must admit I didn’t read your entire comment because as soon as I got to the second paragraph I found the problem with your way of thinking.

          When you say “they do things like block help to the poor”, it really explains the disconnect. You see, you have a premise that you take as fact and never question. Your premise is that those things that are being blocked by republicans, actually do help the poor.

          Rather than try to debate whether those things do in fact help the poor or not, you refuse to even discuss it. You’re asking the wrong questions.

          If you actually had a open mind yourself, you would be debating about whether these solutions actually solve the problems. If you did that, what you would find is that republicans understand that in most cases, the government not only doesn’t help, but they are making things worse.

          For example, I am against a minimum wage. I think it should be 0. This is when you would attack me for lack of compassion. And that’s when I would point out that the minimum wage hurts poor people the most, by preventing them from getting jobs and getting ahead in life. A simple Economics lesson can explain this. But let me guess, you are not interested in Economics or anything that requires actual analysis of the unintended consequences of government policies.

          You see, if you are not willing to have a conversation about which solutions actually work and which ones make things worse, you have the most closed mind of all, and you are letting yourself be guided by emotion. You’re not helping anyone, except yourself when you support policies that don’t work, but that do make you feel better about yourself.

          • SB

            You need to read my entire comment. I actually did change how I thought, but I presented you with my original opinion first for contrast.

            As far as whether or not certain things do or do not work, I think thats actually another issue. You could hypothetically say “liberals have compassion but just have no idea how to do things right” which is an entirely different issue. I’m not arguing the issue about how effective certain policies are and are not. I agree often times the government policies don’t work, (and the liberal response would be, lets try something else that does) but thats not what I am discussing. I am not discussing the effectiveness or smartness of the METHOD of helping, I am discussing whether or not the intention behind liberals (or conservatives) efforts are compassionate or not. They are separate issues. Please read my whole comment.

            And by the way I actually do agree with you about the minimum wage. Personally I think the solution lies elsewhere, rather than increasing minimum wage. But thats neither here nor there, the issue I am discussing is whether or not liberals and conservatives have compassion, not whether or not their methods actually work.

            So please read my entire comment in its entirety.

          • SB, I do appreciate that you recognize that our differences lie in what we believe the solutions are. That’s basically what I’m saying as well. We can definitely agree on that.

            The point of my original article though, was to say that there are many liberals (not all), that don’t bother to find out if their solutions work. They simply support them because it makes them look more compassionate. So my point is that those that don’t bother to follow up to see if they are actually helping people are only fooling themselves into thinking they are good people when they are not.

            If you support policies because you want to help, then I believe you should care about really analyzing what the other side is saying and figuring out which side has the solution with the best approach.

            The fact that conservatives tend to be against government intervention is not because they don’t care, it’s because we believe government makes things worse with the false pretense of “helping” people.

            They take our money and just waste it because in reality, politicians that get elected by offering government assistance, don’t really benefit from people getting better and becoming self reliant. They benefit by the continuation of the victim mentality.

            Look at unemployment assistance. I wouldn’t be so against it if it were very temporary. But instead it discourages people from looking for work, because many would rather get a free check than work and make a little more. This shouldn’t be.

            Assistance should be designed to help people get back on their feet quickly. What we get are programs that are designed to make people comfortable in their poverty, so they continue to depend on the government for their survival. That way, the politicians can always count on that person’s vote. That’s the opposite of compassion. They are destroying those people’s lives just to get their votes. It’s wrong.

    • Concerned

      No Liberals are not concerned about these issues. Do your homework. It’s on the Internet. “Why Hollywood is so Liberal”. Check out Matt Damon’s view on helping
      children, get vouchers to attend better schools.

      • SB

        I’m a liberal, and I do care about the sick, disabled, the poor. I don’t need to do my homework because I am a liberal. I have liberal friends, too, and we all care about the same things. The down trodden, the sick, the hungry, the poor…yes we care about those kinds of people for sure!

        I also don’t go around bragging to everyone that I help people. I don’t need to be seen as someone who helps people. I just need to see the right thing done. Other than voting, there isn’t much I can do to make the right thing done, so its not about image to me. (Who sees me vote what I vote? Nobody). I don’t protest, either, I’m not into that. (What good would it do?) I suppose I am vocal online, trying to get people to do the right thing, but otherwise I act with my vote which nobody sees. I write letters to congress sometimes, too, trying to convince them to do the right thing.

        Around conservatives (in person) I tend to keep my mouth shut because there’s no convincing people about politics sometimes.

        I just happen to believe that the best way to help people is NOT through the church, but through the government, because you can help more people that way. The government just has more resources! Helping people through the church isn’t enough…you can’t get as many people that way. Plus, what if someone isn’t religious at all? Are you not going to help them then, or force them to convert to get the help they need? Make them pray before they eat? You don’t see that as a bad thing, but what if someone isn’t Christian, or has a strong belief in something else?

        If you’re not a liberal, how can you say what we are and are not concerned about? Reading about it online is very different from talking to and understanding liberals themselves!

        The difference between a liberal and a conservative is not that we don’t care, its that we strongly believe in different ways to help people.

        Before I came upon this website and realized how you guys believe in helping people, I thought that conservatives didn’t care. Sometimes if I’m not careful I forget that.

        Don’t you think we can help more people if we stop bickering and put BOTH of our methods of helping together? I think helping through a church is ineffective….doesn’t help enough people. You think helping through the government is ineffective. (Not sure why but thats another can of worms). Maybe together, they can both be more effective methods than by themselves.

