Imagine a poor single mother with three kids. Times are hard; jobs are scarce. Where is she supposed to go to feed her family? She has exhausted all available options, and turns to welfare. One day, while searching for a job, driving down the road in a car she had to borrow for the day, she sees this bumper sticker on a truck. Shame and anger grip her. “He doesn’t know me. Why do Republicans hate me? I gave birth to my kids. They should be happy with that! I didn’t have an abortion! But then they try to shame me when bad times hit. What am I doing wrong? What’s their solution to my problem? I want to be self-sufficient, but the economy sucks. I’d love to start a business, but I have no money. I would love to have a job, but there are none. I’m trying. What are my choices? You think I like handouts? You tell me, what I am supposed to do? I have to vote for the safety net.”
This story is a reality for far too many people these days. The details may vary, but the reaction to this type of message remains constant. It’s not a surprise that our movement has such a hard time trying to appeal to the “47%” when sentiments like the bumper sticker are what we broadcast; blaming the poor for problems brought about by outdated, three-quarters of a century old, one-size-fits-all programs.
I wish the New Deal had never been passed. But it was. And it’s still damaging people today.
Good people who take temporary shelter with welfare, and then get trapped because the jobs they are most qualified for pay less than the government benefits. As Fishie says, they are making an economic decision that is the best for them, given their limited options. They can’t be shamed out of receiving welfare. They already believe that we think they are worthless for being on public assistance, though they see no other choice. The message of the bumper-sticker only reinforces that belief. As do the Democrats.
But the Democrats do more than reinforce it, they magnify it.
To us, it says ”We don’t want to be forced to spend our money on programs we know aren’t working, and that furthermore are hurting people.” However, that’s not what voters who actually depend on welfare see on the back of that vehicle. The Democrats tell them what the bumper sticker is “really” about: “See how they mock you? They won’t help you. They hate you.” Instead of champions of freedom, we are portrayed as evil oppressors. We allow them to turn the venting of our frustration into proof that we don’t care about them.
We need to turn that around, and come across in such a way that freedom wins the day. But right now, for them, ‘freedom’ is just a word; it doesn’t pay the bills. So how do we do this?
I can tell you all day what I am against, but how do we solve it?
How far does our snark get us? Not very far at all. That’s where I draw the line. I want to win elections, and snark and hate haven’t been working lately. I love some snark, and I love to rant, but where are the solutions? The left has their “solutions”, gilded in false-advertising, masking the failed ideas underneath.
I think we need to work on solutions; solutions that inspire a generation of people who want to be free, not slaves on the government dole. Being mad about people being on welfare solves nothing. Instead of offering solutions for people to get out of the welfare trap, we have bumper stickers that stop the conversation we need to be having about solutions.
We need to remember who the real bad guys are. Welfare recipients are just as much victims of massive, out-of-control government as we are. And we can’t convince them of that if we continue to treat them as the enemy.