Thank You for Contemplative “Bummer” Stickers

You got your Bumper stickers and then you got your Bummer stickers.

I saw a “bummer” sticker yesterday; 

Make Welfare As Hard To Get As A Building Permit

It was on the back of a very expensive van that evidently belonged to a disgruntled building contractor. 

Stopped at the light, behind this vehicle carrying tools of mass construction, I was caught off guard.

I accidentally chuckled at the saying and then I was ashamed. Then I got mad at the guy’s evident oblivion to the plight of welfare recipients, then I got confused about work ethics, then…the light changed before I could get out and ask him all the questions that the bummer sticker stirred in my head.

In these difficult economic times, one never knows if they may be the next welfare recipient that is judged as having it easy

I have been, known, and worked with a contractor at various times.

I know the complications that can hold up a job for people that are trying to support families. I also know the greed that can encourage land consumption at the expense of a small town’s environmental balance.

I have been, known, and worked with welfare recipients at various times.

My Mother, an ill woman raising four children alone, received Aid to Families with Dependent Children  so we could have minimal shelter and not enough food.

I worked in Social Services for years and saw the good and bad of the welfare system.

Getting welfare is just as hard and time consuming as building another Condo in the heart of Old Town. And there is far more paper work involved than a single building permit, not to mention the social stigma, the endless invasion of privacy, and the catch 22 of trying to get back on one’s feet.

I can only hope for the contractor that his definition of ‘Hard” does not get any harder than waiting in his heated van with his lunch for a building permit.

I also hope for all of us, even those who have a good job for now, that we can acquire more education on poverty and the struggles of the disappearing middle class. 

And I hope we can develop a bit more empathy and compassion for each other without feeling like we are a victim while we are developing low income housing projects and expensive condominiums in the same parking lot.

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~ by leakelley on January 11, 2009.

4 Responses to “Thank You for Contemplative “Bummer” Stickers”

  1. It’s always so much more convenient to compare apples to oranges isn’t it? Because yeah, a building permit is *exactly* the same as the ability of individuals to have a roof over their heads or food on their table. Grrrr……

  2. All economies exclude some people; or, more to the point, exclude one or more classes of people.

    Humans share from birth to death. The sharing is extended to everyone, not just immediate family. Furthermore, & remarkably, a great variety of other species of creatures is included. Sharing is the definitive human trait. Regardless of any reason that might be given, such as one’s own destitution, persons who do not share are not fully human. State sponsored social welfare that excludes no one other than those who refuse or are too dilapidated to find their way to it is what truly human nations do.
    Here, for instance, is a photograph of one homeless man giving coins to another poverty-stricken man:

  3. That is always disturbing to me, when someone complains about the poor.
    Way too many people really think all of their taxes go to social services.

  4. Heavy stuff. You touched on it…getting welfare already IS harder than obtaining a building permit! It is a weird place to be low on dough. I have had few times in my life that I have had less monetarily than I do now… but the “oil jar” never quite runs dry… and we have loving family helping us through. I am so grateful. I know that the few times I have had any extra, I give it away. I feel in my bones what it feels like to wonder “what about next month?”
    Hope that wasn’t too far off the beaten path… 😉

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