        Anyway we do care! Very much. Thats why so many of us get angry at conservatives…because we do care, and we do want things to get better, and many liberals don’t understand why conservatives try to block the methods that we believe will work (and then put nothing from the government in its place).

        The answer is that we disagree on what works. Its not that liberals or conservatives don’t care. We both care!

        I hope you see what I mean? I hope you can keep an open mind. We should be bickering about what is the best way to help, rather than attacking each other’s character and ability to feel compassion for others.

    • TheBigGuy

      You’ve been lied to. Democrats are the party of the rich, not Conservatives.

      • SB

        Nobody told me to believe that its just what I see. What about that massive tax cut? The VAST majority of it goes to the rich and to large corporations. The tax cuts for the middle and low income people phase out after a few years, and even with them they get almost nothing. (One clueless politician was talking about how he heard about someone who had a $1 savings per pay check because of the tax cut. He was so disconnected that he didn’t realize that was nothing).

        Giving massive tax cuts to the rich, while giving less to lower income people, is actually not an isolated thing for conservatives. It’s pretty typical.

        Meanwhile massive tax cuts means there is less money to offer to help people like with welfare, Medicare and Medicaid. Conservatives want to cut those programs. Those programs don’t help the rich, they help the poor. Regardless of how lazy you think the poor are, that’s the truth.

        I do find it interesting that you say that though. I don’t understand it, but it’s interesting. I’m trying to think of a policy that conservatives support that helps the poor over the rich, and I’m at a loss. Conservatives would rather paint the poor as lazy and living off the system (just look at this forum and the comments). That way they don’t have to spend the money to help them. Never mind that it would be good to have churches AND the government helping, (because just churches….thats not going to be enough with the levels of poverty we have in the U.S.).

        Never mind that the way welfare is set up doesn’t encourage people to get off it (and conservatives would fight anything to change this), because every dollar someone makes on welfare is detracted from the help they get, so they literally don’t get a dollar more for working if they are on welfare. I don’t see that changing because of conservatives.

        Never mind that some people (including me) who was once on welfare had to stay on it instead of getting off, simply because it was the only way to get healthcare and medicaid. Yes, not sure if I mentioned this elsewhere, but there was a point where I worked on welfare and I saw no increase in the money I needed to survive, so I only worked for my own psychological benefit. However, I can see how the average person would feel very discouraged at this. (Its why communism doesn’t work and capitalism does. People need to feel like they get something in return for working). So I got nothing out of it. Not a dollar more for working. Every dollar I made was detracted from the welfare I got, and meanwhile I had trouble paying my electricity.

        And then, when I had the opportunity to make more money, I had to turn it down because I have a pre-existing condition that makes me unable to work unless I get treatment. So if I made more and lost medicaid (this was before Obamacare) I would have lost my health care, which means in a month or two I would have lost my job. (And ended up back on welfare). So yes, I turned down a better paying job that would have gotten me off welfare, but I did it as a matter of survival. And conservatives want to go back to this? I only got off welfare when I found a way to get health insurance without it.

        Its a cop out to say that people on welfare are just lazy, so we shouldn’t help them. You don’t understand the reasons why they are stuck on a crappy system like welfare. Cutting programs like that- that’s not helping the poor. Giving massive tax cuts to the rich helps the rich, not the poor.

        So how do Democrats help the rich and ignore the poor? I’d really like to know.

  • karen S

    In the words of St. Francis….bah, bah, bah. I speak must but say very little.
    I did read your words….most of them anyway. I think you are saying…..People do good things but due to their limitations they can’t do it effectively therefore government needs to step in. You do realize that its ok to be poor. There is nothing “wrong” with being poor so long as we live within our means. As a Buddist I’m sure you understand that materialism is part of the problem. People think they are entitled to everything they see. It shouldn’t be only available to those who can afford it to should belong to everyone….If I see it why shouldn’t I have it?. I think compassion is meeting the basic needs, food, shelter and clothing. After that we are all free to make our own path. I believe that most people are willing to help on some level with meeting others basic needs.

    • SB

      I see nothing wrong with being poor. But I think the real issue is that, people with disabilities in America are screwed, because its very hard for them to get food, shelter, clothing etc. In my experiences, most people (actually all the people I have known) on welfare had a disability of some sort… some were applying to disability assistance and that can take over a year, others had milder disabilities and they couldn’t keep jobs because of discrimination.

      Also there is a difference between extreme poverty that is so bad its scary, and just not having as much as the next guy. There is also a difference between being so poor you can’t even afford the $8 it cost (or used to cost) to get netflix. As an analogy, sure a box can be a shelter, but anyone living there is going to be very miserable. I think people can only be happy on extreme poverty if its their choice to do so. If you have no choice, it can be depressing. You think, why did I have to be cursed with this disability, that I can’t ever expect to make a decent middle class income? Personally, I don’t need to be rich, (though I wouldn’t mind it) but I have always been afraid of being stuck in dire poverty simply for the crime of having a disability.

      BTW my disability is invisible. Currently, it doesn’t prevent me from working, thank goodness, and hopefully it never will. But if it did, and I needed welfare for a year until I got disability, would republicans look at me as just abusing the system? Don’t they know how horrible welfare is? I think its worse than death. Really. Its a miserable existence. Disability assistance is only mildly better, the amount I hear that people get is at least liveable without having to pay someone $200 to sleep on their couch.

      • karen S

        God Bless you SB. I’ll remember you in prayer tomorrow. if I can help you with anything specific please let me know.

        • SB

          Thank you!! That’s very kind of you! I’m still very hopeful about the future. I’m retraining for a new career and I’m rather good at it so far, and there are a lot of reasons to believe that I will be successful and not end up in the disability pool! I have my days where I freak out about it, (its my biggest fear) but I think right now things are going better than that have in a long while.

