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.

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