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STFU dementor

lotuslion in polibock

Do Unto Others

Teaser: The problem here is selectivity. To Exasperated selectively holds single mothers accountable for their possibly ill-conceived conceptions. OBVIOUSLY, these women have no room to complain, because, unlike To Exasperated et al, they made mistakes! And mistakes should be punished! Thumbscrews for everyone!

What about corporations? What about airlines getting BILLION DOLLAR bailouts from the government because the companies made bad business decisions? What about banks? Remember the savings and loan scandals/debacles of the 80's and 90's? Anyone? Bueller? What about this godforsaken atrocity that is Iraq? (Oh yes, I went there.) Bush & Co. made HORRENDOUS mistakes with that one, and yet, oh, it's okay, have a cup of tea and some non-binding resolutions and all will be better in the morning - the taxpayers will get your bill.




As most of you probably know, I have a somewhat guilty pleasure in reading OnBalance - guilty pleasure in that the comments there generally enrage me to no end, and YET I KEEP READING. It's like a train wreck. Or, possibly, watching The 700 Club. Today's post from OnBalance gave me inspiration for today's Polibock post. Imagine! Blogs inspiring blogs! It's madness.

The post was a guest blog from a single mom who works full-time and receives childcare subsidies from Fairfax County/City of Herndon/Commonwealth of Virginia (it wasn't explicitly clear from whence the subsidies came), and the sheer amount of mean-spirited, nasty, cruel, selfish, utterly lacking in compassion, and hostile comments even had me dropping my jaw. These people acted as if this woman, whom they obviously had never met, had done them all a great personal wrong. Two comments especially got my goat. First, there was the defender, Exasperated:


What is wrong with some of you people? Why are you so mean in spirit, so callous in the face of suffering, so lacking in generosity to your fellow man (or woman)? Where is your sense of community? I WANT to live in a society in which we give generously to those who are down and out, to those who are struggling, to those who for whatever reason can't carry their own load. Don't you aspire to live in a society in which the rich take care of the poor, the healthy care for the sick, the strong take care of the weak? I believe that in every society there will be those who for whatever reason fall behind, and how we treat those people is a test of our morals and character as a country. Sure, we can say "tough luck, you get what you deserve" but I believe we should aspire to be better than that. So I will gladly shoulder another's burden if I can, because it is the right thing to do. Not just because I myself might need the help some day, not because the person I'm helping is "deserving" of my help, but just because extending a helping hand to another in need is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do. That is what I'm teaching my children; I shudder to think what some of you are teaching yours.


Exasperated strikes an important point, I believe, and one that I will come back to later. First, the rebuttal, from the clever nom de blog, To Exasperated:

Give me a break! What is wrong with expecting others to be responsible for their own actions and have a little self worth? What is wrong with asking others to think of their own actions when it affects everyone else in society? I think the problem isn't the rich looking after the poor- the problem is that middle class families are also taking care of the poor and struggling because of it! The problem is paying into a system in which one won't get retirement benefits when they need them down the line, The problem is neeidng to save $300/month from the time you're 25 in order to pay for said retirement! In your little Utopia, everyone should get hand outs and assistance- no questions asked. In my Utopia- people would actually think about what they're doing before popping out a few kids with a low life man and THEN pondering the consequences. Most single moms are not single because of death- they are single because they chose the wrong man to have sex with! It's very simple- you just don't want to admit it! If one does become a single mom through death, then, by all means, I'll give money straight from my pocket to help out, but not to the woman who couldn't bother keeping her pants on or buying a $10 box of condoms. (or getting some free at the clinic) You're in denial if you don't think people lack shame and judgment of their own character.


Hrm.

The problem here is selectivity. To Exasperated selectively holds single mothers accountable for their possibly ill-conceived conceptions. OBVIOUSLY, these women have no room to complain, because, unlike To Exasperated et al, they made mistakes! And mistakes should be punished! Thumbscrews for everyone!

What about corporations? What about airlines getting BILLION DOLLAR bailouts from the government because the companies made bad business decisions? What about banks? Remember the savings and loan scandals/debacles of the 80's and 90's? Anyone? Bueller? What about this godforsaken atrocity that is Iraq? (Oh yes, I went there.) Bush & Co. made HORRENDOUS mistakes with that one, and yet, oh, it's okay, have a cup of tea and some non-binding resolutions and all will be better in the morning - the taxpayers will get your bill.

To me, it smacks not only of classism but also sexism. You will notice it is ENTIRELY the mothers' faults for not using condoms, for choosing a lousy sexual partner, for having sex in the first place. The sperm-donor father apparently has no culpability whatsoever. If we're going to dabble in retrospective, useless, what-if scenarios, let's include all the key players, mmkay? I highly doubt those women tripped, fell on a penis, and magically became pregnant.

Now onto Exasperated's point. S/he isn't the first one that I've seen recently to make an argument along these lines. I read another commentor on another blog a while ago, a Canadian, who said she would rather have the flawed, slow, and sluggish Canadian socialized healthcare system than the American one, which is based on greed and profit from suffering. She said she would rather have a society in which members felt connected to each other, felt called upon to help one another.

American society is sorely missing this. We have become so selfish, so self-obsessed, and that everyone is entirely to blame for any shortcomings or mishaps that might occur - except ourselves, of course. We Rush Limbaughs, we Ted Haggards, we are never to blame - we made mistakes. But those other people? THUMBSCREWS.

Listen, kids. I'm not even Christian, but I remember being in Sunday school in a Baptist church in rural Oklahoma (I know, you're shuddering at the thought) and being taught that Jesus said, "Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me." Us secular folks might recognize a variation of this as the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Yes, with social programs, there will always be a freerider problem - people will always take advantage. It's human nature. But would you really punish those who are holding up their end of the bargain, who are struggling, who are doing the best they can, because a few others are asshats? Would you really want to find yourself, some unlucky day, down and out and unable to receive any support because, well, you know, only lazy bastards with $4000 stereo systems who don't want to work ever use those programs, so we deleted them?

Abe Lincoln - and more recently, Barack Obama - said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Imagine how the house would fare if the 2X4's refused to support the trusses, if the trusses threw off the shingles because, goddammit, those shingles JUST SIT THERE. A society that is responsible to each other is one that is better equipped to survive.



As a sort of related note, and something that's just been irritating me lately - the next person I hear bleating about MY TAXES MY TAXES OH MY GOD MY TAXES, you know what they're getting?

THUMBSCREWS.

Comments

"I highly doubt those women tripped, fell on a penis, and magically became pregnant."

That sentence? Funniest mental image I have had this year.