          If things go as I hope, than you’d never know I have a disability (actually technically two, invisible disabilities, just found about about the second one). The negative of an invisible disability is that when you struggle nobody understands why, and sometimes even when you explain it they sometimes still don’t get it, (and thats even assuming they try to understand). The positive about an invisible disability is when things are going well, nobody knows that you have a disability at all, so you can side step the discrimination that someone in the wheel chair or with another physical disability might face. Of course if someone was a doctor that specialized in what I have, or another professional like that, they might guess but the average person wouldn’t. They’d probably just think me eccentric for some of the things I have to do to make things work. And my boyfriend’s and family and close friend’s will always know, but when things go well I think my workplace I think I can more easily avoid discrimination.

          I didn’t mention this elsewhere because even on an anonymous internet blog comment section, it makes me nervous, but technically what I have, I think, I can say… I say it because I want the stigma to go away and the discrimination to stop for those who can’t help but ask for accommodations, or for those whose disability becomes clear.

          I have both bipolar 2 and ADHD, but ironically the ADHD causes me the most problems!! Thats because for me, medication completely eliminates my bipolar 2 symptoms, but medication doesn’t completely eliminate the ADHD symptoms, it only helps a little. Also people with bipolar 2 are not that scary as the media makes us sound (I hate every form of media coverage on this stuff, its always shooters…which by the way, is rarely bipolar its usually schizophrenics who shoot people because they get paranoid delusions where everyone wants to kill them, while people with bipolar 1 get happy delusions, like they are the president or something good…) Notice I also said “bipolar 1”. Its because bipolar 2 people do not get psychotic at all! We never lose touch with reality, if we did it wouldn’t be bipolar 2. Our main symptom is depression, and sometimes its easier to tell people “I get a form of chemical depression”. Its only bipolar 2 because a) the medications I take are different and b) I get “hypomania” which means “under mania”. I can function fine, sometimes a little bit more productively, when hypomanic. It doesn’t impair my functioning, and at most I can be slightly annoying to people, and at best, people find me really interesting and charming and I can get a lot done. (Many people feel like…if we could just bottle hypomania!) I describe hypomania as…. a slightly more energetic form of a hyper ADHD person. So really, the only impairment people with bipolar 2 have is depression, and sometimes people with bipolar only get the label “depressed” because its easy to miss the occasional 4 day hypomanic episode. You would never see a person shooting up people because of bipolar 2, not anymore than you would just see a regular depressed person do that.

          But ADHD ironically causes me more problems, because other than having to take bipolar medication (that works REALLY well for me) and dealing with the REALLY crappy side effects (the WORST is weight gain) other than that, I don’t really struggle much with my bipolar symptoms. I can’t really skip sleep (it can make me hypomanic or depressed. The problem with hypomania is it burns out your brain and drops you into depression so as great as hypomania can be, its best to be avoided) and because of all the medications I take for both conditions I can’t really safely drink alcohol. Though I might sip it in a social occasion just to seem normal. (luckily I’m not big on the taste so I get by) But otherwise, my ADHD is far more impairing. I’m learning now how to deal with it better though, and only just got (rediagnosed). I’ve also got, uhm, a lot of baggage from growing up with both disorders and not having the bipolar diagnosed sooner. Depression bites. When I was on welfare, they were adjusting my medications and trying to teach me cognitive behavioral therapy and such to deal with the bipolar and get out of the depression. I had thought I didn’t have ADHD anymore so I wasn’t addressing that. But it took a year to be able to not be so depressed. Even when I tried to get a job, I can’t function well when depressed, and used to get fired for incompetence or being too slow or forgetful (both bipolar and ADHD). ADHD causes me issues too but I’m learning to deal.

          But otherwise,I’m doing rather well, and am very hopeful for the future.

          • karen S

            I don’t know of any conservatives who oppose disability insurance including social security and veterans benefits for the disabled. I strongly caution people against labeling themselves as disabled if the disability isn’t obvious. I’m very glad to hear that you are doing well. I hope you continue to make forward progress….one day at a time. I hope that you never set your self up for failure by telling yourself that you’re disabled. My grandson has ADHD, he has his challenges, but I’m very very certain that he’ll be fine. My son-in-law is also ADHD and he just graduated from Veterinary Medicine with a DVM. He’s now in practice and will soon own he own clinic. All the best to you.

          • SB

            Karen this is exactly the kind of thing that really is an issue. And bothers me. If you really truly wanted to “pray for me” then I pray that you are open minded about invisible disabilities. There are many people with disabilities who find ways to work around them. I can tell you for sure that ADHD has made me lose about 50% of the jobs I have held. I tried very hard, but it made me lose jobs anyway. That was before I was diagnosed, so now maybe with medication it will change things.

            I also do have bipolar. Being depressed…moving slowly, forgetting things (also ADHD) …having no energy…all of these things DO cause impairment in me. Before I was diagnosed with bipolar years ago, I also lost many jobs…the vast majority in fact

            Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean I don’t have obstacles.

            I had a friend (we’re facebookk friends now because she moved). But she is blind. However, she doesn’t look blind, because its not 100% blindness. I met her in a martial arts class. She can still walk around and not trip over things, but she has to be very careful when she walks. When walking down the street with me, she often stuck close and told me “tell me if there are any steps, otherwise I might trip”. She can’t cross the street without a blind stick, because she can’t see the cars. She can’t play sports with balls, because she can’t see the ball. She struggles in bright daylight, and needs sunglasses otherwise her eyes hurt. To see the board she has to make the most near sighted glasses I have ever heard of…the lenses are so strong that to see the board she has to look through a piece of glass not much bigger than the size of a quarter. She also can’t legally drive. Yet she is a black belt in one martial art, and does well in school, can walk around without a white cane unless crossing the street (when walking by herself she just goes slowly, when with others she uses them and watches them). She even has run in groups with people around the campus.

