August 25, 2011

The Battle of the Tweet (Day 34 - August 25, 2011)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be involved in a debate on Twitter.  The debate, a head to head clash of ideas, occurred between myself, That Poverty Guy, and someone who I've never met, Other Fellow.  It was not an easy exchange as each of us had strong opinions, and yet I valued it because it was a genuine sharing of ideas.  Neither of us walked away convinced of the virtues of the other perspective, but I believe we each left better informed and with some things to think about.  It is a conversation that we must not be afraid to have . . . and, in fact, we must relish the opportunity as it it through civil dialogue that understanding increases, awareness flourishes, and positive change happens.

The following is an actual transcript of the conversation but combining multiple tweets in a row together (as they were artificially separated due to the 140 character limit on Twitter):

IMPORTANT - Please keep in mind that Twitter requires short entries, and therefore grammar is terrible and some things may come across as terse when they are really not intended to be.

Other Fellow (“OF”) - I support the idea of helping those that need help. But a whole class of people has been created that simply live off others.

That Poverty Guy (“TPG”) - Respectfully, I think you are misinformed. Our system has so many cracks in it that we can fix. People don't want to be poor.

OF - The creation of the dependent class has ruined society. It crushes the spirit and drains the will of man to succeed or excel.

TPG - I think you have it backwards . . . the weaknesses in our society have created a dependent class.

OF - Many homeless are not able to support themselves, and this needs to be handled . . . not by Government but by Charity, Church, and Individuals. Humans will live up to or down to expectations, once they are told that government will provide they no longer strive.

TPG - I don't care if it's government, churches, individuals, or Santa Claus J that provides . . . people in need must be fed and cared for.

OF - I do HVAC, and donate time to the county for heating assistance. Funny the "poor" have big screen TVs and smart phones.

TPG - One shouldn't hold up a few examples as representing the whole. That becomes an excuse not to help, but not a very good reason.  You fail to understand that humans don't have equal opportunity or gifts to prosper. I've met lots of incredibly hardworking poor.

OF – Sorry, equal opportunity is not equal outcome. What do you call poor?

TPG - I'm not necessarily saying equal opportunity . . . just some compassion for those in need (often through no fault of their own).  Poor are the billions around the world whose basic human rights are not being met (food, shelter, health, education).

OF - None of what you listed is a right, they maybe needs or wants, but not rights.  Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness are rights. Pursuit is not guaranteed. Life, not a living.  Liberty, not enslavement to government.

TPG - Poverty's a trap, like jail for many. You can't have life without food. It's happiness that's not guaranteed, but the pursuit should be.   Are you saying that food, water, shelter, and health care are less important than freedom of speech or equality before the law?

OF - I'm saying that those are needs or wants not rights. No one has a right to have someone else pay for their health care.

TPG - That's a selfish, short-sighted view. I suppose you don't recognize the blessings you have are not entirely your own making.

OF -  4 nights per week away from my children. I bust ass and then watch people living off my taxes.  My wife and I put me through HVAC training on our own. All while working a full time job. Spent 2 years in night school.  I have worked since 14 years old officially. Mowed lawns and such before that. Single parent home mom worked 3 jobs.

TPG - There's no doubt you're hard working. But I've seen hard working people doing what they can to simply survive. And many people who are in need in our neck of the woods have mental illness, trauma, or other complicating factors. Be grateful.  Heaven forbid that something should happen to you, but you would be grateful if hardship fell upon you and you needed help.

OF - Social programs are simply about power. Create a dependent class then threaten that Republicans will take it away unless you vote for liberals that only give you enough to survive. It has played out throughout history.

TPG - I'm not American and so I wouldn't use those terms. That said, I think it is important that there is a social safety net.  Actually, if you look back into history, things have gotten better because of liberalization . . . which spawned our rights.

OF - Our rights were around long before liberalism. Rights are endowed by our Creator. Government cannot grant rights, only take away.
TPG - I agree. But we did not have those rights protected until liberalism. Speaking of our Creator . . . what about love thy neighbour?

OF - Not government’s place. Taking from earners to give to those that refuse to help themselves is Evil.

TPG - Once again, you are talking about only a small percentage of those in need. And, there are many rich that commit the same evil.

OF - What about covet not thy neighbor’s ass? Someone has wealth so we should take it and give it to others?

TPG - It's not about coveting, it's about justice. It's also about doing unto the least of our neighbours as we would ourselves.

OF – You have a strange idea of justice.

TPG - Yeah . . . I have a lot of strange ideas . . . like all people should eat, have shelter, get medicine when they are sick, etc.

OF - Whether they work for it or not?  We all should just stop working and everybody would be taken care of.

TPG - Thanks for the smile . . . you know I'm not saying that. Hungry people get food because they are hungry. And, of course, we get people being as productive as possible, but it's not right to suggest "everyone for themselves".

OF - Justice is working your hands to the bone to have food taken from your table to feed those that will not help themselves?

TPG - Dramatic much? No, justice is ensuring all have some because that is simply the right thing.

