Relativism and Bestowing Kindness

I posted a rant on Facebook today.  It was a bit different from other angry posts I have written in the space that asks, “What’s on your mind?”

Because this one was directed very specifically at a few people I had, at one time, considered friends.

Oh, not just Facebook friends – nearly all of them are/were friends “in real life”.  From high school, and from former workplaces, these are people that I may have had what I would have considered “minor ideological disagreements” with, but whom I generally considered to be kind and decent people.

But, in keeping with this particularly “grinchy” holiday season, some decided to repost some pretty vitriolic and/or holier-than-thou passive-aggressive treatises this week.

The essays are formulaic in that they usually have a big picture on top of the text that spouts some directive such as “like and pass this on if you agree!”  Then the text that follows is often what apparently the writer thinks is a brilliant and original set of thoughts strung together but which is actually a mishmash of right-wing platitudes.

The tone of the treatise is always smug, a kind of “oh we poor, beleaguered, hard-working property owners who are being oppressed at every turn by filthy ignorants wanting equal rights and basic essentials like food and housing” textual equivalent of wailing and tearing their hair out.

Sometimes they throw veterans in the mix, as if public assistance agencies deliberately cross-check with the VA in order to steal benefits from one to give to the other.  It goes something like this: “People who have NEVER worked a DAY in their LIVES get housing and food and free utilities and free Obamaphones and free healthcare while OUR VETERANS who RISKED THEIR LIVES to KEEP YOU FREE are homeless, starving, cold, phone-less, and waiting MONTHS for a doctor’s appointment…”

I don’t know what kind of mind thinks these things up, but it takes a special kind of craftiness to twist “facts” like this.  The “fact” is, although both types of agencies are funded by public money, they have their own budgets, and their own advocates in Congress and elsewhere who lobby for funding.

“Welfare” and the VA are entities that endeavor to assist people with all kinds of issues – and that’s where the similarity ends.  They have nothing else in common, and do not share resources or funding.

But it’s important for extremely conservative people (and I use that word “people” in the broadest sense) to set up false equivalents like this because they can’t gain much support by saying:

We don’t like poor people because sometimes they smell, are often mentally ill, sometimes are disabled in ways that make us uncomfortable, don’t dress nice/appropriately, don’t fit in the middle-class life script of stable family-college-steady job-retirement, aren’t the same culturally as we are, don’t go to our church or any church for that matter, and generally make us not want to be around them or even think about them.

So it must be their fault, because WE did everything right in our lives and we’re just fine.  Why should WE pay to support people who messed up their lives?  Oh, except veterans, because…imperialism/oil/we-hate-Muslims.  And “I support the troops” is the mandatory addition to any statement criticizing US foreign policy, especially if it involves killing.  Have to make that clear – after all, we don’t want to be seen as traitors for questioning our military!

It’s quite apparent to anyone with basic intelligence that right-wing people in all classes hate the poor.  Even some right-wing poor people hate the poor!  If they had their way, which thankfully they do not (yet), everyone would be made to conform to their way of living or be locked up or given no help at all so they could just starve/freeze to death.

And, despite the zillions of times people point out the statistics that state our most vulnerable populations are children, the elderly, and the disabled, right-wingers persistently try to assert that most people getting public assistance are able-bodied young people who can work but won’t.

The “disabled” are all faking, are mentally ill (which to right-wingers means “not ill at all, just morally bankrupt/not saved/weak”), or have substance abuse issues (which, again, to right-wingers means they “just need to stop, the weaklings”).

If people happen to be born disabled, they ought to be put in institutions where we don’t have to see them or interact with them.

To someone like these mean-spirited, rather dim-witted individuals, state institutions for special-needs people are a good use of their tax money.  Because hey, it’s all about them and their comfort level, because they are so physically, morally, and mentally perfect – kind of like Aryans or something.

And Jesus loves them, don’t you know.  The Bible tells them so!  Some Bible that I guess I never studied, because in the ones I read, Jesus hung out with lepers and other “undesirables”, the same kinds of people right-wing Christians want to kill/imprison/hide away in institutions.  He even touched them and stuff!

So, the relativism the title of this post refers to?  I’m getting to that now.

I have read several things on the internet (comments and articles), and have had people state to my face that the people who speak about the poor in the disgusting and cruel manner they do “are unhappy people who aren’t aware of how hateful they’re being.”

Those people, it is asserted, deserve my kindness too.

No, they don’t.

First of all, I think they are fully aware of what they’re saying, because they say it loud and they say it often.  They can quote Faux News fake statistics to back-up their boneheaded opinions.

I do not have a poker face.  Never did, never will. So unless I am, for some reason, wearing a Halloween mask when people say these horrid things to me, they are more than aware of the reaction they have elicited.

Additionally, they often whisper or speak in low tones when they say hateful things.  That indicates they are aware that other people, in general,  would disapprove of their ideas.

Since this is hardly Seattle, and they are unlikely to be confronted about their ideas by anyone except me or perhaps Nancy Downstairs (who doesn’t suffer mean fools either), this tells me they know their ideas are unacceptable by social norms.

