Give Me Your Weak, Your Poor, And Other Forgotten Values

Viral news articles fly around the internet like milkweed seeds, and compassion seems to be reserved for kitty cats. Poverty, and all the myriad aspects that cause, as well as exacerbate, are looked on as mere!y the problems of those not trying hard enough.

So this week on Facebook some article from the CBC was flying about, originally published in November 2000. Basically, Ontario plans mandatory drug tests for people on welfare

HERE WE GO I thought… and clicked on the link. Guess I was in the minority, since many took the bait.

“The province’s own Human Rights Commission sent a letter to the government last year warning that denying welfare benefits to drug addicts is illegal.

Human Rights Commissioner Keith Norton says drug addiction is “a handicap” and people can’t be kicked off welfare because of it.”

And if they HAD clicked on the article they would have seen the recently added disclaimer RIGHT AT THE TOP…

“~ This story was published on Nov. 15, 2000.
~ The plan to test welfare recipients for drugs was scaled back the following year.
~ The government realized widespread testing would violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.”

Yet still the to test, or not to test debate raged across Canada.

Mom, you know this stupid ‘meme’, as they call these quick fixes now, has flashed through my feed before, and I have always ignored it. Yet, I kept always wanting to ask….so what would you suggest we do?

I guess many think that if you don’t give them money for food and shelter they magically disappear? What rubbish. As if addiction could be cured by a forced march to the nearest methadone clinic.

Cliché maybe… YOU MAY LEAD A HORSE TO WATER, BUT YOU CAN NOT MAKE HIM DRINK. Some said they should be forced to quit, and taking away their free ride would do just that. Again, poppycock.

So let’s see, allow me to digress a bit here and explore exactly how we got to where we are today. Perhaps step back to the turn of the 19th century, as it folded over into the 20th.

During the peak of the industrial era, the populous were shifting from their agricultural roots, towards the urban centers. Up on offer was the structured enslavement to the gods of the industry. Blacksmiths, weavers, to name but a couple professions, found themselves redundant, and the century turned and automobiles began to chug along old hollow ways, and textile mills dotted the new urban landscape.

The masses descended on these urban centers, shanty towns sprung up from the glut of humanity, poverty exploded!.

Unable to subsist upon that was once fertile land of plenty their ancestors had known, as mines stripped the landscape in search of fuel to feed the fires that mechanized everything from cars, to factories, poverty grew.

As the forests fell to the greedy lords of this new world of mechanized wonder, poverty grew.

As proud, nouveau riche men succumbed to the opium dens, and the magnification of the rich man’s worth, dark grifters fed on their opioid fueled dreams, as these ex-peasants sank into that void of hallucinations and lazy fantasies of worth, poverty grew.

These underground, black market feeders fed them their hearts disastrous desires, like fly’s to honey, and !poverty grew.

Enslaved to the industrial complex, shrinking fields, and forgotten forests, fed upon the stink of coal fires, and worshiping the urbane promises of greed, poverty grew.

As the industrious fell into the rhythm of the production line, as mass waste clogged the gutters, compassion was replaced by greed.

Get yours before someone else gets it, screamed the powers that be.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, the decades turned the pages of this new culture of industry.

Disease born of rat-infested squalor, feeding on the mounting piles of this wasteful wonderland, it is as if the very DNA of man no longer believes that a “poor man shames us all”.

Now, as we’ve turned over the new century, and we wrestle with the new digital age, this new reality, this “inconvenient truth”, is swept away to the margins. As again whole industries disappear, as jobs are replaced by robots, as manufacturing has dug itself down all the way to China, addiction grows. See no poor, thus poor doth not exist. See no addict, thus, addict doth not exist.

Oft born of abusive childhoods, many believe it is merely the valueless, the immoral, the lack of principles, that cause these addicts to turn to such, or so some would believe, lazy man ways. Once the providence of the rich alone, do they value addiction only when one has money in the bank? It seems that way sometimes.

You should hear the hue and cry that goes up when it’s announced a methadone clinic is going in as if these people don’t already live amongst them. Cause you know, drug addicts live off in the land of faery, housed in mounds of blankets, underneath bridges, with the trolls.

We the privileged, the ones who were not beaten for not complying to some ill-conceived value ridden BS – we who were not bullied into conformity, or those of us who have no need to forget our hideous childhoods – we are better, more worthy of handouts. If one goes on the welfare line, some would think you’ve given up. However, on the line of handouts, if the very reason, or the product of, thy welfare state is fueled by addiction, SHAME ON YOU.

Even amongst the elite, the educated, this myth exists that somehow addiction is the fault of poor values and no principle (ie; Ben Carson). Complete and udder rubbish.

DRUG ABUSE: a chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

DISEASE. I guess people don’t get the fact that addiction is a disease, often born of childhood trauma, as 2/3rds of addicts report some type of abuse as children. Abuse born of untreated depression, poverty, cramped living conditions, no trees, no fresh air, no hope.

So Mom, people like you are rare you know. People like Great Grandma who fed the ‘tramps’ that wandered off the train tracks into her yard, oh yes, very rare indeed. Seems sometimes that compassion for one’s fellow man has gone the way of the dodo, and greed and selfishness are the order of the day.

I’m such a ruddy idealist, and I have no answers. Just frustrates me, I suppose. I mean, having to quit my job, with just enough to pay the bills in the bank, I would have had to go on welfare if not for the help of family. So many don’t realize how close they really are to losing everything, as they carefully walk the tight-rope over the valley of have and have not.

But let us say I didn’t have anyone to fall back on. What if I was a single Mom on welfare, just barely making ends meet. What if they had drug testing, and I went out some evening to dinner at friends. Let us say after dinner someone brought out a joint, and I partook in one or two tokes. The next day my worker calls me in for a random test. WHAM. No money unless I go into a program, OR I dispute the charges. I guess some people don’t think government workers get paid any money. Who would pay the salaries of the testers? Who would pay the legal fees for the recipients to dispute the charges? How would this person, destitute now, live?

Yeah, no one thinks of any of that. Thank goodness saner heads prevailed back in 2000, but we all know those politicians know the knee-jerk reaction many have to the weak and the poor, and they feed off misinformation and viral memes. I’m sure this will be trotted out again as some Conservative campaign promise – mark my words.

But Mom, all’s well for me. Working two jobs, but both are completely out of my comfort zone, and I’m learning new things and have none of that deep-seated sense of helplessness I felt at the Call Centre. I have a freedom now I didn’t have then, and I like what I’m doing.

I took a chance, and so far so good. Yet, if I didn’t have my family, god knows I would have been either stuck in that hell hole, or suicidal in some hospital, a ward of the state. Forced to probably go on welfare, and who knows. I am blessed, but so many are lost.

So life chugs along Mom, and thanks for listening to my diatribe,

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