OF - So I should work for those that won't?  Justice is keeping what you work for!

TPG - What about those who work hard and are still poor?  Where is their justice? What about those who lose due to hardship?

OF - Socialism (Liberalism) works until you run out of other people’s money.

TPG - Now that sounds like rhetoric. Without liberalism we would still be subject to absolute monarchs.

OF – In 2007, I fell from my garage roof and broke my back T12. Family assisted not government. Tax payers didn't have to pay for me.

TPG - I'm terribly sorry to hear about your accident. I'm very happy that you had a family to help. Some are not so lucky.

OF - Answer this . . . why should the few support the many?

TPG - I think that we should ensure that all have enough to survive. We'll leave survival of the fittest to the animals.

OF – And, as I said, those in need should be helped.  But liberals love having people dependent on government because that is votes.

TPG -  And, as I said, I don't care whether the help comes from government or somewhere else . . . as long as it comes.

OF - I don’t begrudge helping those that truly need help. But far too many are gaming the system.

TPG - I absolutely agree. But those "gaming" the system are only a small percentage of the impoverished in the world.

OF – True story. I'm standing in line at Giant Eagle a grocery store. I have basic items in my cart.  In front of me is a woman with a cart of luxury items , steak, shrimp, ribs, all name brand stuff. She paid with food stamps.

TPG - I hate it when a few make a bad name for the many. I would suggest we fix the system, not trash it because it can be abused.

OF - I was working in a body shop. A woman pulls up in a Cadillac, fur coat, jewellery; and asks where the welfare office is.

TPG - And you assumed it was for her? I don't think you should believe everything you think.

OF - We have become a nation of representation without taxation.

TPG - Warren Buffet would agree. I think one's voice should not be determined by the size of their wallet or their tax notice.

OF - How about the fact that if it doesn't cost you anything you will keep asking for more.  After all someone else is paying.

TPG - Meeting immediate needs by handouts is one thing, then we must ensure health and education so people can do for themselves.  I've enjoyed our real time conversation. I've got to go . . . any closing thoughts?

OF - Liberals believe that the few should support the many. That's how they gain power. The many become dependent on government.

TPG - My final thought - regardless of your political stripe - help others who need it. It's the right thing to do.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

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  1. oh my gosh...he had a serious issue with feeling used!!! i clearly understand that he does not want HIS money suppporting some lazy asses...none of us do!!!! ( u said..u cant paint them all with the same brush)
    But i say he needs a reality actually go out there, pound the pavement and see how many people on the street are not there by choice and when the last time help was offered to them!! He may be shocked at how they got there!
    i pray his ignorance is not his final destination in this life...bitterness seldom puts one to sleep peacefully at night.

  2. Sean D. Krausert, EditorAugust 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    I like that . . . "bitterness seldom puts one to sleep peacefully at night."

    My impression was that he was well intentioned, but perhaps too narrowly focused on those abusing the system. That, and also falling into the mindset that we are each solely responsible for our own situation. The fact that he can work hard and care for his family is a blessing in itself due to where he lives or his upbringing or opportunity . . . in many other places in the world that same work ethic merely keeps you alive and not much more. While we can take satisfaction in our accomplishments, we must always remember that good fortune plays a role somewhere along the line. Equally, when seeing a poor situation, the person involved may have had some responsibility for the situation, but very often it is bad fortune that is responsible. Thus, out of our good fortune we should definitely do our best to bless the lives of those less fortunate.

  3. I wish that we could all begin to see that we are all one, what we do to others we do to ourselves. If we share our love and support we are lifting up ourself. If we hate others we really hate ourselves. Why do we want to fight with ourselve? We create the world we want. Why should we pay to live on a planet? Who's idea was that? If we change our mindset we can change our world. The more we give the more we get -- the universal law of abundance is already there we just need to "believe" we are all worthy. Action creates! When we fight we stop the action and begin to destroy. Who are we destroying but ourselves and this world we all live on? My hope is that we realize that no one is above or below anyone else. We are all equal and worthy. Where our focus is -- is where our power goes. We are creators of our world so focus on whatever is good and give your intent to that -- because that is what we will create. Give no thought and therefore no power to what is outside of love. If we as "one" do this we will "tip" the scale and we will create our world in which everyone lives in abundance! Any we can do this with nothing more than our "intent" and focus without fighting anyone! Peace and love to all, we are "one" come join us in the garden!

  4. Interesting conversation. I can see both sides of the issue. There will be abuse of the system, no matter what that system is. But we can not do nothing for those who really need the help. My husband and I run a ministry to the developing world where we will not only give immediate assistance in regards to food aid, but also supply agricultural equipment and education to help them sustain themselves in the future. The drought in Somalia is a good example of hard working people needing immediate and substantial long-term help. It even makes the homeless here in the states seem rich in comparison. We all live on the edge of the precipice of poverty and it wouldn't take much for many of us to fall over the edge.

  5. Thanks for your post, Gayle. Very well said, and thanks for the work you do!