I'm One of the Faces


Written by guest blogger Charles E. Scott II
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A merica the beautiful…land of the free… The America I knew no longer seems to be. We go to war to help those who cannot help themselves, the helpless. Yet, we fail to fight the war on poverty that is within our own borders. Thus, threatening to destroy us from within, deteriorating the fabric of our cities causing many of us to become homeless and put into financially precarious positions. We send financial assistance all around the world, for any and all disasters and humanitarian exhibitions; nevertheless, we choose to cut off assistance to those who are most vulnerable and unable to fight back. I understand desperate times call for desperate measures, but cutting off aid and assistance to the ones who desperately are in need seems absolutely ludicrous.

I agree that we need to somehow manage the budget and rein in excessive spending, but to do so at the expense of the poor and helpless? THAT IS DESPICABLE! To be honest it is taking advantage of a people who cannot defend themselves. What is the definition of a bully? According to dictionary.com a bully is a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. Does that sound like someone we know? Why does it seem as though our governor is constantly targeting the poor, those that are on welfare, as though they are the cause of Maine’s financial budget blunder? The truth is the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of our legislators, those we elected to make the choices and decisions for us and should be in OUR best interests, but obviously is not. So one thing I would encourage you to do is vote in the next election.

"Why not cut some salaries? Do we really need to pay Justices, directors, and other so called leadership positions six figures?"In the mean time, one question to ask is who are the poor? You may have been lead to believe that the poor only refers to the homeless “bum” you passed on your way to Dunkin Donuts or even that “welfare momma” who keeps having those “welfare babies” and sit at home and do nothing all day. However, the truth is the poor may be your brothers, your sisters, your co-workers, and even your neighbors. The poor or qualifying welfare recipient is the blue collar worker or average working class alternatively labeled “the working poor” here in the state of Maine. Contrary to popular belief, there are welfare recipients that do work but are severely under employed. There are many who would like to work, but cannot due to injury. And still more who would work, but as soon as they do work they lose their welfare benefits. Thus, forcing them into a place worse than when they had not worked. Some choose to stop working so that they can survive. When survival is in question can you blame them for not working?

We do have a dysfunctional welfare system, but as implied, it is flawed. It needs to be overhauled or even redesigned to allow for a progression of transitioning. This would allow for fluctuations in income as well as allow the weaning of people off the system. However, until an overhaul is done we need to work with what we have. Balancing the budget is not in question here, but the method we are choosing to go about it, I think is. I am sure there are other, less critical areas, that can be cut or eliminated that will be just as effective but with fewer traumas. I truly believe that we need to reevaluate our priorities and decide what is and isn’t important. I value life and the fullness there of for all people. People are our greatest resource and treasure. We need to consider cutting those things that will not potentially cost life. It seems to be that the first services that get cut are the very services that we truly need, for example, police, fire, and emergency service are usually first followed by schooling and welfare. Why not cut some salaries? Do we really need to pay Justices, directors, and other so called leadership positions six figures? The amount of money that can be saved on the upper echelon salaries and retirements alone may account for some portion of the deficit. I think we are too top heavy. The income disparity between our poor and upper class is expanding but instead of helping to lessen this gap, the government is helping to further the disparagement by taking medication from the elderly and cutting the head start program for our children…REALLY!?

Welfare by design is supposed to assist people to get back on their feet. The fact is the system is broken; however, let us not kick the person who is on it because it is faulty. Together we have a chance to raise awareness and together we can invoke change. Join me on Wednesday, May 23 for WZON's "Faces of the Poor" forum being held at Husson University's Gracie Theatre from 6 to 9 pm. I am one of the faces you will meet.

author About the author
Charles E. Scott II
Charles is a disabled veteran. He and his wife are raising four children. He's a student at the University of Maine and commutes from Dover Foxcroft where he owns a home. He and his family can not make ends meet even though he works full time. His family receives food stamps and Charles' healthcare is covered by the Veterans Administration.

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