I have recently been chatting online with a very inspiring woman who wrote to me the following sentences in her second post – “We’ve got to bring love & joy to this life, and pass it on to others! All we can do is encourage others with positive ness – we ARE Survivors, and now we need to be there for the others that are in our OLD torn up shoes.” Little did I know that these words were being shared from a mother of two who has multiple sclerosis who spends her days (including weekends) doing surveys in order to make extra money for her family. Her messages are always filled with upbeat words of gratitude for her life and what she has and a willingness to help others.
This reminded me of a recent post that I saw from a woman who was arguing that we should be giving money and benefits to those who are here illegally and never worked a single day in their lives in this country. She feels that not to do so is being racists and imperialistic. She believes that everyone is entitled to these things even if they are able-bodied because this is the United States. I did respond to her and would like to share that post with you now.
For as long as I can remember, I have had to work for everything that I have. When I was young, I got shipped off to my aunt and uncle’s place for the summer. They had an orchard and I was the one who had to pick the strawberries and raspberries, etc. because the migrant workers wouldn’t do it. They only wanted to pick the fruit off of the trees. They were provided with housing, food and wages. I had a bedroom in which to stay but after I got done picking berries in the morning that went to the market to be sold, I had to do all of the ‘backbreaking” housework, too. I received no money and if I were fortunate, my aunt would make me some popcorn as a treat in the evening.
From the time I was 12, I worked for a neighbor doing bookkeeping until I was 16 and started working every day after school, Monday and Friday nights, Saturdays and full-time in the summer in order to make money to go to college. I did this throughout my college years as well and the summer after I graduated from college, before I started teaching in the fall, I worked in a book factory with no air conditioning in 100 degree weather and often times at 100% humidity gluing covers on to books that would be shipped to schools and libraries. Believe me, the smell of that glue was nauseating.
I have worked every year of my life to this day and have been paying into the Social Security system for all of that time and I know that there is a really good chance that there won’t be enough money to collect from those contributions when I get to retirement age. Therefore, I am not really enthusiastic about money being paid out to those who have never contributed a single dime. I have had to pay for my own health insurance or go without it when I couldn’t afford it, as has been the case on several occasions. I worked for a company that had a government contract and the government did not pay the wages to which I was entitled. That was for 8 months until they bankrupted the company for which I was working. Therefore, I am not really very excited with the government handing out money to those who haven’t earned it.
I have never owned a home because I did not want to make a commitment to an obligation that I might not be able to meet. I have never owned a new car or fancy clothes or purchased a bunch of “things”.
Maybe you can get the picture that my unwillingness to share my hard earned money with those who are here illegally has nothing to do with being “racists” or “imperialistic” but it does come down to taking personal responsibility for myself as does my husband who also works for what we have. I was taught to work for what I wanted/needed and to help others who did the same thing who may have fallen on hard times. That is a set of values that mean everything to me and I am so glad that I was taught that we are not entitled to the fruits of the labors of other people.