Thursday, December 30, 2010

Frauds, Fops and Four Letter Words

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary entitlement is defined as: the state or condition of being entitled: Right. (

Entitlement is not a four letter word, except in the gaping maws of slick and oily politicians who have managed to slither into national office on a wave of carefully cultivated selfishness and fear in an ignorant electorate. For instance, take my Social Security which I will start collecting at the end of the year. Am I entitled to it, you’re damned right, for the same reason I am entitled to live in my house; enjoy the beauty of the roses I have nourished for two decades; or benefit from the comfort of a great marriage that my husband and I have built over a good part our lives.

I have worked for 47 years and paid into the Social Security Fund. FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) was taken out of my check every week without so much as a howdy do, kiss my ass, have an apple. I didn’t trash the fund, that would be the power drunk idiots in Congress, and I see no reason why the short fall should be my problem. Every American who has ever paid one dime into the fund has the same right to get it back as I do. Social Security is not a handout; it is a return on an investment. Accordingly, when any citizen who has paid taxes has need of a social program they are utilizing a return on their investment. When a poor person takes foods stamps into a grocery store they are making use of a return on our investment. I have always understood, without qualification, that some part of my tax dollars go to help the needy. If the bloody frauds in Washington have changed the rules then by my reckoning they still owe me 47 years of dividends to the poor starting in November. Our government is perfectly capable of understanding the concept of investments and returns when it comes to every bloated showboat on Wall Street, felonies and compound felonies notwithstanding. Why don’t they get it when it comes to working people?

We must reframe, as the Jungians would say, the debate on social programs. Entitlements aren’t charity. We aren’t parasites sucking on the government tit. That would also be Congress. Those who expect returns on their investments are within their rights, particularly when those returns are underwritten by years of work and a hope for a better future. In whatever way, large or small, that we can begin to insist that the word entitlement be returned to its true definition – a definition that works for the people rather than robbing them – we must try. It is and always has been ineffective to ask the leaders we respect and admire to do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. It is and always has been dangerous to allow leaders who do not deserve respect and are beneath contempt to set the criteria for what must be done.

Language is to meaning as watercolor is to canvas, a fragile often vague image of reality. In a watercolor landscape if the blush of a rose is too close to the sky without proper perspective or definition there is no rose and there is no sky. When the proper perspective and definition of language is used to distort reality then meaning becomes a shill for petty politicians and their lobbyist thugs to rip off the American people at knife point using the Constitution as the weapon.

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