A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Work and Poor People: My First Time Ever Writing Directly about Politics


The Code of Hammurabi

I’ve never felt confident enough to talk or write about politics—because I just hadn’t done it! I thought I needed to have studied all past and current events and political theories in great depth; but all I really needed to do, I’ve recently discovered, was pay attention thoughtfully and try on different ideas.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Don’t worry, I’ll not going to become a politics junkie; that’s just not me. But I want to be able to think and converse intelligently about politics. So here’s my very first attempt. (Perhaps I got my courage up after my last post on my dreamy idea of doing away with political campaigns.)

As a U.S. citizen, I’ve never firmly landed on a political party—Republican or Democrat—and I still don’t know which I prefer (I guess that makes me an Independent?). Let me think out loud a little here.

What I like about Republicanism/conservative politics is the value of work and of individual power. I think it’s very important to be able to feel independent, productive, and empowered in one’s life, not dependent on a government or anyone else as far as possible. I also think it’s important to have wide freedom of choice about how you live your life (so maybe I’m a Libertarian?), and I value the ideal of as little government interference in one’s life as possible.

However, what I DON’T like about Republicanism/conservative politics is the pervasive attitude I hear that “poor people are just lazy.” Um, wow, that’s a huge and hasty generalization, which is a type of logical fallacy—not to mention just plain arrogant!

What about all the people who do have full-time jobs but still live below the poverty line? What about people who are truly, legitimately disabled and would have no means of income were it not for Social Security Disability? And what about people whose poverty and desperate circumstances in their growing-up years did not allow them the possibility of getting a good education or specialized training for a well-paying job? For example, if you’ve seen the show Shameless, think of the character Fiona: her smart younger brother found a way to go to college (though it’s a culture shock for him), but she’s always been too busy taking care of her younger siblings to even think about her own education, and she understandably struggles to hold down a job. Would you describe her as lazy? No way!

So I’m in the middle right now. (Does that make me a Moderate?) The label I think I like best is “Independent,” because it doesn’t tie me to any certain viewpoints. I intend to stay open to what life and learning teach me in the realm of politics.


5 comments on “Work and Poor People: My First Time Ever Writing Directly about Politics

  1. emilievardaman
    November 12, 2014

    I have very strong thoughts on these issues. Sarrah! I agree with you about people who are poor. Of course some are lazy. So are some wealthy people, and some of them aren’t working either.
    I know a number of low-income people who work full time. Two parents work, try to raise a child or two and can never manage to pay the basics. They don’t have fancy cars, don’t have fancy phones. They clothe their kids and feed them and that’s about all. Before Obamacare, they had no health insurance.
    I get angry at the very very rich who have companies and refuse to pay their employees a living wage. Think the Walton family. Each one has many millions per year income, yet many of their employees are on food stamps.
    I could go on and on, then on some more.
    But for now, I just want to say I’m glad you are doing some thinking about these things!


    • Sarrah J. Woods
      November 18, 2014

      Thanks for your thoughts, Emilie. (I just realized I never replied to this comment–oops!) You make a good point that there are lazy people in all economic classes!


  2. whatmeread
    November 18, 2014

    This is pretty much how I feel. I think that as ones of the richest countries, it is a disgrace that we even have people that can’t feed themselves. I think a lot of poor people are willing to work hard and just need a little help. And I don’t believe that the Democrats don’t believe in the value of hard work! During the 70’s when there was a lot more assistance for the poor, the distance between the wealthy and the poor was a lot less, and many people were able to pull themselves up out of poverty. These days it is much harder to even stay middle class.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      November 18, 2014

      Thanks for commenting! I have been reading a lot lately about our growing inequality in the last few decades. It seems to me that more and more people are becoming aware of it (though maybe that’s just a projection of my own growing awareness, I don’t know). I guess the next step is to do something about it!


      • whatmeread
        November 18, 2014

        A lot of people are either denying it or don’t care.


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This entry was posted on November 12, 2014 by in Discoveries from Living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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