            So is she not disabled? She belong to a youth group for blind kids, so they think she is. She’s been given a white cane she uses for crossing streets. But gee, she can walk around and get a black belt. So is she not disabled? I think she is, but she is also able to finish college, get a black belt, and with accomadations get a job.

            When I told her about the things I struggle with, she said “why don’t you tell people?” Its because people care and believe that blind people like her are disabled, but they don’t see the disabilites that I deal with.

            Why? Because the things I struggle with are blamed on “bad character” or “not trying hard enough” or “being lazy” or “being inconsiderate” or “not caring enough” or any of that.

            If she had trouble seeing the board due to her blindness (if she never had the glasses she has), and because of that she flunked a class….then everyone started calling her lazy and unmotivated, how do you think that would make her feel? Especially if she tried, but because she didn’t know she was blind, and couldn’t explain it to others, she was put down? Told she has no disabilities, no obstacles, no problems? Now think about how it would feel if people DID know of her blindness, but refused to give her glasses, a white cane, then yelled at her for not crossing the street on her own or for flunking class? They said “I know your blind but you just got to learn to deal with it” or “I know your blind but you can’t be scared of crossing the street all the time” (she can’t see the cars so they will hit her, but hey, that doesn’t matter?)

            My friend has a disability, but she has to work 10x harder to do stuff everyone else has to do. Sometimes, she really does have issues, because in martial arts she sometimes doesn’t want to tell the sensei about her obstacles. So she gets yelled at and critizied. She’s gotten really upset about this too.

            People know about the idea of ADHD and bipolar, but even people who believe I have it have a very hard time understanding some of the ways it affects me. Do you know how many times I wish I was blind or crippled instead of having bipolar and ADHD? A lot. Because then at least people would understand when I tell them.

            I have trouble paying attention in class when I’m not in the front row. I have trouble paying attention in computer lab classes because the computer screens on every seat are extremely distracting. I have to sit int he front to have a shot at paying attention.

            I lose track of time, I forget things, I have trouble organizing things. Some people have ADHD really badly! Same with bipolar. I’m lucky when it comes to bipolar, because my medications work so well. But it is still a disability because if I ever couldn’t get medication I’d be screwed. I have to deal with really nasty side effects that DO effect me (terrible sedation from the medications, weight gain). But that isn’t nearly as bad as my ADHD because the medications help.

            I’m tired of being critizied for the things I struggle with. My friend is blind, and as soon as she tells others about it they can sympathize. But I tell you and your first response is “be careful about calling things that aren’t obvious disabilities”.

            Its not obvious because I’m high functioning. Just like my friend who is blind, her blindness is not obvious. THAT being said, if you watch her in certain circumstances, (like crossing the street) and listen to her coping mechanisms when she walks with you, you would realize how she struggles.

            Just like my friend, if you know what to look for in me, then my disabilities ARE obvious. But ONLY to someone who knows what to look for, otherwise you will just blame me for being lazy or unmotivated or not caring. I have a friend who is a teacher, (and teachers have been taught to spot ADHD). She knew right away, before I did even, that I have ADHD.

            Here is another example: I’m extraordinary forgetful. The medication helps but doesn’t fix it entirely. Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I kept forgetting to clean the litter box for my cat regularly so he would do it. I told him I would try to improve, and I did try to remember but I kept forgetting. So, my roommate got super mad at me, and called me a liar, said said I was extremely inconsiderate. That I didn’t care about him at all, and he hated me for that. I wasn’t like that at all, not at all. It made me cry because I hate when people say those things about me. I also care about my furbaby so I don’t want her to suffer. But I tried! So I even thought, whats wrong with me why can’t I do this?But now looking back, I understand…. if anyone who didn’t have ADHD kept forgetting like that, it WOULD mean they didn’t care. In fact, remembering to clean it regularly is so easy for most people that there is no other explanation than intentionally not doing it or just not caring enough. Many people can’t even comprehend the idea that its not so easy to remember things like that even when I tell hem I have ADHD. (Are you one of them? Is it so easy for you that you can’t imagine people having a problem?)

            Now that I know that I have ADHD, I would have done things differently. I had put the litter box in the corner, out of sight. I should have put it in a place where I would walk by it and see it daily. But you know, I’m not sure if he would have let me do that. No accommodations means I can’t do it, its like taking the white stick away from my blind friend when she tries to cross the street. She’s gunna get hit eventually.

            I could have put the litter box in in my room, but I can’t do that either… my cat keeps me up at night when she is in my room. And that causes me to have bipolar episodes. In fact thats very much what happened. My roommate made me keep it in my room. That kept me up. I got a bipolar episode. I was depressed for several weeks and tried to kill myself. Finally I confided in my doctor and they had to up my meds.

            Because of my messiness problems, I spent 2 years bouncing from roommate to roommate, spending no more than a few months at each. Because of my ADHD, my forgetfulness, my messiness, was a problem.

            But now, its like I know I am blind. I can get the ADHD equivalent of the white stick. Same for the bipolar. I still have to do things differently than others and may get called eccentric for it, but as long as I have the equivalent of the white stick I think I will be ok.

