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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Entitlements

I have a HUGE problem with entitlements, following four years residing in South Chicago. I know what I'm talking about. Anyone who takes this up against me had better spent a lot of similar time in the ghetto.

First of all, you should know that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have spent a lot of time visiting with and caring for other members. We have a lay clergy, with each member of the congregation being issued a calling by the bishop, inspired and directed by the Holy Spirt. I spent most of my time in Chicago in a leadership position for women, called Relief Society. This meant that I had shared stewardship, along with a few other leaders, over all of the women belonging to our congregation. Some of these were 'natives' of South Chicago, you might say. Others were there as students at the University of Chicago or as spouses of students, still others resided there for jobs but hadn't grown up there.

I got to know many of the black Chicago South Siders in our congregation very well. The neighborhoods they lived in, even family problems they had were eye-opening to me. I'm not black myself, and had been raised to be 'colorblind,' so I was blindsided at the racism and threats of violence against whites in certain poor black neighborhoods in South Chicago. I, or others, would visit there to help people in their neighborhood, for crying out loud!

These same people were the ones who would soak the government for all they could get: Medicaid/Medicare, Link cards, food stamps, Section 8, etc. There was more! Getting on disability for obesity or mental health or even social problems was common. There were people who would spend $500 of $600 Social Security immediately upon drugs or a new flatscreen on the first of the month. There were people who would eagerly pay for others' groceries at the end of the year so that they would be eligible to keep their food stamps. (As an aside, the amount of money given for food stamps DOUBLED our monthly grocery/household budget for a family of four in Chicago.) There were people who rushed down to New Orleans from Chicago to get in on the handouts when Katrina struck. There are people who won't open a bank account or put any earnings in a bank account because it would lessen the money received from the government. Talk about fraud! It was everywhere! It was encouraged and taught! I knew of a lady who got on Medicare early for a mental disability (I have my doubts that it was legitimate) who promptly blew all the tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursement for the waiting period on her thieves of sons, who promptly took everything and sold everything back for cash. Yup, your tax dollars at work. Girls were expected to get pregnant and get on Medicaid and other welfare programs to get money to live on. Many teens had had multiple children, leaving their aunts or mothers or cousins to raise them if you could call it that. This society of indolence fostered by a welfare state were ungrateful: they took all handouts as a right, a due, something owed them. The older generation is ashamed of it.

By the way, do not ever tell me you 'deserve' something, I hate that attitude. What do anyone of us deserve but a swift kick in the pants? It is only through Christ that we have the opportunity to be clean before God.

But back to the welfare state: it is ugly. It is full of ingrates, crime of all kinds, and hatred. If it was set up such that people had to work for what they got in some form, I believe some human dignity would be left them. As it is, it is a crying shame. Don't tell me that raising people this way and fostering these sorts of attitudes is compassionate: it's not. Empowerment on the other hand, would be compassionate. The change would have to come through education at this point, since the older, moral generation of African Americans aren't listened to by the kind on welfare. And education there is abysmal too, basically circles of gangs and crime all over again. And the sad part is, the ones who could really help, like teachers, are the last ones that the youth would turn to for advice about how to improve their lives. So it is a hopeless cycle with people in and out of jail and always depending on the government instead of themselves. A cycle of neighbor preying on neighbor, girls with children of hosts of different men, men who won't support them because the government will, men in and and out of jail for drugs and crime, with not much chance for anything better and if someone did happen to want out he or she wouldn't know how leave.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of African Americans who value education, who know how to work, teach their children morals, etc., but the welfare crowd is not on speaking terms with them, for the most part.

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