It seems to me that we have a pretty rotten opinion of humanity, so long as we are talking about the general. I don’t like poor people, except of course, for my maid. (If you’re rich.) I don’t like the rich, except for Richard Branson. (Because, let’s face it, Sir Branson is just cool.)
In arguments about universal healthcare, I’ve seen people sucking down sodas and smoking a cigarette talking about how they don’t want to pay for someone else’s bad health choices. The politicians want to eliminate welfare because they believe that someone accepting social assistance is going to mooch off of the system indefinitely, like it is only fear of starving that will convince some people to work.
Perhaps there’s a small portion of the population who will get a little help and coast. What do I know? Not that much.
However, I know a little more about welfare than I did a year ago. Unemployment insurance payments aren’t technically welfare, but let’s face it. I wasn’t going to work like good people do, and there was money coming in every two weeks from the state government. Kind of like welfare.
Not one soap opera did I watch while I was unemployed. What I did do was pay exorbitant prices for my meds. I also made stuff. I helped a couple of friends out with big personal projects. I wrote a lot. I wrote half of a book, published a short story, and published a 90,000 word book.
And the truth. The absolute truth, which no one wants to admit, is that I was more productive and added more value to the world around me as an unemployed person than I am sitting in an office formatting tables on a manual no one is ever going to read.
My father, my wonderfully flawed father, spent most of the last year eating government cheese. In that year he brokered a deal that, if I were at liberty to explain, would strike just about anyone as being a big step forward not just personally, but in the big picture too.
This fear that we all seem to be carrying around (and I have it too) that someone is always trying to take something from us; this defensive posture over our sovereign right to occupy the space we happen to be in at any given moment, no matter where we are… what would happen if we gave people the benefit of the doubt? Would we be proven wrong more often than we were proven right?