“Charity” by CJMellows on Flickr
On a recent post, “Politicians as Playground Bullies”, Lane from InMintCondition wrote:
“Well put! It’s petty politics like this that make me want to move out of the US of A. I’m more than happy to pay my fair share in taxes and I’m way under the $250k threshold. I got pissed recently when a family member tried to tell me all the ways to “trick” Uncle Sam so I can pay less taxes. Sigh.”
There’s an overwhelming, and alarming, rise of “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours, and you better keep your hands to yourself—or else.”
For instance, the current birth control issue.
The Institute of Medicine, an independent and non-profit organization, issued a report with several recommendations regarding women’s health and the new health care law. The most controversial recommendation?
Free contraceptives, sterilizations, and reproductive education for all.
This recommendation was based on these and other findings (quotes from the CNN article):
“A national survey found that an estimated 49% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended in 2001. And women who have unintended pregnancies are more likely to have little or no prenatal care, and engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking or experience domestic violence.”
Personal aside here: I work with the staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the largest hospital in my insanely huge and metropolitan county. I see, and hear, the effects of this on a daily basis. It is horrible what these infants suffer and heartbreaking how survival can often mean a shorter life filled with debilitating hardships.
But, that’s not all.
“Birth control can also help women space time between births. Short periods between pregnancies have been associated with increased risk of higher mortality for children under age 5, low birth weight, preterm births, stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal death.”
Again, something I am learning about thanks to my job. Rapid-fire births are dangerous!
Wait, there’s more.
“The direct medical cost of unintended pregnancy in the United States was estimated to be nearly $5 billion in 2002. The cost savings due to contraceptive use in that same year was estimated to be $19.3 billion.”
Hey, look at that! Money! I could’ve sworn I’d read somewhere we were looking to save money…
But then, well, then I read the comments. Comments like:
“I have absolutely no problem with birth control, abortions, etc. I do however have a problem paying for it out of my pocket. I feel it wrong for my personal dollars funding the mistakes made by women that cannot keep their legs closed. This article is not talking about women that are victims of rape. This is MY money being used for the education, medication, and late action when women make a decision to lay down with a man and then want someone else to deal with their problems. Sorry” – DaleNC
“Why should I pay for everyone else’s needs??” – vcz1928
“Sure why not. I feel good that my hard earn taxes goes to promote slutdome through out our country. I mean after all, being a skanke is a right that should be paid for by all. I think these people on this board needed to be aborted.” – momomiester
“that welfare garbage won’t use bc, they’re too uneducated to know any better. Free bc, free abortions, free anything is ignored by these leeches. Look how they won’t even use their free education.” – CNNdistorts
“its amazing the bull that comes out of washington, first off, most hispanic, middle easterners, and people from africa dont believe in birth control, so that basically leaves poor white trash, promiscouis teenagers, its not the insurance companies responsibility, all the will do is hike up the premiums i live in California our insurances cost us over $800 a month i had to cance my name from the policy just to bring it down to little over $500 gov should worry about other things… “ – soyo
I know when you sit and enter your comments, you’re typing into a little box. I know there’s no actual person sitting in front of you that you are speaking to. I get that this emboldens you.
This level of nastiness is uncalled for. And more than that, this level of self-interest is heartbreaking.
I can’t help but imagine the people who pinch their pockets and bemoan about how unfair it is for their money to provide services for other people (who apparently all happen to be moronic and degenerate) must never in their lives have gone through a tragedy. They must have never experienced the power of a community that surges together to help strangers the way those of us who lived in South Florida during August 1992 did when Hurricane Andrew shook us to the core.
The creatures the commentators refer to—whether they be “welfare garbage” or “poor white trash” or “hispanic, middle easterners, and people from Africa” or even (God bless them) “skankes” are, you know, people.
They’re Human Beings.
Why do we insist on stripping each other of this?
Humans have always been tribal creatures. We have survived and come so far because we have it in us to look out for each other.
Where have we gone wrong?
It seems we fear terms, labels, and catchphrases more than we trust our guts. We look more to others who are louder and flashier than to ourselves for guidance.
My grandparents and my parents were immigrants. They have worked so hard not just to meet our needs but to get us to levels above fundamentals.
My maternal grandfather worked about three to four different jobs at any given time. He also freely gave money to those who needed it.
He never refused anyone who came to his printing company looking for water and often took them to lunch too. His printing being in a rough part of Downtown, this was an almost daily practice.
He never raised the rent on the tenants of the properties he owned because he was concerned of the burden it would place on the elderly and the young families.
When he passed away, he did not leave my grandmother penniless or in debt. He left her just enough for her to continue living the life they’d lived together for 52 years. He successfully took care of his own and others.
My grandfather was an Atheist. He wasn’t doing this because a Church told him to. He wasn’t doing this because it’s what God would’ve wanted or because it’s what Jesus would do.
My grandfather didn’t do any of this because of any political belief or affiliation—he abandoned hope that a government would do the right thing when he abandoned Cuba and buried it when Kennedy abandoned the Bay of Pigs.
My grandfather was not upper-class and privileged. He was uneducated, dropping out of school in the sixth grade to support his family as his father swindled away any earnings by gambling and womanizing. He had to work hard so he, his five siblings, and his mother would not have to be evicted from house after house because the money had been thrown away.
My grandfather did the things he did without doubt or hesitation because he knew in his gut it was the right thing to do.
I do too.
I understand there is a lot of mistrust in our government being able to manage anything effectively. It’s an argument with a lot of convincing evidence.
However, hateful assumptions and stereotypical characterizations of the recipients of some of our government’s services are not evidence.
We all have access to at least some government services. We have access to postage services, police services, fire services, military services, disaster relief services, and educational services to name a few.
Arguing the quality of these is not the point. Arguing the extent to which they are used is also not the point.
They are paid for by us and are available to you should you choose to use them.
More importantly, they are paid for and available to you should something happen that strips away your choice to not use them.
No one becomes a success alone. It may feel lonely at times, but no one is truly alone on the path to success. Your success has a lot to do with you, yes. But, your success also has to do with others.
The opposite is also true.
No one becomes a failure alone. Your failures have a lot to do with you, yes. But your failure also has to do with others.
I place my vote of confidence in my fellow man and woman. I want to succeed. I want you to succeed. I want us to succeed.
I want to do whatever it takes, not to get this country back to basics because that implies a regression, but to elevate this country to its next stage—one of inclusion instead of exclusion. I wish you’d join me because then we’d have a much greater chance of succeeding together.