August 14, 2012

Judgement, Judgement Everywhere





This is a little bit of a rant, so if you choose to walk away, I will understand.

All over Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs......people are ranting about the abuse of Food Stamps (EBT, SNAP, whatever else your state calls them).  They range from mild disgust, to outrageous hate.  I understand, in this economy, and with our government spending tax payer money like it is monopoly money, why people are up in arms.  And recently the Obama Administration was trying to get more people to sign up...like it is a prize or something.

The rant on my part, which has been brewing in my brain for weeks, is this...........DO NOT JUDGE UNTIL YOU WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES.  Yes, there are abuses.  But for every one person who abuses the system, there are 50 who don't.  Stop lumping us in to one category, just because we are swallowing our pride and asking for help.  It doesn't help our self esteem one bit, and it makes you look like an ass.

A gentleman I don't know, posted a photo of a woman at a local grocery store in NH, on Facebook this afternoon.  He took the photo himself without her permission.  He was outraged that she used an EBT card, but was driving a very fancy SUV from Massachusetts.  He also assumed that she is on vacation at a campground (I can only assume he followed her? Otherwise how would he know this).

Let me give you another scenario: 

-She is living at the campground because, after 20 years at her job, she was let go.  The company folded.  She has over 200 applications out to various businesses, including for jobs like burger flipping at McDonald's.  Nothing.

-She has 2 or 3 kids that need to eat.  They also need to be able to go to the doctors when they are sick.

-The newer SUV she was driving was actually her parents, who drove up to check on her, since she no longer has a phone, so they can't call.  She hadn't been able to get to the store because her car broke down weeks ago, so she borrowed their car so she could get some food.

Among some other assumptions I see.....you have a tattoo so you must be abusing the system.  I personally got my tattoo while I was not on assistance, and paid for it myself.  I will not be removing it in this lifetime, no matter how much it offends you.

You have a smart phone, so you must be abusing the system.  You can now get smart phones for prepaid phone plans like Straight Talk for only $45 per month.  So that is no indication of anything....would you rather they use the Safelink, the taxpayer funded free phone?  Me personally....I have a smart phone that is costing me way too much per month.  I got it when I was still at my job and not receiving assistance of any kind, to help build my credit score back up.  I wasn't planning on getting hurt, or having to go back on assistance.  But the carrier doesn't care, my contract doesn't run out until May of next year, and unless you are willing to pay the $300 penalty for early termination, I will not be getting rid of my phone just to please you.  It is also my only phone, I do not have a house phone.

My point is this:  I worked since I was 14 years old, and more years than I care to count, as a single mother.  I paid into the system just like you................DO NOT JUDGE.  But for the grace of G-d go I..............

Ok, rant over :)


9 comments:

  1. You're so right. There are always two sides to every story and to make assumptions is not only foolish but cruel. Sadly, we seem to have lost our ability to have basic compassion for our fellow man . . . which is a sad, sad state.

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    1. Thank you Mama Pea...it makes my blood boil when I see these types of posts.

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  2. Bravo Stephine, You hit it spot on. My family and I are on F.S. I have to feed them. Of 6 who can work, only one is, my oldest. Me still waiting for my disability to be approved. My wife, oldest daughter, and two youngest sons can not find work. Why you ask?? So many companies here in Orlando now want you to speak SPANISH besides ENGLISH. This is no B.S. Unemployment is still near 10% here, no matter what D.C. says.

    Don't get me started on the Cell phones. We had one, stopped paying to save $50 a month. The "free" cell phones is another boil on my backside. We have been trying for over a month to get one. They keep losing our paper work. I told my wife, hell they can't fill the requests fast enough. If everyone has a "free" cell phone, who is paying the bill then.??

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    1. Not sure how it is in FL Rob, but have you tried applying online for the phone? I know in NH the Safelink program is online, then you wouldn't have to worry about them and the paperwork.

      I just don't get people, and this sudden need to tear people apart. We are becoming a nation of hateful people.

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    2. It finally came today. We called them yesterday and they still had no idea if we had even applied. The company must be run by a Liberal. :)

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    3. Oh I am glad to hear it Rob...and LOL

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  3. My family also is on SNAP after years and years of paying into the system. My husband's last day of work was in June. Jobs are hard to find so my husband is going to work as a truck driver so he can be his own boss. Our savings paid for the truck and a little over a months worth of bills, but there's none of it left now. We have 3 kids, one with special needs. And last week I applied for food stamps. We were to the point of mommy and daddy being on a diet of oatmeal and beans so the kids could still eat a bit more. There wasn't much choice--we had to go apply.

    I understand there are people who abuse the system and that frustrates me too. But I was looking around the waiting room while I was waiting for my number to be called and really looked at the people around me. One man was frustrated because waiting more than two hours was in danger of making him late for work. There was a lady who was obviously taking care of her elderly relative. And there was a young mom who was obviously embarrassed to be there. She had really nice clothes on but it really seemed to me they were a part of a small wardrobe because they were getting quite worn. Her little boy was adorable and well cared for, not at all the "filthy, welfare child" look people assume they will find in those type of offices. It came as quite a shock to me that everyone seemed like me--like they'd fallen on hard times, not like they live on welfare for a lifetime and love nothing more than to milk the system.

    I am considering leaving Facebook altogether because of the posts by family and friends alike. Everyone is so hateful. I think I thought the world was a much better place before Facebook. My mom and grandfather are the worst, and they don't even realize it's their own family they're talking about. It's hurtful to me because we're hard workers and we're doing everything we can to pull ourselves onto solid footing again. And, even though they're not talking to me, or about me, specifically it makes me feel unloved and bad about myself. I hate that. What is the world coming too when families don't keep in touch enough to know what's going on with each other, yet they plaster mean and hateful things all over their walls?

    We're locked into our cell phone contract too. Our shut off fees would be $300 each phone. We can't do $600 right now so we just hang on as best we can. We don't have a home phone. We don't have cable. We don't eat out at restaurants. We visit the zoo on dollar days (and can't even do that at the moment) and spend our free time with the kids at the park because it's free. We home school our kids but you'd be amazed at how much the local library is going to pull our "book weight" this year. My big frustration right now is we need paper and pencils to be able to start and I just don't have any cash right now to do it. My husband's off pulling a 14 hour day, but I'm at home trying to Craigslist some things to buy pencils.

    In a few months we likely won't be on the system anymore, but I won't forget the experience. Society would be a much better place if people started showing some compassion to others. Being hateful and judging gets us nowhere.

    Love the rant. It's not many people standing up for those of us who are getting "squeezed" financially.

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    1. Mandy, thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know what your particular situation is. People are just oblivious. I am sorry you have to feel that from your own family. I will be keeping you and your family in prayers.

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    2. Appreciate the prayers. People really don't have a clue.

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