I know that there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about what our government, both federal and state, do to help the poor. Many people tell me that the poor routinely use the system to make hundreds of thousands of dollars and drive their Cadillac to the welfare office. Of course, no one in the world has ever seen these people but they know, they know, that they are out there.
Well, I am not so sure about the Cadillac, but I have personally witnessed the efforts our government makes and how the poor are helped with my own eyes.
One notable example happened just the other day.
I was waiting for my train to LA near the transit center in Oceanside California. Oceanside is a beach town north of San Diego and famous for its location next to Camp Pendleton, the US Marine Corps Base. Oceanside is like most of N. San Diego County, it is very clean, very presentable, and very safe. This is not a seedy transit area, and it is safe both day and night.
But there are homeless people everywhere in America, even Oceanside.
So while waiting for my train I came across a homeless person, a woman who was very old, very frail and very poor. She looked like everyone's grandmother when she gets on in age. She ought to be home with her cat, her television, knitting, and talking to a grandchild. But this one was poor, she clearly had no place to live, no clean clothes, just rags, and a shopping cart.
She was being attended to by a pleasant, young man of perhaps 30 years of age, who was a member of the local police forces. He was seeing to it that this woman got the care she needed. Now what care might she need? How about a place to sleep, some clean clothes, a shower and a hot meal?
No! That is not what she needs, not at all. What she needs to understand is that her circumstances in life, the tragedies and failures that have led her to being destitute, starving and desperate, were her fault because she lacked moral values.
The police officer was haranguing this poor miserable person, yelling at her, telling her what a bad person she was. Because she was a thief! She must have stolen that shopping cart to push her rags around in, she was a bad person! Morally reprehensible!
He was not physically beating her up, but he was surely verbally beating her up, and for good reason. More than anything else in America, we hold private property to be sacred. If anyone could just choose to take a shopping cart then pretty soon people would be stealing Porsche's and God only knows where it would go, but our society would collapse.
For those of you who care about these details, the homeless woman was white and the peace officer a nice looking, but very loud, black man in uniform. I mention this because it is the opposite of some of my fellow American's preconceptions about race in our society.
I was happy to see this desperate and frail woman was getting all the help that our society provides. Forget about food, shelter, and that sort of thing. If she wants to eat, she can grab old rotting food out of a garbage dumpster for all our government cares. What she needed right then was a lecture by a figure of authority who could throw her in jail, a large well-fed man with a gun and a stick, telling her that she was morally depraved.
Thats the kind of compassion and care that the poor and the homeless receive in this country in 2015. It just makes me feel good about America when I see this sort of thing.