            However, its still a disability. Having a disability doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot work. If you are high functioning, and have the right tools (like a white stick) then you can get by. However if you need a white stick, sometimes people will discriminate when they see it. Its the worst with mental illnesses, because the trouble people have is hard to understand since its not physical, so people with them sometimes try to go without accommodations and hide them. If they can’t hide that they use tools (like for example, if every time my friend tried to cross the street with a white stick she made sure her boss or friends or family wasn’t around… or if she tried to cross the street only during times of day that cars rarely pass like early in the morning) there are risks she takes of getting hit by a car.

            People are more forgiving and discriminate less with physical disabilities, but even with them its bad. Once I walked into a store…. I believe it was Lush (have you heard of them?) in a mall. They had a woman in a wheel chair helping people pick out soaps, hand creams, giving massages, etc. I’ve never seen a person in a wheel chair getting a job like that. I was so impressed with Lush that even though I didn’t want to buy anything that moment (maybe later) I still bought a ton.

            How many times do you see someone at a job who works in a wheel chair? Its odd, I dont see it much. They must exist,but where are they? I think they would like to work if they could…but people think disability and automatically assume incapable.

            People with disabilities have OBSTACLES. Sometimes with hard work and with tools (like a white stick) we can get by and function if not a bit oddly.

            Simply having ADHD by itself mens you are statistically more likely to get fired by a pretty big amount. But eventually I think many learn to cope, though I have heard that self-employment is often the best way to cope for many. Bipolar, its hit or miss. With bipolar if you can find medications that work with you, then you blend in, with very few obstacles as long as you don’t do things to mess up your bipolar (skip sleep, drink alcohol that interferes with medications) and the only obstacles are often side effects from medications. But for bipolar, there are some people that medications literally don’t work for. They take the medications and it doesnt work. They’re called “treatment resistant”. For bipolar 2 there aren’t a lot of medications that work, so if the two or three out there don’t work for you, you may have issues. Luckily they came out with a new one for bipolar 2 recently. People in the middle of a bipolar episode can die- in depression they can kill themselves, in mania they can take risks that are so risky they accidentally kill themselves. They can ruin marriages, they can ruin jobs, burn bridges, they can struggle to complete tasks at work, they can blow through thousands of dollars of savings only to later regret it, they can even hallucinate (bipolar 1).

            Blindness, like with my friend, is still blindness even though she is still high functioning. Its still a disability, though its one that so far, she has been able to cope with even though she has to work harder to do the same things others do easily (cross the street).

            Why does everyone see mental illness as something different, why must we be discriminated against even more because we don’t have a deformed arm, crippled legs, or eyes or ears that don’t work? Maybe you aren’t discriminating, and maybe (hopefully) its all semantics.

            I define a disability as something that has the potential to make you unable to hold a job when at its most severe form. I define disability as something that causes major obstacles in your life for simple things that everyone else can do easily.

            I define “invisible” as simply this: you look at someone, and you don’t see it in five seconds. You don’t see them with a white stick, you don’t see body deformations, you don’t see them wearing funky glasses, you don’t see them not responding to sounds (ie deafness). In a sense, my friend who is blind has a halfway invisible diagnosis. She has to wear sunglasses during the day, and in class, otherwise her eyes hurt. (basically if you want to know the mechanics, she literally has no cones in her eyes. I you understand rods and cones and biology, it means her eyes can’t process information in bright light, can’t process color, and she can only see at night but even that isn’t clear. Because cones also help you see detail). Anyway, people see her in sunglasses in class, and they immediately assume she is being disrespectful, or is maybe a drug addict trying to hide bloodshot eyes, or wants to fall asleep without anyone noticing, because thats why most people who wear sunglasses do. So, is her disability invisible, or not? She does have to use a white stick to cross the street, so she’s visibly blind then, or when she trips over a step….whenever we used to approach one, she would carefully have to feel her way… she knew it was there I think, but not exactly where it was, just that somewhere in that area there is a change ….I’m talking about like when you step off the curb from a sidewalk. I think with regular steps shes ok, even I can climb those with my eyes closed)

            There are those that are high functioning…. those who have gone to med school, who have become lawyers….but there are blind people like my friend who has done the same things too. I think if my friend wanted to, she could probably go to med school too. Since she is in a health care field, i think its entirely possible she might try for it, if she decides it what she wants.

            I think, if conservatives really want to help people, I think we need to look at whats causing people to stay on welfare. I think, from my experiences, is that its disabilities and discrimination. The people I have met, they had mental illneses and the medications or treatment wasn’t working for them.

            Also, It may be possible that some people, after repeated failures, have come to feel so discouraged, and so unhappy about people telling them that they are lazy and unmotivated, but even so, they begin to believe it. I struggle against believing people too, and everything I do is to prove those people (from my past) wrong. Nobody expected me to go to college or do anything.

            Instead of telling such people (on welfare) that they are lazy, the solution might be to show them that, maybe some of them anyway, can work, can be high functioning, and its not hopeless. Encourage them to get jobs, show them the accommodations they can use, and show them that they can accept the struggles they have without judgement from themselves or others.

            There are some, though, and within mental illness its usually those who can’t find a medication that works and whose “disability” is so severe that they are either constantly having a mood episode, or constantly getting fired from 100% of their jobs, those people too have disabilities. Not the kind that requires you to give them your seat on the bus, but the kind that still can’t hold a job. I’ve met many like this, many who are constantly in and out of hospitals. I think its much rarer with ADHD, but if someone is losing every single job they get, even with ADHD medications and with accommodations, then to me that is very much a disability.

