With the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare recently, there have been a lot of comments about having to support people who don’t pull their own weight. Although the privilege in those comments is smothering, I’m mostly sickened by the assumptions people are making about people who receive public support.
As a teenager, my grandparents never taught my mom how to protect her eggs from the cute boy’s sperm. So, I was born. 1978. Mom 17, Dad 18. Not a good foundation for a relationship. That didn’t last. From the beginning of time, I remember my mom working at a local grocery store; Big Bear. Although she worked 40 hours a week, she didn’t make a lot of money. Luckily, my grandparents owned some land and were able to pull a trailer up in their adjacent lot so we had somewhere to live. As far as I knew, I never went without anything. That included food.
Although my grandparents would have never let me starve, part of the reason why my mom was able to feed me was because of food stamps. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember the strips of orange stamps in my mom’s purse and the page from the booklet with the orange stamps my mom would hand to the cashier. And those stamps helped pay for our food.
I was never hungry. And my mom wasn’t lazy. And she was kind to me. And she would say, “Kiss me and tell me you love me.” And I was mostly always clean and if I wasn’t it was my own fault. I did have some bad haircuts though and that was my mom’s fault because she cut it. She washed my clothes. I had clothes. And she would get me a cool birthday cake from Big Bear every year. One time with Cinderella’s carriage and horses. And I sometimes even got to get my pictures “professionally” taken with my cousin.
The point is that we used food stamps and we were mostly perfectly normal. Not trying to cheat the system. Not laying around smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, and watching TV all day. Not having more babies to get more support. Not letting men freeload off the support she got.
Just trying to make a living for the mistake that she made. And she always wanted more for me. And for her. She went to community college. I went to college, twice. But before we got there, we had to eat.
So when I hear your comments about these dirty, filthy freeloaders who should have to take drug tests before getting their aid, I realize you must not have ever been in my shoes. Or my mom’s. And then I feel bad for you because my mom is pretty remarkable. I think you might like being in her shoes.