He penned an open letter bashing the government for reducing his food stamp aid. He lives in New York City, one of the most expensive places in the US to live. This article had me perplexed. When did it become the governments responsibility to manage your budget? In this case, he is certainly capable to work and presumably do some basic math.
Let me make it clear that I am not opposed to food stamps for those who are in need, they do have a history of successes. My concern is when it is permanent, and therefore a way of life, rather than a boost. Let’s face it, this system is abused along with many government programs. I was once in line behind a couple paying for a whole load of empty calorie junk food, steaks, boxes of processed food, ribs, and they paid for it all with their EBT card. Do I think it’s wise to eat poorly? No, I don’t, but that is not my primary concern.
What happened next was shocking to me.
The same couple that bought their feast of processed foods compliments of my tax dollars have a separate order which they had to check out separately. Because of this government program, they are now able to use their own cash to buy a full of cartons of cigarettes, Vodka, Brandy, and cases of beer. The total was nearly the same, for things which they do not need. I’ve actually seen this happen many times now and I’m disgusted each time. The first time I saw that happen, my husband and I we’re living on very little. Right about the poverty line in fact. I cut coupons and balanced a budget in order to feed my family. During these times, I got resourceful and started brainstorming different ways to feed my family. We could have easily put our hand out to have the government fill it, but instead we decided to “learn how to fish.” We managed to improve our situation because we didn’t have a choice.
How can we change this “gimme, gimme” nation that we are living in? Seriously, I want to know. It’s not just the poor either. We have a healthcare system that is focused on people NOT taking charge of their own health. We have an education system that is based on people not taking charge of their children’s education, and depending on government involvement for college education, and we are crying out to the government to change the way college loans work because they are just “not fair”. We have a political and religious system where people depend on a formal leader to hand them policies, jobs, doctrine and more.
How do we empower people to build their own community, and bear their own fruit instead of being a barnacle on the side of a boat? I want better for my kids. I want my kids to see a need and figure out a way not just to meet that need but find a way to teach people how to meet that need for themselves. Handing out free money and food only meets a temporary need. I’m all for it, but it’s not sustainable by itself. Our nation needs something that can last and be sustainable because handouts aren’t.
“If you give a man a fish he eats for a day. If you teach him to fish he eats for a lifetime“
We talk about how “America is the greatest country in the world“, yet we refuse to educate ourselves. We expect someone else to educate us, pay for our school, give us a better job than we deserve, and even then it’s still not enough. We consume and complain. Our appetite for more can not be quenched and it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s our parents fault for making us feel like we are the best at everything by giving us trophies when we didn’t deserve them. Maybe it’s their fault for messing us up emotionally. It’s the school’s fault for not doing enough. It’s our governments fault that we can’t keep up with this “American dream” and the loans that come with it. We can’t possibly be to blame! We don’t want the responsibility for our actions. We have created our huge government when we should have been creating communities instead. I am frustrated by our nations lack of wanting local communities, invested in each other, because they would rather talk about income inequality, and putting bandaids on the problem instead of teaching the poor. When do we realize that the power to succeed is in each of us?
Think about our food supply as an example. We’ve forgotten where our food comes from. We think it comes from a store, when in fact it really comes from the dirt. If you live in a house, with a yard or even an apartment with windows or a balcony you can produce food for yourself. Did you know that? Perhaps you start small by planting herbs or a tomato plant but it can easily grow into something great that can benefit you and your family. Maybe you can talk to your neighbors about sharing what you grow. Maybe you have a friend with a yard if you don’t. You can also look up your local farmers and see what kind of bartering you can do to help one another out. These are small ways to begin a movement where we grow away from our dependency on our government institution to solve all the problems and start to depend on ourselves, our friends, and our community (by the people, for the people). Doing this requires action and time, but feeding ourselves is time well spent.
Often I drive by huge church properties where they mow acres of lawn in hopes that one day they will build a new, bigger building, when they could be planting gardens and feeding their local families. The reason that so many not for profits exist is because the church is failing at taking care of needs in the communities. They are building enormous multi-million dollar buildings while begging their attenders for more and more donations with nothing in return but bigger buildings with all kinds of classes. I’m disgusted at our willingness to complain about our churches lack of space when they should be concerned about their lack of service to others.
We’ve designed our homes to drive into with the push of a button from our car so that we don’t have to see our neighbors, and deal with the weather. We’ve removed front porches and added tall fences in order to preserve our own lives when we should be sitting on our porches and watching our children play with other children. We should be sharing our lives with people instead of hiding from them. Maybe I’m an old soul and long for a simpler time but I choose to believe that this is the perfect opportunity to turn back the time and create something beautiful like a sustainable life for me, my family, and for others. Will you join me in creating a community? If so start the discussion here and then let’s take action.