I’m like a chameleon. I blend.
This is because I have lived on both sides of the fence. My dad’s side of the family is pretty well off. My mom’s side of the family has come from nothing financially. I have lived in some rough places. I have lived in some nice places.
I can fit in well with almost any group.
One thing I can tell you is that neither group is better than the other. They are different, but the same. Both have had struggles and neither is perfect.
One thing in particular that I have begun to get fed up with is people passing judgments on others who they know nothing about. Social media fuels the fire. It’s so easy to click “like” and not think about the message you are conveying or the people you are hurting.
So, what do food stamps and cable TV have in common?
Answer: Pretentious assholes who like to make assumptions.
A Day in the Life
Let’s take a look at a day in the life of a single mother who makes minimum wage. This single moms name is Sherry. Sherry got pregnant when she was eighteen years old. The father of the child, who once promised Sherry the world, abandoned her after the birth of their son. Sherry does not receive any child support and she does not get any financial help from her family.
Sherry fends for herself. She works her ass off, taking as many hours as she can possibly get. She makes $7.85 an hour.
Sherry is enrolled in her local community college. She knows that it will be a long time before she gets her degree but she squeezes classes in every chance she gets.
Sherry works an eight hour day at a shitty job, takes a class at the local college, and then comes home and cares for her son. There are days when Sherry feels like she is trapped and will never get her head above water.
(**The Facebook post above is from a 19 year old boy who comes from a wealthy family and will NEVER know what it’s like to need government assistance. This is just one of the many posts I’ve seen from people who have no clue and never will. )
The food stamps, Medicaid, and child care that Sherry receives through government assistance programs allow her to stretch her check far enough to pay for basic necessities. These benefits give her hope that she can dig her way out.
Sherry has one small frill in her life, a $30/month Cable TV package. After Sherry gets her son to bed she turns on her favorite TV show and takes a small break from reality. This is the only break she gets.
Should Sherry be denied government benefits because she has Cable TV?
Let’s Talk Addiction
Have any of you ever grown up or been around addicts? I have my entire life.
You know what I can tell you about an addict? They don’t like being addicted. Their life plan wasn’t to become an alcoholic, crack addict, meth user, whatever.
I want to tell you a story (real life here) about Ron. Ron is about 45 years old, he is married, and has two teenage kids. Ron works for the city. His wife has never had a job outside of the household.
Ron and his family live in a dilapidated trailer parked in the backyard of his parent’s house. While Ron makes more than minimum wage it is still barely enough to cover the bills and the childrens needs.
Ron gets food stamps. His kids eat.
Ron is a severe alcoholic. Drinking started out as a way for him to take a mini escape from his life. It is now such a strong addiction that if he goes a day without drinking he will have a seizure.
Everyday after work Ron stops at the local gas station and buys 4 – 40 oz. King Cobras. He consumes every last drop.
Ron doesn’t want to be an alcoholic. He gets drunk and thinks of how bad he has made life for his family. He wishes things weren’t like they are but he is so far gone he doesn’t even know where to begin.
Should Ron’s family starve because he is an alcoholic?
Now Let’s Talk Assumptions
There are people who abuse the system. There are also people who can’t imagine life any different – the system is all they know. There are people who have temporary setbacks and benefits give them the boost they need to get back on their feet. There are thousands of kids involved.
You and I know that if we put our mind to something we can do it – absolutely anything in the world. This mentality is not something that everyone has.
No matter the reason, it is completely unfair to stereotype a group of individuals who you know nothing about. A person on food stamps is no less of a person than someone who isn’t on food stamps.
For those who feel like the government is taking your money to give someone else a free ride, I got news for you, even if there was no welfare the government would still be taking your money. Get over it.
For all of you who are so quick to judge, I am dying to know, What Makes You So Perfect?
The next time you click “like” take a minute to think about what you are choosing to represent.
IF YOU AGREE WITH ME PLEASE “LIKE”!
I totally get experiencing the judgment I(I have at one point or another in the last 5 years, received WIC, food stamps, and Medicaid). I don’t understand why people do it either. thank you for this post.
Thank you for your comment. I debated on whether or not to post this article I am glad that a few people can see where I am coming from.
A friend of mine is on medicaid in Wisconsin. She has very little money. Where would she go to get both cable and internet free? Thanks a bunch!
Thanks for this post! I worked with individuals that pasted judgement on the ones that receive government assistance. I have lost relationships after hearing them talking about the girl in the grocery line with a food stamp card and iPhone. What people forget to realize is that persons has a story and most likely they could live a day in their life !
I know, it’s crazy how people are so quick to judge someone they don’t know. Or act like you are a low life because you have food stamps or medicaid. It’s ridiculous.
My husband and I were married for 5 years before our first child came along. 3 years later , while I was pregnant with our second child, my husband left me for a woman that he had been sleeping with for 2 years. We divorced and I got custody of the kids and he was supposed to give us $500 a month for child support – for 2 kids. He moved in with his girlfriend, who had just inherited a large sum of money. Neither of them had to work so after a few payments of a couple hundred dollars, he stopped paying. He had no wages to attach so the bill just keeps accumulating. Last time I asked, he owed about $75,000 in child support. $500 adds up over 13 years. I had a newborn and a 3 year old. I worked, but child care for infants is pretty pricey. We struggled through for about 10 years. Then the economy tanked and I was laid off. The kids are older now so I don’t have to worry about child care, but working 2 minimum wage jobs wasn’t quite enough to get us through, so I applied for food stamps and now at least I don’t have to worry about eating. I think that food stamps should be subsidized by all the dead beat dads that neglect their responsibilities. If we had had that extra money we might have made it without food stamps. I don’t think people should be judged by others, until they have tried to live our lives.