Know = awareness.

Next reason?  Oh yeah, they’re unhappy souls.

So?

I don’t care if they’re unhappy that their mortgage rate is too high, or that they have to pay $400/month in Medicare because they make over $200,000/year (look it up, that’s the rate), or that they hate having to choose between buying an $800 iPhone and buying a new purse – when “poor people” can get free Obamaphones!!!

“Obamaphone”: a basic cell phone (Kyocera Jax is an example of one – I know because I had one) that does nothing but call and text.  You get 350 minutes of call-time free, which isn’t a lot if you are disabled and have a lot of doctor’s appointments, or are looking for a job, etc.  You get unlimited text messages.  

It’s not an expensive smartphone.  That’s a flat-out lie.  Here is the site for it: Safelink.  They have income guidelines – you can’t just get one because you want one.

The point is, I don’t care if they’re unhappy.  They need to shut up.

To these unhappy folks I say:

Either deal with your “terrible” situation, or don’t.  But it’s not poor peoples’ faults your car payment is too high.

Yes, I guess you could reason that it is poor peoples’ faults because you have to pay taxes, and some of that money goes to social services.  And so you put down less money on your car, so consequently have higher car payments than you’d like.

Heck it can’t be the car manufacturer’s fault for the high car prices, right? (“It’s the unions,” I hear you muttering)

Or the banks, for high interest rates?

Hey, Mr and Mrs Fox News, guess what?  Many people who get food stamps or other assistance do so because their jobs don’t pay them a decent wage – the kind of wage you get.

You go look up the minimum wage and tell me how you would be able to have a house or even just a car on that amount of money.

Go on, I’ll wait.  *whistles tunelessly*

Yeah, you either didn’t do it, or you did and now you know that you cannot afford those luxurious groceries on minimum wage.   Why, produce alone will run you $50 just buying apples, onions, potatoes, basic stuff.

So maybe you don’t care – you earn a decent living, screw all those losers who work at McDonald’s and Walmart…

Ok, so let’s cut out taxes for social services.  You’ll need to pay more for police, prisons, and military because we po’ folk aren’t just going to quietly starve to death or die from health problems in our shabby apartments, we’ll be hobbling out in the streets long before it gets to that point.

We’re uppity that way.  And some of us, you just can’t kick us enough to keep us down.

Hey, when you become disabled, we’ll help you, too.  Even though you’re an asshole who probably doesn’t deserve it.  Because we think things like food, shelter, and healthcare are things everyone ought to have.

We’re not mean and nasty like you.

No, I am not going to be kind and understanding to people who have many things to be thankful for in their lives – comparatively speaking – but who are hateful in word and deed to the poor and disabled.

They don’t need kindness and understanding – they need a good dose of reality.

They need to – just once – imagine themselves in another person’s situation.  How would it feel to push a shopping cart in the streets in the middle of winter, that contained every possession you own?

Why would someone do that?  What would they be thinking and feeling?  Would they be cold? Hungry?  Depressed?  Ashamed and hurt when people give them dirty looks?

No, don’t anyone dare lecture me that I am being unkind to people who look down on people less fortunate.  My priorities are straight, thanks very much.

I am thoroughly disappointed in these so-called “friends” and their hateful posts.  Besides the disgustingly callous aspect, it’s disappointing in that they are in “monkey-see-monkey-do” mode.

Donald Trump and other Republicans can trash the poor, the disabled, the “other”, so it must be ok for them to do so too, right?

So in addition to these “friends” being morally bankrupt hypocrites, they also haven’t a brain between them that they can use to think original thoughts.

They just have unhappy lives/marriages/not enough material possessions so they’re going to take that out on the first downtrodden person they encounter – but probably not to their face.

No, they repost it on Facebook where no one can confront them or, if they do confront them, they can rally their other cowardly right-wing, pseudoChristian, xenophobic, racist, sexist, entitled, smug, holier-than-thou jingoistic Facebook warrior friends to come to their defense.

There.  I feel oh so much better!

Weirdness of the week comes from last night’s Republican debate.  Ben Carson, narcissist extraordinaire, when asked about how he felt about carpet-bombing that resulted in the deaths of children and other innocents, first replied, “Yes”, then said this, referring to children he has had to operate on (this maniac is a surgeon):

“I say to them, ‘we’re going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor’, they’re not happy about it, believe me. And they don’t like me very much at that point, but later on, they love me.” (“Watch Ben Carson Debate Weirdness: I Told Kids ‘We’re Going to Have to Open Your Head Up’ [VIDEO]”, Oliver Willis, Addicting Info Website, 12/16/2015)

Yeah, populations we bomb and kill eventually learn to love us for doing that.  And this man wants to be president??

Recommendation for the week: Go out and look at holiday lights in your neighborhood or elsewhere.  They can have a soothing effect, especially when you’re driving around.  I would love to do an experiment sometime on the physical effects of lights like that, and how that influences mood.  Hmmm, a dissertation idea!

Be good.  Be kind – but not to petty-minded, mean people.  It does no good and will only sadden you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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