This election season has been quite tumultuous for me personally. I've taken turns being interested, angry, vocal, bitter, obsessed and as of late, angry. I'm not angry in a only-Christians-should-be-president/Christian-right kinda way. In fact, I'm more of a Libertarian. I know Roe v. Wade is not going to be overturned at the national level; I'm all for civil unions ('tho leave "marriage" alone; John Kerry had a great apologetic for this viewpoint in the last election season...before he changed his mind of course); and I didn't vote for Mike Huckabee (gasp). I was a Giuliani gal before he let us all down and tried to defy history by giving up IO and NH. Anyway, I'm angry because of what this Obama factor is doing to our country and to me. Here in the deep South and if I'm honest, in my own heart, his presence is not helping race or socio-economic relations. At all. In fact, quite the opposite is taking place. All compassion that I've had for the "under-privileged" has all but disappeared. Why? Mostly because so many of the poor people that Obama wants us to support are not poor. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does not include Blackberries, fancy tennis shoes or satellite TV. It doesn't even really include education if you ask me. And the Obama TV ads, interviews and everything else is constantly reminding me that in a few short weeks, I could be paying even more.
Let me describe for you a few scenarios:
1. To get to our house, you have to drive through a "low-income" neighborhood. Many of the houses are even subsidized. However, there are many, many satellites sprinkled throughout the neighborhood as well as a few Navigators and Cadillacs (I drive a Kia).
2. I'm shopping for shoes for Charlie, trying to find a good deal. This season is THE first time that I've ever bought name-brand, brand-new tennis shoes for my child. All the other shoes he's had have been hand-me-downs, generic or bought second hand. I've changed my philosophy on buying Charlie things now that we have Elliot so I was going to bite the bullet and pay full price. While I was in the store, trying to find the best deal, there was another group there, about 5 or 6 kids, a guy and a girl. All looked very young. Some were calling the guy by his first name, some called him dad. Same with the woman. These kids were all decked out in fancy tennis shoes and both of the adults had cell phones with Bluetooth. I really hate to stereotype but I'm going to do so anyway: I would be willing to bet the farm that these people received some sort of government assistance, be it housing, food stamps or health care. (I would not have even paid attention to this crew a few weeks ago but that day I could hardly think of anything else).
3. The woman in front of me at Wal-Mart uses foodstamps to buy her Lucky Charms, frozen convenience foods, milk and juice boxes (I don't buy juice boxes regularly because to me they are a waste of our hard-earned money)...while talking on what else? Her Blackberry. And what is she wearing? An Obama "Change You Can Believe In" shirt.
4. My sister works for a big medical group here in Savannah and does medical billing. Not long after her second boy was born back in April, she was talking to some co-workers about the high price of formula. They were all shocked that she "had" to buy her own formula. They get theirs for free. They told her to just go down to the welfare office and get the tickets. It's that easy.
And they drive better cars than Anna and me.
5. I'm driving around downtown Savannah one Saturday and I spy a school supply giveaway sign. And people lined up for 4 blocks. Initially my heart is softened for these children, but that quickly changes as I notice the way these people are dressed and the cell phones and Bluetooth devices glued to their bodies. These people are not poor. They truly believe that "their" money is to be used to buy what they want and we (people who actually make money) should buy them what they need. Ridiculous. I still can't even believe it. I already pay for their education, their healthcare and their food. I was not about to buy their school supplies.
Where is personal responsibility? Why do Democrats insist on keeping people poor and dependent? Oh wait, I know: they do it to get elected. In the words of Mayor Kate Hennings from the movie Sweet Home Alabama: "There is nothing wrong with poor people. I get elected by poor people."
So what can I do? Nothing really. I can vote and I can repent of my hard, hard heart. I can support causes that really minister to people who need help the most. But I will not ever think it is right or good or Christian to allow people to wallow in self-pity and reward the sense of entitlement that is so rampant in our country today.
And I can steal Obama signs, which is what the picture at the top of this post is all about. It's a tradition that Jill and I started back in Charlottesville during the 2004 election. We had fun then and I had fun today. I'll probably be adding a few more in the coming days.