Jon Armstrongpulls something out herethat I missed when this article originally made the rounds with all the quick and easy commentary that a) conservatives are inherently fact-free and b) as long as a white person’s getting it, it’s not REALLY welfare. That’s all in there, too, but honestly, lately I’m sitting here staring at my screen just waiting for something different to say because of course, and it’s all hateful, and I am having such a hard time with everything being hateful things we know all about already. I can’t tell you. And from this, it sounds like a lot of other people are, too:
Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.
They don’t want less help. They want to NEED less help, which means they want things to be easier. And they’re not wrong. I feel like this whole country just needs a goddamn nap. Like if we could just shut everything up for about 24 hours, let everybody get enough sleep and a sandwich, and then try this again. The economy, the unwinnable and clandestine wars, the presidential campaign, the health care fight, all of it. Gas prices, I mean, and how much a gallon of milk costs.
And this isn’t about technology or “the pace of life these days” or kids with their iPods or whatever. This about things that shouldn’t be fights being fights: Being paid fairly for the work you do, being able to buy food to feed your family, being able to see a doctor when you get sick, being able to take care of yourself when you’re old. Has anybody noticed that our culture, lately, is obsessed with the end of the world? I see where it’s coming from. Everybody is just so tired.
So what’s the answer? A lot of people are ready to burn the whole fucking place down and dance around the flames. If you say you’ve neve thought about it, you’re a liar to me or yourself and it doesn’t matte which. A lot of people are ready to tear the safety net down, take us back to some place they imagine that this shit was handled without them having to think about it, as if begging in the streets wasn’t something that in the timeline of the universe was the snap of two fingers ago. A lot of people would like to put a government in place with the express instruction to clap our national hands over our ears and yell LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
The trouble I think is the impulse to shame, to make “assistance” and “need” into things that give someone else the upper hand over you. We take that shame and we give it the power to stop us getting what we need, and we divorce “government” from “that thing we pay for with our taxes” and make each other the enemy that way. I’m just kind of thining out loud here. We’ve made compassion a weakness, and so anyone showing us compassion makes us weak or evil, and our own need just becomes one more burden to us.
One more thing to carry, when we’re already bent under the weight of the world as it is.