I am coming out of a very long blue mood which was brought on and reinforced by several situations in my life.
One big one which comes to mind is what we were doing a year ago around this time. We were going crazy trying to figure out where we were going to move, because we had till the end of July to get out of the other house. I do know it wasn't long after this time that we found the mobile homes for rent in this park, and two weeks into June we'd secured a lease on this place. It isn't the Taj Mahal but it's nice enough, and we have been blessed with a year that's a helluva lot more quiet than it has been in a long time.
That stuff echoes within you, especially if you're like us. We both experience PTSD for a variety of reasons, not the least being a secure and trouble-free place to live.
There are definitely times when I am sorry I gave up the house in Green Bay - simply because this is the first time I've had to rent since the 80s. All this time, I've lived in a house with my name on it, and in the case of the Green Bay house, one I inherited from my mother. Last year was the first time I actually had to rent in roughly 28 years.
And that time frame makes me aware of just how old I am, even though my mind doesn't feel that way - at least most of the time. Every so often, however, I am reminded of my age by something. Today was one of those days and it wasn't the fact that I'm renting again after so many years, it was because of an article on how the government is looking for ways to cut the food stamp program.
A lot of people aren't aware that enlisted personnel in the Armed Forces don't make very much money for the first, say, 0-3 stripes they earn. If they are in a combat zone, they do get combat pay, but for the average enlisted just starting out when I was in the Air Force, that wasn't the case.
I was reminded that during the time I was in basic training and for ahwile thereafter, we were on food stamps. I was owned by Uncle Sam but he couldn't pay me enough to ensure I had both housing and decent food. I went into the AF wearing two stripes because I had several years of college under my belt so that gives you a perspective. Last I heard the wages of someone just starting out have not been increased to make up for this obvious deficit.
Read that again. I was in the U.S. Air Force, with two stripes, and I had to get food stamps.
It disgusts me to see so many people commenting on articles like that who never had it so bad that their family required food stamps to make ends meet saying that they believed there was widespread corruption in how people use them. To this day, people will look on a checkout line of items being paid for by a food stamp recipient and mentally check off what they think the people don't deserve. They also have the damned nerve to bitch and complain if a little money is spent on the side for something like, say, beer. I bet quite a few of these kids cannot imagine having their party money so curtailed that if they want just a bit of enjoyment it has to be with cheap beer at home.
You can't buy alcohol or cigarettes with food stamps. You can't buy most junk food with food stamps, and you can barely make it by with something prepackaged that "resembles" something nutritious with food stamps.
We also had food stamps when I was a lot younger, when they were actual certificates similar to money. I still have a situation burned into my brain where my mother and I went to a grocery store and had people obviously raking over our purchases with their eyes and making little huffy noises. I wanted to turn to each and every one of them and tell them how lucky they were that their father hadn't walked out and left his wife and daughter with nothing to live on. I wanted to slap them and make them feel the shame their actions brought upon us, as though we were a spectator sport. Hell - I was made fun of in school for qualifying for free lunches!
Human beings are essentially very vicious little animals with their reptile brains still very much in control of their words and actions - especially at times when they can make fun of someone less fortunate to make them feel like their little bit of "stuff" makes them anymore important.
You damned right it makes me mad. I know how hard it is to get on ANY government assisted program. I know that it is not easy to cheat the system. I know these things from experience, so every time I see some snot-nosed little hipster whine about how I and people like me are spending "their" tax dollars, I want to smack them upside the head, then sit them down and tell them how many years I worked and paid taxes just like they did, till I couldn't work anymore because I got sick.
I'd like to see one of these sniveling idiots just have a look at the reams of paperwork you have to fill out to get on food stamps or any other program. I'd like to ask them if they think their parents or grandparents don't deserve the social security they are living off of. I want to ask them how much they are helping their elders to have a better life, or if they're the types that shove their old folks into homes so they don't have the responsibility of making sure they're alright.
I hate Randian philosophy with all my heart, and I especially hate how it has infected our culture as a whole.
I have been at the short end of the stick of too many people who somehow thought they were more entitled than I am, simply because of who they were born to, or what their circumstances were, that made it so they never knew need. I know a LOT of parents who are deep in the financial hole because they took out loans so their kids could have a college degree. I know just as many college students whose parents couldn't do that and had to go deep into the hole for their degree, just to come out of college and find out there weren't any jobs for them. In that case, my mother and I were lucky that we went to college in the very early 80s, because it wasn't long after that point that most government grants completely dried up. I believe we each had one student loan to pay off, and neither loan was the size of the loans that need to be taken out today, just to get a foot up in an economy that could give a flying shit.
Before you go shooting your mouth off about "entitlement" programs, do your homework. Dig into what makes the program what it is, what you have to do to qualify for it, and just how easy or hard it is to fake your way into it or somehow fake it so you can exploit it. I guarantee you will find out that it is NOT easy to fake getting in and it is NOT easy to scam, and that most people on whatever dole wished they could have a job that actually >gasp< supported their families.
I read an editorial today that laid it on the line. Here we are, in the United States, supposedly a Superpower who helps to protect a goodly share of the world and is supposed to be setting an example for "younger" countries - and we are talking about cutting off not a dozen, not a few hundred, hey not even a few thousand - but a few million children from programs which make sure they at least get something to fill their stomachs. Let's not even talk about how many very worthy people have already been dropped and lost in obscurity by this Superpower, this United States, the supposed "land of the free" where immigrants used to come to realize their dreams. Let's set the record straight: The United States is rapidly descending into the state of a third-world country, with millions unemployed, millions more underemployed who can't cover basic needs, and on top, an oligarchy which includes government, corporations, and banks skimming what little fat there is right off the top. We might as well have a dictator with a fancy uniform sitting in DC and directing the show. The more restless we become, the more we wake up and realize that 'hey this isn't right', the more they ramp up the Police State to "keep us in line". Sure sounds like Fascism to me.
Well...I didn't mean to go off on this tangent, but here it is...