Tuesday, June 5, 2012

what we get

There is nothing quite like standing in line at DHS. There is a feeling of utter isolation and communion. Quite contradictory, I know.  It is comparable to the class one must take as a college freshman on study skills. No one wants to be there; everyone must be there. There is this false sense of comradery. People standing in line speak to each other on familiar terms, knowing that everyone in the room has at least one thing in common.

Everyone shows up at the last minute, hopes for the best, and finds disappointment.

In a small town, this isn't quite the same, since one may be familiar with the people offering their services, but in a larger town... well someone should change the old standby to read: Hell hath no fury like a DHS receptionist. It has a nice ring, no?

The thing is, everyone there, waiting, does have something in common. We have all been stuck under one label which is entirely inadequate. Not to sound entitled, but where is the reform for the impoverished? Handing over an EBT (Electronic Benefits) card just isn't working. Some are simply stuck, for worse not better, in their situation. Isn't there something more that could be done, something more beneficial for everyone?

I walked into the clinical waiting room today to see a line of people trying to wait as patiently as possible. I wonder about their stories, about what they may have lost, how they feel. I wonder what most of the people on assistance would say to the change to get more education or to working a factory job.

I know the stereotypes. I know that people on HUD, SNAP, TEA, whatever are all supposed to be lazy bastards sitting around all day getting fat on TV and frozen dinners. This isn't what I see though. I see a group of people forced into one room trying to be polite and not show their embarrassment.

I know that I use assistance to be able to raise my child and go to school to finish my degree in English. One day I will give back and do so gladly. I know that everyone needs some help sometimes. I can't help but wonder how the great minds of the past would feel about the ways in which government assistance works these days, about who reaps the most benefits. What would Emerson say? How about Marx? Jesus? Ghandi?