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Why dehumanize those in need?

To the editor

While I think most people have fairly equitable ways of balancing their individual desires with humanity’s collective needs, it appears that the current conservative political agendas, whether in Washington or Concord, are ignoring the needs of most people on the lower end of our economic ladder. In fact, some of these political beliefs are inflexible and moralistic. The attitude that “I’m right and everyone else who disagrees with me is wrong” is on a collision course with our traditional democratic ideals of compromise.

One of the basic flaws with any culture, past or present, is the unequal distribution of wealth. This is certainly true with America’s capitalism. Recently the gap between the haves and have-nots is dramatic, in part because of the Great Recession. It’s interesting that people of privilege like Grover Norquist are pushing very conservative political philosophies of “No new taxes — period,” while many fellow Americans are barely surviving.

The terms lazy, shiftless, corrupt, “welfare mothers,” etc., are used to depersonalize human beings and to justify restricting government aid to the needy. Yet, ironically, many of the same conservative politicians continue government welfare for big oil, big agriculture, Wall Street, and loopholes for the rich.

During more than 36 years being in the people-helping business, I have found very few folks who chose to go on welfare or to stay stuck in the system. Most people use welfare as a temporary bridge to get back on their feet. Unfortunately, the bridge building resources are being removed by mean-spirited people in power.

Mike Beebe


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