Am I Just Too Compassionate?

welfare-state

Happy Friday the 13th; I know it’s been a while since I posted and I can attribute that to the constant circus that is six children and college. Between the snow days and the reading, this semester is killing me, by the way.

Worry not, I am here, writing, about nothing in particular so that all two of you out there who read my blog will have something new to laugh about.

The only thing I really have to write about is the new law that states are now adopting which requires individuals who receive welfare to undergo mandatory drug testing. I have always considered myself to be somewhat conservative and I know that typically  I focus on humor and not politics; however, I must say that as a person who has been employed since the age of 15 years old, I find those who commit welfare fraud to be deplorable.

With that said, as a former welfare recipient who was not a drug user, I am not quite sure how I feel about this law. My biggest problem with this, aside from the fact that it endorses a blanket assumption that everyone on welfare must also be doing drugs, is that with all the welfare fraud that is committed already and the high case to social worker ratio, I am wondering how adding another mandate will be enforced.

Perhaps I am too compassionate, but I think about people with drug addictions, particularly those who I met when my children and I were homeless after escaping my abusive ex-husband. I am not justifying their addictions, but many of these women were suffering emotional and physical trauma from being abused that, in many cases, proved worse than mine. I was fortunate that I was able to have a bit of financial support and access to better resources than many of these women.

I am not sure that taking resources away from welfare recipients who may have a drug addiction is the best option; rather, I would contend that mandating that they enter into counseling and are provided with extensive resources could prove a better option.

I feel like these laws simply mask the symptoms; it does not look to solve the core problem: if we advocate that people who receive welfare must take drug tests, then we must also believe that a significant amount of welfare recipients have drug addictions. Taking away their welfare is not going to get them off of drugs; for most people, addiction is a disease, in many cases it is not a practice that a person wants to continue.

In short, everybody has his or her own ‘rock-bottom’ and for the lucky few it might be a matter of running out of hairspray or being late for work. For some, it is physical, emotional, mental abuse, it is drug abuse, or addiction. If drug addiction is a significant problem, then we should also be looking to the systemic issues that made the ahddict feel as though he or she had no other avenues.

I know I will receive a lot of backlash if more than two or three folks read this. I also understand that people work very hard for their money and that it is their tax dollars being used for welfare and that these people find it incredulous that drug addicts are getting federal benefits. I get that; but I also see a lack of compassion, a disregard for the life circumstances that would lead a person to make detrimental choices in life. I dislike the assumption that those who receive welfare do not work, I worked and received benefits and I know many people who do work and receive welfare.

I just decided to write this because when I try to find material to write about, I begin scrolling on Facebook and some of the most interesting things are not the articles but the comments. Lately, I have been very discouraged at some of the remarks and the lack of intolerance and empathy. It has pretty much made me stop using Facebook because I cannot understand how one person has the right to harshly judge another when he or she has never and can never be in their shoes.

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4 Comments
  1. You write this from a very unique perspective which I respect. As you said so well, we do have a tendency to judge without understanding the life experiences of others. This would typically fall into that category. Welfare is a lifeblood for many worthy recipients but it’s no secret the system is burdened with fraud. I think this law is hoping to eliminate those issues and the monies going towards drugs that should be used to take care of essentials. Maybe they’re hoping that those using these funds for drugs will seek help but anyone who has ever used would probably tell you that’s not how getting clean works. There is never a simple answer to a complex problem. Hopefully whatever they decide is in the best interest of everyone involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • George, I was trying to reply and I accidently ‘trashed’ your comment. I believe that I have recovered it. I completely agree with you, which is why I am so torn. On one hand, I believe that welfare fraud is rampant and I am disgusted by that fact as it keeps those who are deserving from receiving it. On the other hand, I have never been a drug addict but I can only imagine that many who are, do not necessarily wish to be so. You hit the nail on the head that whatever the case may be, hopefully it will work to benefit all.

      Like

  2. Erin, I think one of the problems of any program that is there to help those who are less fortunate is that there are always those who will take advantage of it. But the same holds true with most things……insurance scams, social media, credit cards, etc. There’s always a segment of the population that makes it bad for those who need something or will make life easier for most. Hopefully, smarter minds than ours will come up with a plan that makes sense. Here’s hoping….😊

    Liked by 2 people

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