I have a (very brave!) liberal Facebook friend who continually comments on right-winger posts that try to justify their selfishness. But this means that I have to see the right-winger posts because they pop up (usually with in excess of 15,000 comments already, which frankly I don't have time to read through) when I'm notified that she commented on them. Usually, I skip over them or hide them because they make me so enraged at how narrow-minded and selfish the right-winger writers are. But today, I had to respond.
Today's little Teapublican screed made my blood boil with its short-sighted selfishness. So I'm going to deconstruct it here to show why its premises are fundamentally wrong when you shine a light on them and bring in ALL the facts instead of just the convenient fantasies. Come past the fleur-de-Kos to watch me turn this particular paper tiger into confetti, hmm?
Here's the post in question.
Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in the front yard, my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog. During our friendly conversation, I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?" She replied... "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people." Her parents beamed with pride! "Wow...what a worthy goal!" I said. "But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that!" I told her. "What do you mean?" she replied. So I told her, "You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim my hedge, and I'll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out and give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house." She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?" I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party." Her parents aren't speaking to me anymore.Really, it's like shooting fish in a barrel here, isn't it? This is a fairy tale. A fantasy. This entire moral tale rests on the assumption that the homeless guy at the grocery store is just a lazy freeloader, and that he wouldn't work even if you paid him to. But let's look at what the writer is purposely ignoring.
First, like any Teapublican would hire a homeless person to do landscaping work on their house? It is to laugh. They'd want a contractor with a business license and insurance to do that kind of work on their landscaping - we must keep up appearances, after all, and you need to have someone to sue if something goes wrong.
Second, like any Teapublican would try to find ways to make it easier for homeless people to find honest work? Not with Fifi Romney's "fees" (read here: taxes) to even be eligible for assistance, they wouldn't.
Third, has any Teapublican noticed the signs homeless people tend to hold up? They say things like "Will work for food." Not even money - food. The need is food. So the assumption that any part of that $50 would be saved towards a house - it's just laughable. It would probably feed the homeless guy for about five days, figuring two hamburger meals from McDonald's at $5 per meal. I don't think Teapublicans really realize that that homeless guy doesn't have a savings account he can just stick that 50 bucks into, and that just having that much money on him makes him a ripe target for robbery and assault, if not worse. Free clue, Teapublicans: your privilege is showing, with privilege defined, as John Scalzi so beautifully put it, "things you don't have to worry about today."
That's what it really boils down to: privilege. The privileged assumptions just run rampant through this story. The assumption that working hard inevitably gets you ahead and that all you need to do to get a job is to ask for it. The assumption that doing landscaping work (which you won't get hired for anyway because you have no business license and no insurance) for a measly 50 bucks every once in a while will somehow enable you to get a house. The assumption that people who have no jobs are only jobless because they're lazy (and not because they don't have access to showers, or clean and decent-looking clothing, or business licenses). Oh, and there's that whole thing about ignoring the social contract that provided you with the education, roads, etc. for you to be able to buy a house, grow flowers in front of it, and drive to the grocery store so you could look at the homeless guy with pity and disgust in the first place.
I could go on, but why bother? This story doesn't stand up to the facts of the real world that we really live in.
So if you see this piece of crap story floating around anywhere, ask the Teapublicans who are responding positively if they are actually willing to hire a homeless person to do their landscaping for $50 a day. When they say yes, challenge them to do it and prove that they have. Tell them to go offer the homeless guy at the grocery store 50 bucks to do their landscaping. I can almost guarantee you that none of them will actually go for it.
See, that's the problem with these Teapublican moral fantasies - they're based on homeless people who don't exist, along with Teapublicans who don't exist. Anyone can offer a homeless guy 50 bucks to do a job in his fantasies, but when it comes to actually doing it in the real world? Watch how fast they run away with their fingers shoved in their ears, singing LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE JUST LAZY BUMS AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE PREJUDICED AGAINST THEM AND WOULDN'T GIVE THEM A JOB BECAUSE THEY'RE HOMELESS AND DIRTY?
Heck, I'd buy tickets to see that.