Don’t get me wrong, there are times when a person truly needs a helping hand. While there are those who advocate community based food banks and assistance, during my year long odyssey, my eyes have been opened about a lot of things. I was once a huge supporter of community based food banks over food stamps. I am, no longer.
Due to financial reversals, The Pink Flamingo literally spent 2011 in financial hell. It was literally the worst year of my life. Things appear to be righting themselves, but, due to problems with a father with Alzheimer’s, about a year ago, I discovered that the financial situation with parents who should be quite well off, was on the brink of disaster. I don’t mind admitting there have been days when I’ve sunk into abject and utter despair.
Because of my parents, their age, and their health, there is no way I can even do a part-time job. I never know when I am going to make an emergency run to a hospital or a medivac. My source of a very decent income went up in flames during the summer. There were moments when I could not even think of how we were going to make it through the month, let alone until this year.
My sister and I have joined forces and have learned to work together. That’s the best thing that has happened this year. Things are still touch and go, but I am told they should right themselves in a couple weeks – I pray!
One day, having spent quite a bit of money on medication for the parents, while I was driving through town, I wondered what would happen if the worst happened. I realized, then, that community food banks are designed to humiliate those in need by well meaning people who don’t realize what they are doing.
What would happen if I were in that position, and we all could be at one time or another. I realized I would rather literally die from hunger than go begging to people in the community, and have everyone gossip about it.
I hear conservative talk show hosts discuss how it would be better for communities to assist a person, rather than impersonal food stamps. That’s a pile of crap, plain and simple. Try thinking about going, begging for help and see how you would feel. Having donated and worked with our local food bank in the past, I know how they operate.
No thank you.
I would rather suffer hunger than the humiliation.
Then I realized that for some conservatives, the whole idea is humiliation. It is about forcing the undeserving poor to see the error of their ways, to teach them how to fish, and they won’t go hungry. That is a pile of pandering blather designed to make other conservatives think that they are doing the right thing by making people responsible for their lives. Yes, there are people who need to be made responsible for their lives, but there are a heck of a lot of people out there who are struggling day in and day out, never allowing anyone to know how bad things are.
Do we need welfare reform? You are darn right we do. But – the way it is being done is not making it. It is like free meals in schools. This day and age more kids than ever are going hungry. Face reality. Times are tough. Inflation caused by high oil prices is robbing us blind. Single parents who are living right at the poverty level are paying nearly double for gas, and far more for food.
Face reality. Because of such high gas/oil prices, power bills have gone up (mine about 20%). Heating oil is horribly expensive. Seniors are going cold because they can’t afford four hundred bucks for a monthly tank of propane. Because of the cheap dollar, the price of Louis Vuitton goes up on a quarterly basis. Shoes I once paid $99 a pair for, are now $350.
I don’t know about you, but I am watching the very solid upper middle class life my parents once had (in 2008) slip away from them. This is the first time I’ve seen my mother opt not to turn on the heat during the day because of the price of propane. Things like this should not be happening in the US.
When I see things like the GOP in the House going after the “strip club loophole” when things are dire out here in the real world, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. We have a mess, and all they can do is pontificate things that look good and are going to save practically nothing.
As for Mitt Romney and his comment about the poor, it is much ado about nothing. Or – it would be much ado about nothing if Mitt Romney had not been born with a tone deaf platinum spoon in his mouth. It is all rather laughable. Anyone else could get away with the statement he made.
The only problem, The Pink Flamingo is NOT laughing.