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Please don’t take it personally. It’s not that you can’t have anything novel or insightful to say. It’s that in my experience, you probably don’t. I guess it’s a symptom of a culture in which it’s wrong to notice race, gender, sexual orientation, or any dimension other than “human.”

Let me explain. In my experience, on the tubes and in real life, people who complain about government aid have exactly one argument: the poor are lazy and giving them handouts causes them to be dependent. As someone with his head up his ass quite often, I sure love theorizing and speculation. But at some point in my growth as a class-conscious, heterophobic, feminist race-traitor (not my terms), I realized that social change relies on practical experience and practical solutions, not theory. If your vote affects someone’s well-being, it should be informed on something more substantial than speculation.

If you use the word “handouts,” it does your argument some credit to know specifically what those handouts are. For example, do you know how much money per day someone on SNAP assistance gets to spend? Do you know the qualifications for receiving unemployment benefits? Have you had any contact with someone receiving these handouts? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you really shouldn’t be saying anything, positive or negative, about welfare in the USA.

If you’ve lived your entire life in the comfy middle class, never going a single day worrying about food or shelter, if your going to college (and paying for it) was not in the slightest bit a negotiable or tentative plan, if you’ve never had to worry about gas money, if you’ve never had to keep track of your budget down to every penny, if you spend twice as much on lunch than someone with food stamps gets in a day, and if all your friends and the community you grew up in is exactly the same, any credibility you have on welfare issues is non-existent without some outside research. Barring that, your personal experience is too far removed from that of the lower-class to know anything of practical value.

So, if you want to tell me that the poor are lazy and entitled and dependent on handouts, and you’re going to vote accordingly, realize that you’re making a social decision affecting millions of people based entirely on your speculation about the lives of people about which you know absolutely nothing. W2G!

  1. ninestraycats posted this