Dear Fellow Poor Families: We Don’t Have To Let Them Win


strongHello. You there: with the benefit card that looks very much like mine. This letter is for you. This letter is for us.

The way we care for our loved ones has been a hot topic lately.

The proposed changes to our country’s budget have the potential to impact many areas of our families’ lives, and it’s looking like it won’t be in a good way. In the wake of these discussions, we’ve heard a very large part of our country say many, many negative things about us as they show their support for these changes. We’ve also heard many important people talk about who we are and tell us what we need to do.

We need to be better parents, raise our children better and teach them to be successful at life. We need to stop being so lazy. We need to stop our drug use. We need to get educated. We need to get jobs. We need to feed our children healthier. We need to stop abusing the system. After all, poverty is only a “state of mind.”

Trump would like to see 6 million of us get full time jobs. Full time jobs we already have, mind you. And a large number of our fellow countrymen and women believe he’s right on the mark, and they view us lacking.

I understand that our president thinks this makes him look good. It makes it seem like he’s going to wave his magic fairy wand and create these jobs for us to fill. It sounds like he’s going to pull wider access to education out of the butts of the American people, and somehow make us more qualified for the “millions” of jobs that are already available. It sounds like affordable childcare, to care for our children while we take on these jobs, is just going to suddenly be there when we need it.

Yet it is we unemployed, underemployed, uneducated, and lazy drains on society- an argument made by Joe Republic that is seen frequently in these discussions- who are already smart enough to know the chances of this happening are slim. How is it even supposed to happen when the other talk is in harming our health, a fate we are routinely saved from by far too narrow a margin. Limiting our access to healthy food, transportation, doctors, mental health/addiction services and birth control is somehow going to help us become better people? It’s going to help us raise better and more productive children? It’s going to help us break our cycle of poverty?

It’s touted as the change that needs to happen to better the lives of all our United States citizens. It’s touted as change that is long overdue. It’s been said that we’ve brought this on ourselves, that our inability or unwillingness to work hard is now reaping what we’ve sowed.

I say that it’s important to not let those attitudes define our families.

These things are not who we are.

We are the farmers who grow nutritious food for our nation. We are the sales clerks who help provide those goods for our neighbors. We are the customer service representatives who give help, guidance, and solutions- with a smile- for our customers. We are the hospital staff who provide care, hope, and clean environments for our patients. We are the caretakers to the elderly. And we are the parents and childcare providers for the future of this country.

We are the armed services men and women who PROTECT this great country. And we are the elders, veterans, and immigrants who have already contributed all those things.

These things are who we really are. These are the things that are important to not forget.

So as you go about your day today, tomorrow, and all of your days in the future, keep these things in mind when you hear how awful you are. Don’t lose sight of who you are and what you contribute. Don’t let them win your self-esteem and your pride.

Yes, right now others who don’t know are deciding our lives and the lives of our families. Right now, people who hold all the power are making all the choices. It’s important to not forget the power WE hold over our lives. The power to continue working to make our best lives. The power to be our best selves and our best workers. To be champions for our children.

We can lean on each other for support. We can lean on our supporters, and not forget that they are there. Just because the people who are in power have louder voices, doesn’t mean that our voices make no sound.

This is a call to arms, so to speak.

A call to open our arms to others, and lend our support. To wrap those arms around one another and lift each other up. A reminder to raise our voices in support of each other, to take every opportunity available to remind us of our worth and to teach our children of theirs.

This is a call to educate the “winners,” and morph the stereotype of families on welfare.

We don’t have to let them win our open hearts and hardworking minds. We don’t have to let them win US.

We are the only ones with that power. We are the families of America, too.

It’s important to remember that we don’t have to let them win.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”—Maya Angelou


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