            I think the problem though is because some things are not physical, its hard to tell for a lot of people, hard to believe.

            The people who “sit on” welfare because they can’t get disability insurance, (or those who eventually do) maybe in the future a medication or treatment or accommodation will come around that will help them. Especially for bipolar. But if they have gotten so discouraged and hopeless about life, it may be hard for them to try again. Its difficult to fail at everything and keep getting up. Have you heard about “learned helplessness?” There was a psychological experiment with dogs. They put one set of dogs in a cage that would randomly get electrocuted, (well, cause them pain). They had no way to prevent it. Then, they took another set of dogs,and put them in a similar cage,but if they pushed a lever they could turn the pain off. They had them go through this for awhile. Then, months afterwards, they put both groups of dogs in a cage. One side gave constant shocks, but if they jumped over a small barricade (not hard to do for them) they could get to the other side, without any shocks. The dogs that had no control or ability to stop the shocks in the earlier other cage sat in the corner and whimpered, while the dogs who had the ability to stop the pain by pushing a lever eventually figured out how to jump over the barricade.

            Blaming people who have developed “learned helplessness” due to their disabilities never getting treatment that worked, or never finding accommodations to help them, is NOT the solution. Instead, you need someone to go into that cage with the dogs, pick up the dogs head, pet them, encourage them, and lead them over the barricade. Even then, it will take re-training to get them to unlearn the learned helplessness.

            But yelling at the dogs for not trying to find the place where it stops hurting, is NOT going to fix things.

            I feel like a lot of times, conservatives just blame people who are on welfare. Put them down, call them lazy. Maybe not everyone, but some do. Some really cannot work, for real, and really do need to be on disability, but the process can take a year or two and they have to live until then!! Others haven’t been able to have any success in life up to that point because no treatments worked or maybe even because they never got diagnosed properly… so why would they have any reason to think that trying again won’t lead to failure? Sometimes people think, its better to not try at all then to go through the pain of failure again. I think that also goes for discrimination. Its very hard to try again when every single time you have tried for decades, has resulted in failure.

            Right now, for me, its taking a heck of a lot of faith to try again. Being fired for 50% of the jobs I have held is very difficult and painful to deal with. If I try two or three more times and it still doesn’t work? Not sure what I will do. Not sure if I can try again. Maybe I’ll kill myself,I don’t know… not joking here I can’t take constant failure anymore. And welfare is hell. In this conservative state, I have no reason to believe that disability isn’t hell either.

            I’ve had 22 jobs, and been fired from approximately 11. Not counting some of the jobs I just quit because I didnt think I could do it. Except for the REALLY part time job that I worked for 4 hours a week and all I had to do was show up on time (which I almost lost because I had trouble with that…but then I changed bosses and the new one liked me because I really went out of my way and helped someone with something…) other than that….the Longest I have held a job is two years, and the job I made it that long for, I was fired from. Second longest I have held a job, was 1.5 years. Also fired from.

            I’ve kind of bared my soul here.I’ve trusted people with information that I would never tell most in person. I’m hoping that my anonymity will protect me, but I still am nervous about this. If any potential jobs see these posts and connect it to me, they won’t hire me. If I have a boss who sees these posts and connects it to me, they will fire me. Discrimination.

            I tell this to you in hopes that you will understand! Hoping that I can get rid of some of the stigma of mental illnesses. In hopes that you will stop judging people like me, and stop saying “just try harder” when I’ve already TRIED harder. Hopes that people like you will see people like me, who ask for weird accommodations that make no sense (to you) or that are meant to attempt simple things that everyone can do…that you won’t judge but show compassion. Or even for those of us that are on disability not by choice but by necessity…but because we aren’t crippled or don’t carry a white cane you call us “gaming the system”. That hurts you know.

            My biggest hope is that I will always remain high functioning and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. My biggest hope is that I won’t ever go on disability or welfare again.

            In my other posts I wanted to create understanding between conservatives and liberals. In this one, the stigma, judgment and discrimination actually comes from both liberals and conservatives.

            But, did I lose your compassion as soon as I mentioned ADHD and bipolar? I pray that I didn’t.

    • Concerned

      Apparently you aren’t aware of how difficult it is on Single mothers, or the Ederly.

  • SB

    Thank you for your comment.

    I do want to say one thing though. I have been on both unemployment and on welfare. (Not my proudest moments). I can tell you that no sane person would want to stay on either of those. I’m finishing a second degree now and I’m worry about getting a job. I have anxiety attacks about having to go on disability or welfare, because my experience on it (in a very liberal state) was so horrible. I don’t know a single person who just coasts on it because they don’t want to work. The only people I have ever met who stayed on it long term were because they were trying to get disability due to difficulty working. No sane person would ever want to be on it, because the amount you get is LITERALLY not enough to live. When I was on welfare, I couldn’t afford to pay electricity, and food stamps don’t let you buy prepared food. I ended up starving and having to go to a soup kitchen.

    Believe me, its hell, no sane person can get comfortable on welfare or unemployment!

    • SB, It’s possible you haven’t been exposed to many of the people that do take advantage of the system. I can tell you there are PLENTY of people who live that way. It also depends on which state you live in. In some states the assistance is more generous than in others.

      I’m an immigrant myself, and I can tell you there are so many immigrants that come from where I came from, that see the U.S. as a place where they don’t have to work. They know how to game the system to live off the taxpayers. They may lie about who else lives in the house, so they can get their welfare payments.

      I understand this isn’t you, and that there are people who just need a little help, but please understand that this is actually something that happens more often than not. It’s insane the number of people that take advantage because they are lazy.

