|I was a bit perturbed after reading "Back on Uncle Sam's plantation" by Syndicated Columnist Star Parker back in February. I wrote the following then and gave it a cooling off period. Months later, I still feel the same way.|
Yes, I have been hearing this same old litany all my southern-born life. "Welfare enslaves the black race!"
Well, there's a big difference between "moving onto the plantation" and staying a few nights there. The difference is personal accountability.
Many people, including myself, have found themselves in abject poverty, out of work, child in the hospital, husband in the wind, home repossessed, car on the blink, and had to accept a hand-out.
For me it came in the form of living in public housing for a few months which shamed me because I hadn't been allowed to play "in the projects" when I was a child. It came as free hospital and medical treatment for my three year old who had run his arm through a wringer washer roller trying to help me wash his younger brother's diapers. It came in the form of child care paid on a sliding scale based on my pay.
Here's the difference: I was thrilled to tell the day care manager I'd received a raise even though it meant a boost in what I had to pay for child care the following month. I worked an extra part-time job to get enough money to move out of the "projects," and laughed when some of the other residents derided me for it. I got health insurance for my children as soon as an employer offered coverage.
When the Federal "235 Housing Plan" was started in the late 1960s, it enabled me to have a 2nd chance at owning a home by making my first two years of house payments "principal only" payments. After the two years ended, my income had increased beyond the limits and I proudly started paying the full payment amount on the $18k mortgage and went on to sell that house (greatly improved) 16 years later for $74k.
The government can't teach personal accountability, the schools can't teach it, the churches probably can't teach it either. Families teach personal accountability by example and lessons.
My mother never told me we were poor. She never asked anyone for anything other than a ride if they were going her direction. She tithed at church, she gave flowers, medical care, and kind words to neighbors and their animals. She worked extra night duty, did without a car, and sewed clothes for both of us. She taught me that with hard work and dedication I could succeed in this life and be proud of what I was and how far I had come.