Exactly. It is so unfair that people want to stereotype others for getting assistance when they don’t know the first thing about their lives and probably couldn’t make it a week working two jobs and scraping by.
I agree with you. The dead beats should have to pay for it. But people need to realize that everybody does not abuse the system. People who get benefits are no less of a person for getting them. It would be nice if people could show respect for those who are in rough situations instead of putting them down.
[email protected] says
I see where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, some people abuse the system and ruin it for everyone else. Sherry, in your story, sounds like she is working hard and doing everything right. That doesn’t bother me at all.
I have a friend from high school who has been on every type of government assistance and actually has an almost $200 satellite tv bill while she receives housing assistance, food stamps, etc. She has actually tried to sell me her food stamps at a discount for cash on several occasions because she said they give her more than she can spend. As someone who has worked extremely hard for many years for everything that I have, that whole situation makes me mad.
But, like you said, I don’t mind giving people a hand-up. There are a lot of people who use benefits temporarily to be able to move on to a better place in life. That is what those benefits are there for. I also don’t mind food stamps buying pet food- I hate the thoughts of pet starving because their owners are having a rough time.
I know exactly what you mean about blending with both sides! That’s me….I have been on assistance as a single mom several years ago. Now as a self-employed hairstylist (married now) and back on my feet, I no longer need food stamps, Medicaid and daycare assistance. And while I can hold my own with my wealthy clients and my kids’ friends’s weathy parents, I also dont feel that far away from the broke me! In the salon, though, I often see clients who have no shame about being on disability, food stamps, etc. while getting their $100 hi lights every 4 weeks. But yesterday, one of my very favorite clients was in…she has 7 kids-her and her husband Foster and adopt. Great people who work very hard, and she can only afford to get her hair cut about 3 times a year. She was saying how she went online just to see how much in food stamps they would qualify for….$800! But they didn’t. I asked why not and she said because they are getting by and sacrifice other things in order to buy groceries. Now THEY are the people I wish would get them!
Trina Brooks says
I am forever grateful for the government assistance I received. If I hadn’t received day care subsidy I would not have been able to afford child care, therefore I would not have been able to go back to school. I would not have been able to get a job. I would have been stuck at home on welfare indefinitely. Thanks to the help I got an education, a job and now pay taxes, purchase things in my community and am now giving back. Hopefully my taxes go towards someone else who finds themself in a position they never expected but need a little help.
lyle @ the Joy of Simple says
“For those who feel like the government is taking your money to give someone else a free ride, I got news for you, even if there was no welfare the government would still be taking your money. Get used to it.”
OMG!!! That is SO well said!!
Like you, I have lived on both sides of the fence and have been literally inches away from becoming homeless. Thanks to the huge generosity of a friend, I never hit the street but the reality is that many are inches away as well!!
I learned long ago to never assume and never judge unless I knew the complete story…and even then, I wouldn’t judge.
I hope that Sherry is doing better these days 🙂
Take care Alexa and thanks for this post! All the best.
I know no story is ever really told.
However, I know many people on food stamps and other assistance that have 52″ plasma screens, the big cable package, gym memberships and new tatoos.
Public assistance is a way of life and a large percentage of the recipients are unwilling to change there lives in a responsible manner and they feel that it’s someone else’s responsibility to provide for them and there children.
I’m not talking about this single mom you are illistrating. I’m talking about the majority of people that I personally know who thrive on the government and abuse the system and only want to know what they are going to get next.
I don’t have cable, it’s not beneficial and I can’t afford it.
My life is about working to pay child support.
It’s all about priorities.
If feeding your children is a priority then it will be more important than cable, manicures, the tanning bed, car wax and red bull. Period.
I would have to agree with this individual !! It is VERY frustrating for me being a single Mom and attempting to get help only to be told I make to much, even though I can barely keep my bills covered paycheck to paycheck and working in a State Job where individual have actually stood and told me to my face that I PAY for their phone and tires for their car. I get labeled as well because of working a State job I must be rolling in the money, when what they don’t know is until this year there had been a freeze on income for 6 years prior, which was a product of me losing my home that I had worked hard to buy causing me to have to file bankruptcy.. now they have given us just enough more to be above poverty level which means, you can’t get assistance but you can barely get by either. I have NO PROBLEM with people getting assistance that need it and I am COMPLETELY for it because that is what it is ACTUALLY there for, but I have a big problem with people abusing the system when I am struggling to keep my head above water but I agree about stereotype totally .. I don’t think ANYONE should judge until you have walked in that individuals shoes, along with the individuals that work that rear off !!
I completely agree with you! You can’t judge someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. Some people definitely take advantage but that doesn’t mean everyone does. And you are in such a rough place, I really do feel for you. I know what that’s like – to be right above the poverty line.
stefani joi says
i have lived on both sides as well. and i would not deny anyone some sort of recreation or relief from the day to day struggles of life. but i have a problem with a person who receives food stamps, eats at the local buffet or fast food 2-3 times a week and who keeps a $200 cable bill… and ends up at the pawn shop to give her kids food at the end of her stamps??? and then complains that she can’t afford the copay on her meds (it’s under $20)… basic cable, sure!! but if you can’t afford to feed your kids you don’t have every premium channel out there. priorities are a little bit skewed.
I definitely understand where you’re coming from! I have people fairly close to me that are similar and in my opinion should not be receiving help. That’s what I hate. I think when a few people mix up their priorities that everyone wants to say that’s how the whole system works. Which I’m sure you know isn’t true 🙂
Sara Brandon says
A break from reality? That is ridiculous. I come from a family that has been barley making because we are being taxed so much so people like Sherry can have a break from reality. The truth is my family can not afford cable. Yet we do not qualify for government help because we barely make too much. And we’re working our asses off. Go to the library and check out free DVDs. How about watching regular TV. Or read a book.