I am a pleaser, for those of you who haven’t figured that out. I try to be sensitive to others feelings as I am sensitive to my own. Sort of a Golden Rule rule. “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Except for my enthusiastic support of Mr. Modi, I have not often talked about controversial Indian topics…slums, lack of toilets, poverty except in a very general way. I love India and want only to support her journey. Well , let me take you back to my morning and how this all began.
I had to have blood drawn before my physical at the doctor’s next week. As I left, I thought I would stop at the Social Security office to get a change address form which I have been remiss in doing. I thought I would run in and get one…but no. The policeman….yes armed . . . .told me to sign-in and get a number. Being compliant, I did as I was told. I sat there for an hour before being called. That gave me time to notice my fellow waiters! Old and lamed men in well-worn old and ratty clothes, someone needed a bath and was quite smelly, a man with no teeth and a couple screaming and swearing at each other. Needless to say I felt uncomfortable…..wished I wasn’t there, didn’t really want to see or hear these interactions. There was a man behind me who told the person beside him that he needed an operation but “they” were denying it!
Then I started thinking, “Why aren’t THEY working? Some were young seemingly healthy men. . . . . Why are taxpayers giving them money? ) Then I started feeling guilty and thinking they must be wondering why I was there and why I was under Social Security….hmm….I slid a little lower and tried to be invisible. . . .
Social Security started as a safety net for the poor and the elderly during the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. To fund the program, all working people pay into the fund each week and the employer contributes too. So if you are wondering why I was there, it is because we have contributed for all our working years and are eligible to draw out those funds now. Architect is still teaching. But he is known to tell the TV in a loud voice….”Don’t mess with MY social security!” This is how most older Americans feel that this is their money, and it is. We/ they have paid into the fund and are lawfully entitled to. There is another side to the program…..money for disabled people who can’t work and the poor who need food stamps and money for housing and medical care. Are there frauds, without a doubt as the news is always reporting. Are there people who are needing it to survive….obviously. Two sides of the story and a very complicated one. Most older people expect that this money however small would be available for their retirement. It seems the government has not put it in a lock box to be returned to retirees but has used it in other ways. And now as Baby Boomers are retiring, there are fewer workers to support this large group. AH…the government!
As a former teacher, I know how much is done to try and help the children who need extra help either in academics and or finances. No child ever misses a trip because they can’t afford it and free lunches and even free breakfasts are available in Title I schools. Many schools send home canned food with the children on Fridays so they won’t go without over the weekends. Why isn’t this helping with all the money…billions of dollars spent in these programs? Are we taking the incentive to work away with all the programs? But what about the obviously poor and old who need help ?
I started thinking of the Dalit in India, the formerly untouchable caste….the slums I drove by, the children and adults begging non-stop? Are there people in this the richest country on the earth who are also untouchable? I remembered seeing this Asian women morning after morning digging through trash behind my building in New York looking for pop bottles to get the 5 cent refund money. Would a Dalit person being doing that ? Probably, desperately searching for just a few cents.
There are lots of people and groups here who provide meals and food for the needy as there are in India. But the problem seems to persist. I remember that Christ said, “The poor will always be with you . ” And it is true, but it gives people of faith a opportunity to share from our abundance and help the needy. There are wonderful programs helping others in India, too ,that I have shared in some former posts of my blog.
Do I have answers or have solutions to these questions, no? I guess we just must see, help, pray for, try to understand, and be kind to the “least among us.” Remember we had no control over our genes or the family or position we were born into in this world. I must remember that “There but by the grace of God, go I.” ( I thought this was a quote from the scriptures but actually I found out it was said by John Bradford when he was watching fellow prisoners on their walk to execution. He later was put to death for his Protestant beliefs in Queen Mary’s England.)
I would love it if my readers were share their thoughts and correct me if you see fit.
Pictures from Google Images, Public Domain
Namaste. . . . .These Are My Random Thoughts on Hard Questions. . . . .