I was born a poor blah child

By now you’ve likely heard about Rick Santorum‘s offensive statement to a group of supporters in Iowa.

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” Santorum begins. “I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care.

Here’s the video:

Santorum is now denying he said “black people”. According to him, what he really said was (I still cannot believe this) “blah people”.

“I’ve looked at that quote, in fact I looked at the video,” Santorum argued. “In fact, I’m pretty confident I didn’t say black. What I think — I started to say a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — mumbled it and sort of changed my thought.”

Ah, yes. The Blah People. As it turns out, I myself was born a poor blah child.

My mother was 16 when she got pregnant with me. Taking calculus and German in high school she dropped out, ignored her priest’s suggestion that she give me up for adoption and become a nun, and went on to raise me and my brother. By the time I was eight, she had gotten her GED and was attending Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A single mom with two young boys, we struggled. She worked a few hours a week at the local K-Mart but there wasn’t a hell of a lot of time for her to work. She had college classes to attend, studying, and, of course, two sons to raise.

So, yeah, we were Blah People. We got food stamps. My mom got welfare checks. We even got those charity Christmas gifts delivered to our door because we got on someone’s list somewhere. My mom was young, gifted, and blah.

My mom didn’t need a job at that moment. What she needed was some help so that she could finish her education and move up in the world. Welfare and food stamps were what allowed that to happen.

By the time she passed away at the tragically young age of 55, she had become a well-paid executive at Chrysler and retired early with a handsome pension. In her life, she easily repaid in taxes every cent (and then some) of the welfare she had received.

She didn’t look at welfare as “other people’s money”. She looked at it as a ladder to a new life. And it was.

Of course, Mr. Santorum is right. Lots of Blah People do need jobs. But many of them just need a little help to get them down the road to a better place. That’s what we do in this country — we help each other out. At least that’s what we used to do in this country until the selfish, heartless tea party Scrooges took control. If they were to get their way, we’d all look out for ourselves and screw our neighbors. They characterize welfare the same way Henry Potter did in It’s a Wonderful Life:

What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.

I was born a poor Blah child. My mom was a starry-eyed dreamer with a head full of impossible ideas. Thank Goddess for that.


  • tsktsktsk

    A quintessentially American story. Thank you for sharing it, Chris. Continued blessings from the Goddess.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Thank you, Dionne. You’re very sweet. And, yes, a truly American story, indeed.

  • Aquagranny911

    From one “blah” to another ♥

  • OccupyPosters

    But for Welfare
    by Stephen Ewen

    But for food stamps,
    and medicaid,
    and WIC,
    and state grants and scholarships,
    and state higher education,
    as well as private help,
    i would have never been able
    to make it through college,
    through college.

    To lift not only myself,
    but a whole generation
    of my family,
    out of poverty,
    of poverty.

    And my wife would be dead,
    and I a widower,
    and my children motherless,
    but for these things,
    these things.

    And now also,
    through education,
    i teach many adults,
    and many youth,
    and many children,
    who are at some place
    on this or that side,
    of poverty,
    of poverty.

    Because most, 
    can get out,
    as I once did,
    with hard work,
    and a lightening of burdens,
    for a season,
    or sometimes years,
    as I once had,
    as I once did.

  • Sharon Douglas

    Here we go.   These potential leaders throwing out all the hate bait they can to divert from the REAL problems, to get us at each other throats.  IT’S A DIVERSION PEOPLE.  DIVIDE AND CONQUER!  it’s an OLD military strategy because it works. Whites against blacks, straight against gay, christian against muslim, conservative against liberal, non union against unionized, etc., etc., They keep us fightin each other so we will not rally & organize and take back our nation from the Corporatate Elitist that have taken over our Gov.’t. And you’ll pick & vote for the politician who hates the same people you do.  The same way you pick your GOD.  Idiots we are.   For all the folks out there that think the lazy crack head black folk are taking YOUR hard earned money to live on here are the facts from the USDA:  Out of the 40 million Americans on food stamps 59% are WHITE, 28% are black. 30% do earn a income.  47% are under 18 (maybe why Gingrich wants to eliminate our child labor las, huh?) And 76% includes families with children, a disabled person or elderly person.  Sorry to  disappoitment the haters out there. Are you gonna start hatin the crackers now??  If you want to hate someone for causing so many people in American now not having JOBS hate Reagan, who began the war on collective bargaining and Clinton for NAFTA and the beginning of that loud sucking noise of our jobs leaving America from the rigged Trade agreements.  I’m sorry for sounding so angry but  I am SOOO tired of this rerun. I’m sad that it still works on the American people.  I expect this kind o behaviour from the slime ball politicians but I expect MORE from the people.

  • Billwzel

    Thanks for posting this Chris – and for writing your blog

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