Welfare as we know it: in defense of Ashley

To the Editor:

Having read the letter to the editor from Ashley S. to the Caledonian-Record on the 9th of March where she pleaded for folks to support the People's Budget Campaign, I was taken aback by her self-described circumstances.

Several days later, I read several letters to the editor that attacked Ashley and her apparently self-serving request for support of a policy that would benefit her directly.

While my first reaction to Ashley's letter was identical to those that took her to task, I now have to come to her defense in this matter.

Ashley is not 100% at fault for her circumstances. The truth is, this young mother is only living the life that her parents and the permissive, progressive environment in this State (and the nation for that matter) have espoused.

Let's break it down a bit.

It appears, for whatever reason, that Ashley has little or no respect for herself. Going purely on what she wrote, she has two children, two more on the way, no job, no phone, no car and no apparent means of support beyond that which the State provides. We don't know how the children came to be other than the fact that there was at least one man involved in their procreation that apparently does not provide support for his offspring. If Ashley's upbringing had included some examples of how a loving family is structured, lessons in self-respect and a continually affirmation of her self-worth, she might have forgone getting pregnant at an early age, taken up a job to support herself and not associated herself with the low-life individual that impregnated and then (apparently) abandoned her.

Where are her parents when it comes to supporting her and her children? Where are the uncles and aunts that should be surrounding her with love in her poverty with some level of support? One can only imagine the type of family she comes from, given that she is forced to rely solely on the support of the State for her existence. It would appear (although I cannot say this with any certainty) that Ashley may be the current generation of welfare-dependency within her family. In her present situation, she has the potential to bring about the next generation of such a legacy, given her family of four welfare-dependent children.

Ashley's problems are also promoted and compounded by the fact that the progressive welfare-complex in the State (and the nation) sees nothing wrong with her situation. Welfare rewards bad behavior; more unsupported children translates into more financial support. Yes, yes, we all understand that it is not the fault of the children; they require support even if the parent(s) are not able or not willing to provide it.

What are the real issues here? Why are women like Ashley allowed and/or tacitly encouraged to set themselves up for a lifetime of failure and State support?

I would posit that one of the biggest reasons is that our politically-correct society makes it impossible to point out obviously bad behavior. It is utterly impossible to advance/promote any standard of decent behavior because doing so is considered to be JUDGEMENTAL!

According to those in the politically-correct know, all behavior is relative; no one is allowed to question or comment on the lifestyle of others, regardless of how it affects those individuals or society as a whole. This is how we have come to find ourselves celebrating child-birth outside of marriage, life-long welfare dependency, casual drug use and men that impregnate morally-challenged (now there's a politically-correct euphemism for you) women while refusing to support the product of their selfishness.

While it is unnecessarily hurtful (to the child) to call those born out of wedlock bastards, the fact of the matter is that the term is an honest and appropriate assessment of the situation. We have terms that can be applied to describe the status of the bio-parents (I hesitate to use the terms mother and father here in respect for actual mothers and fathers everywhere), but those of the politically-correct ilk refuse to allow society to use those terms to shame the bio-parents into more civil behavior; it's just too darn judgmental to do so.

The State fails us here as well, applying sanctions to bad behavior that is abhorrent to the politically-correct crowd, while accepting (and even honoring) the bad behavior of those that procreate with no possible means of supporting the results of that procreation. Consider how those that smoke, drink, earn a higher-than-average wage, religiously inclined Christians and Jews and those that hold conservative positions are treated and sanctioned by the PC crowd and the State. Anyone in the above groups is considered a pariah by those in the politically-correct camp.

Consider Ashley's case, why has the father of these children not been identified and compelled to provide support for his offspring? Assuredly, if a man of means (i.e. has a job) were involved with a women not on welfare, he is hounded by the Department of Welfare, ill-treated in family courts and made a pariah in public. The antidotal accounts of men being treated like criminals in family court when it comes to child support, visitation rights and defense against false claims of abuse are legion, yet mentioning that fact results in loud and sustained cries of protest from the PC crowd and women's' groups about the evils of men in this society.

Where are these same groups when it comes to situations like Ashley's? If it is accepted to track down and extract due compensation from a man for the support of a woman not on welfare, why is it not equally acceptable to force the deadbeat(s) of welfare-dependent women in the same manner? If these men don't have jobs or refuse to provide support, the State could compel their compliance. Slavery you say? Nay, 'tis not slavery to force a man (or woman for that matter) to support the children he (or she) has given life!

Here's a thought. It goes without saying that a parent that fails to provide for the needs of a child is committing child-abuse, oft referred to as child neglect. Since this is the case, why isn't having a child without any means of support not also considered child abuse/neglect? There are plenty of individuals in this country who would love the chance to adopt a baby. Considering the circumstances, could we not allow the State to take these unsupported/neglected children and, for the good of the child, place them in homes that would provide a loving, safe and secure existence? Why would it be abhorrent to save these children from a lifetime of almost-assured poverty and a capricious existence? We might even want to consider imprisonment for the bio-parents as a deterrent to future bad behavior.

Of course, what I suggest is consider at least radical and at most abhorrent by the politically-correct crowd. Giving birth is a God-given right, no matter how ill-prepared or unwilling the bio-parents are to support the product of their procreation.

We need to return to a time where society shamed those that would behave like uncontrollable animals, breeding without the slightest thought about the consequences. We also need the State to stop subsidizing bad behavior with public funds. We need to stop celebrating the fact that women have children they cannot support and/or without the benefit of a father that is ready and willing to stand up for those children and support their mother.

The welfare-dependency industry and politically-correct crowd need to rethink the permissive atmosphere they have created that permits women to simply turn to others to support their bad decisions while celebrating their accomplishments like it is something which everyone should aspire to emulate.

We hear a high level of lamentation about animal abuse, about the deaths of children at the hands of a deranged killers and about the plight of the neglected homeless, yet we seem to accept the fact that millions of children tonight will have to rely on the State, rather than their own parents, for the food they eat, the homes they live in and the clothing on their backs.

Is the abuse/neglect of a child any less distressing than the abuse/neglect of a pet?

Those that allow their pets to breed uncontrollably are considered bad "pet-parents". Why then are those that breed uncontrollably, giving birth to more children than they can possibly support, not considered bad "human-parents"?

If you care to correct/debate me concerning my opinions here, please feel free to write me at taleadbeater@gmail.com

Todd Leadbeater

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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