    • TheBigGuy

      When you call the number for government benefits when it lists it’s options the second choice is “To report someone of fraud press 2.” So yeah, fraud is a big problem. That’s why many are so against Democrat policies. They have the potential for widespread corruption.

  • SB

    This comment comes after the other one I wrote, just FYI.

    As I said in the other comment, no sane person would want to STAY on welfare.

    Originally I got on welfare because I got sick due a genetic condition that was outside of my control. It made me unable to work for a year. So I was on welfare for about a year, by which time I was able to work part time then later full time.

    But, when I first got on welfare I had to find a cheaper place to live. I had to live in the crummiest apartment and I was lucky to get even that, no landlord wanted someone on welfare. I looked and looked, but every landlord I called or talked to or place I saw, as soon as they heard I was on welfare they said “no”.

    Finally in desperation I stuck an ad up on craigslist asking for an apartment, explaining that I would be on welfare though and they have to be ok with that. Only one person called me. The apartment was relatively cheap, cheapest I could find. The landlord was a mean guys, the apartment was crummy….The apartment was a “studio” except not really. It was a large room in a house that the landlord had installed a bathroom in. I had a door to my bathroom, kind of…. but it wasn’t really a room in and of itself, the landlord had just erected walls inside so all the steam escaped from a hole in the top. Below me, I’m pretty sure, a drug dealer lived which was really creepy and freaked me out. But that was the only place that would accept me.

    In addition to welfare, I also got food stamps and never was short on that, but that can only be used for non-prepared food (no sandwiches at the grocery store counter, no soups that were pre-warmed.). After that, for EVERYTHING else, I believe I got around $400 which went entirely for rent, I never saw any of it. My rent took up that ENTIRE money and since no other place would accept me due to being on welfare, I had no choice but to live there. Yet, that $400 was supposed to be for rent, electricity (my heat was electric which was really stupid but its what my landlord had done with the apartment), toiletries, and any other odds an ends. But I had no money for any of that.

    I couldn’t afford things like cable, netflix, the internet (I walked to the library), let alone toilet paper or toothpaste (food stamps won’t pay for that). No clothes, no shoes, couldn’t even buy floss or a hair brush.

    So food pantries and friends for that. But the worst? Without electricity I couldn’t cook, couldn’t store food in the fridge, none of that. So to eat I had to go to soup kitchens. And that was scary as hell, because I have never seen such a concentration of drug addicts and gamblers in any one place.

    After a fight broke out in the soup kitchen, and I started to fear for my safety, I eventually caved and asked family for help to pay electricity. However maybe republicans call that “gaming” the system though technically since it was a “gift” I was legally ok.

    This is not an unusual situation. I have known other people on welfare as well, where similar things happen. One girl (on welfare because she was trying to get onto disability for bipolar disorder, and that can take up to a year, the process is so slow), to survive, she used to trade food stamps for necessities. Except, if you do that and get caught, you could lose food stamps for life. Another girl (who was on disability) lived with her grandmother, who was verbally abusive. When I suggested she leave she said she couldn’t afford to pay rent on it. Another guy I know, who couldn’t work because of some really bad heart condition, paid some dude $200 so he could sleep on the dudes couch. People do stuff like have babies and “game the system” because its a matter of survival.

    Only reason I was on welfare was because I got really sick as I said. It took me a year to get better, and after a year I was able to work part time with doctors ok. I thought, ok! Maybe I can afford to buy toothpaste and not have to ask for help from family for things like that. BUT, instead, every dollar I made was detracted from that $400. So I got a letter from my landlord, he had circled the decreased amount in red and asked”what happened?”. As if I was getting punished for working! I never saw any of the money I made, none of it. I was literally breaking even, it was horrible. However, I was still proud to have a job anyway so I kept it, but it was still very discouraging.

    Then a few months later, I felt ready to work full time. My job at the restaurant was about ready to turn me from a hostess to a waiter. I was so excited! Getting off of welfare would be wonderful! Until I found out, to my horror, that I would only be able to work 39 hours, and be unable to get a group health insurance plan. With a pre-existing condition, no private, individual health insurance would take me, and my new medications would have cost thousands out of pocket, per month! And without my medications, I’d be just as sick as I was a year ago. All the hard work I did to get myself healthier would have been for nothing if I took the waiter position! I was actually really really devastated, so looked around for a full time job with benefits. I found nothing.

    I eventually ended up going to college and getting health insurance through the college, it was the only thing I could do.

    I was also on unemployment when I lost my job a few years later. I got about $300 total, or around that, and that didn’t include health insurance, food stamps, or anything else. Just that amount. I had thousands of dollars in savings and ended up blowing through it. I have another friend (from college but we keep in touch on facebook). Guys is so smart, but he has a Ph.D in physics and literally nobody wants to hire him. Apparently the program he was in didn’t prepare him well for a job, because they didn’t teach him the software that he needs to know for a job in physics, and none of the dozens of jobs he applied to and interviewed for is willing to train him on the software. He has gone to dozens and dozens of interviews. He is also on medicaid because luckily he is in a liberal state that expanded medicaid under the ACA. But he can’t afford to learn the software he needs for a job, and he’s extremely depressed about not being able to get a job. He’s been looking for over a year. He’s got Crohns disease, with medications that cost $1000 month, and when Trump and the republican congress was elected, he said on facebook “I don’t think I’m going to make it the next four years, because I have Crohns disease and my medications are $1000 a month. Without the ACA I won’t be able to get the medications I need to survive”

    So please tell me how living on welfare on unemployment is something ANYONE in their right mind would WANT to do? Because I have terrible anxiety just thinking about being forced back onto it. I actually have a couple disabilities (the thing that put me on welfare for a year) and many people with the same disabilities that I have ARE on SSDI or SSI (disability income). From what I understand it is a bit more livable, but not by a lot!

    Most people I have known of (including myself) were on welfare because they were sick. Most people who have been on welfare for any length of time, (months…more than a year) were on it because they were trying to get onto disability. From what I hear, the process takes A LONG TIME to get on disability and a year or more is not unusual!

    Now I live in a red state. I met a guy at a party a couple years ago…he had really really bad seizures. Technically, he could work, but whenever he got seizures he would scare his employers and they would fire him. One job he described, he was able to get a job at a car wash. He had explained the seizures and explained that they were not frequent but when they were, they were really bad. They said that was ok, they would hire him. Thinks went well for a few weeks, until he had a very very bad seizure at work. They fired him. They said he couldn’t do the job. He tried to apply to disability afterwards, but he was denied. I think he was appealing (which is often what people do, from what I heard almost everyone is denied, sometimes more than once, before getting it, which is why it often takes a year or more. In liberal states, people sit on welfare while they wait for disability. Not sure what they do in red states.) Anyway, luckily this guy had a wife to help support him, otherwise he probably would literally be on the street.

    I want to ask you, The Silent Bull, how can people like me and all of the people I have mentioned get help from republicans? Because as I see it, the reason the people in my story have been so miserable is because republicans don’t want to help people who are sick or poor with government assistance.

    So, short of families supporting people (which not every family can do) what would you suggest, how can “people helping people” do anything for people who are so sick that they have trouble working?

    I really would like to know this answer not just politically. Because, whats going to happen to me if my illness gets so bad that I can’t work? What happens when all my family is gone? (I have a very very small family). How will I get the medication that costs me thousands of dollars, without government assistance? How will I eat, have a roof over my head? I can’t even get on welfare in this red state, unless I have a baby! And I REALLY don’t want to have a baby just to get on welfare! What do I do if like the guy who gets seizures, they won’t give me disability, because they are stricter here?

    My first hope is to avoid getting more sick, of course, by taking my medications regularly. But if I loose health insurance because the ACA (also called Obamacare) is being repealed, then what? My illness gets worse if I don’t take medication, which is one reason I suspect many people with what I have end up being on disability. They get denied health insurance, then don’t take their medications, then it gets worse, then all they can do is get on disability.

    I think, then, that in large part a good portion of people on welfare, at least those that I have known, were people that probably should have been on disability from the start. But because of lack of money for disability assistance, and because of the long wait it takes to get on it, many end up stuck on welfare. I talked to others about it, this is extremely common. Many of the people stuck in this situation do not have obvious physical disabilities, but instead have stuff like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and the medications they take don’t work well for them. (treatment resistance). So, many republicans, most likely, see a non-wheel chair bound, non-disfigured, non-blind person, and think they are gaming the system when they are not. Many people don’t even believe these illnesses are real, which doesn’t help at all because they are.

    So please tell me, first off, does what I describe about welfare sound desirable to you? Seriously? Second, what should people who can’t work due to sickness or disability do to survive, if they can’t rely on the government or their family? This goes both for the physically disabled and the mentally ill or mentally disabled Should their church support them entirely, and if so, how? What in all seriousness is the republican, non government assistance solution to this? I’m asking without any anger, or political opinionated attitudes…I just want to know what republicans would do to help the people I talked about in this comment. Please tell me?

  • SB

    I’m adding another comment here because, while writing on one below, I realized something super important and I want to make sure its addressed.

    The issue is this…. what do republicans and conservatives think should be done for the disabled? I’m talking primarily about those people who are disabled and for reasons outside of their control, are not able to work full time jobs, maybe not even part time jobs.

    The disability could be physical or psychological, but the truth is there are many many Americans who cannot fully support themselves financially because of their disability.

    Things like the Americans with disabilities act are supposed to protect Americans from discrimination in the work place, but the reality is that it doesn’t, because employers can make up any reason and as long as they invent a reason that doesn’t mention their disability, employers can fire people for having a disability, even if all that person needs is an accommodation that costs them nothing. I know this has happened to me, when I was stupid enough to tell my employer (overly trusting as I can be) or when my disability caused me some problems on the job that could have been solved with some understanding.

    So an even greater number of people with disabilities CAN work, but either face discrimination when asking for simple accommodations, or need accommodations that are too costly for the business.

    As I wrote in my other long comment, most people I have known who have been on welfare for a long time (months, years) were on it because they had a disability that meant they were getting constant discrimination even though they could do the job, or they were unable to work at all due to the disability.

    I do have a disability, and I fear having to go on disability assistance more than I fear death, because of my horrible experiences on welfare and also because of the horrible experiences of people I have known on welfare.

    I have thought of being self-employed so I won’t have to risk being discriminated against, but now that the ACA/Obamacare is being repealed, I’m not sure I have that option open to me, because my disability is very VERY medically expensive (think thousands of dollars a month out of pocket.)

    So my question is, what is the conservative, republican, solution to people with disabilities? I think “people helping people” through soup kitchens and other stuff like that is really great. But I don’t see how anything but government assistance can help people who are disabled who can’t keep a job due to a disability, or due to discrimination (I have seen discrimination happen A LOT. However the government doesn’t help much with this anyway).

    So I am curious to know what the republican solution to this would be? I am willing to bet, that a LARGE portion of people on welfare are actually dealing with disability or some type of discrimination that is real, but hard to prove but preventing them from keeping a job.

    What would a republican solution be if not government assistance?