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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

‘Dependents’ deserve respect too

I am the 47 percent. I am your dependent. You can claim me on your taxes, honey, because you provide healthcare and income to my family. You owe it to me. Darn it, I deserve it.

That is what Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, thinks that people like me believe.  I am a Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipient.

“There are 47 percent who are dependent upon government, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them,” said Romney to a group of rich donors. In a secret video that has received enormous public outcry since its publication by Mother Jones, an independent news magazine and website, Romney calls people who receive public assistance ‘a lost cause’.”

Let’s get one thing straight: we are not a ‘lost cause’ as Romney so eloquently put it. We do not believe the government owes us. We contribute to our communities in many positive ways. We should be treated with dignity and respect like everyone else.

Public assistance recipients span a wide array of social situations, ethnicities and demographics. We are working moms, students, elderly, single parents and disabled individuals.

We have dreams, we love our children, we volunteer for charities, we obey the law, we vote and — yes — many of us pay taxes. We are valuable members of the community

Romney refers to people like me as “those people,” as in, “My job is not to worry about those people.”

Comments like that remind me of a time when black people were referred to as “those people” and not considered valuable human beings.

“I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said.

Never mind the fact that both my children are legally disabled and that I am a college student (which ain’t cheap, honey) or that my husband works two jobs and earns just enough for us to barely reach the bottom rung of the economic ladder.

I run a charity called Hannah’s Ministry. I collect donations such as food, clothing, household goods and school supplies, and give it to the less fortunate. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas I distribute donated holiday meals to those in need.  At Christmas time, I also give donated toys and gifts to needy children. This is my way of contributing to my community and giving back.

I am in college so I can earn a degree and be able to become fully self-sufficient and take better care of my boys.  To me, that shouts responsibility. But I guess Mr. Romney wears a different set of eyeglasses.

Romney is campaigning to strengthen the middle class. According to his campaign website, his five-point plan includes energy independence, giving Americans access to better schools and training programs, fair trade, reducing the deficit and supporting small businesses.

These are all things we certainly need to make this country stronger and stay the great country it is.  But what about extending a hand to our neighbors?

My mom told me that, when she was growing up, neighbors looked out for one another. There was a strong sense of community. If a family member passed away, neighbors brought food over to their house. If someone was sick, neighbors cleaned their house for them. That era was built on strengthening one another.

We should look back and follow their example. In order to be a good leader, Mr. Romney, first you have to be a good follower.

We, the 47 percent, believe in ourselves and our country. Please, believe in us too.

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  • C

    Christopher SmithOct 7, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I feel that the role of the Federal Government is a shadow of its former lawful self, and perhaps, those that founded this nation would be rolling in their graves under the sheer notion of “entitlements” whether they go to improve business or to the common man(Save the States, individuals, groups, and the local communities to do what they will.) I suppose the question to be had is, with respect to the federal government, why are we even having this conversation in the first place? I have always been of the opinion that to vote for federal officials while paying zero (federal) income taxes is a conflict of interest. If individual liberty and freedom is our goal, what right do we have to demand a specific service that applies only for one group while paid for by another, aside for those essential services that apply to everyone equally (Military etc.)? Perhaps everyone, to include the working poor, should pay some sort federal income taxes and leave the states/local governments, who are most familuar with their needs and in the best position to ensure proper allocation, to provide the “entitlements?” It’s certainly a possible cure for a $16,000,000,000,000 federal debt. Oh well, I can dream can’t I?


    Thomas Jefferson:

    “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 Inaugural Address

    “To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” Thomas Jefferson 1798

    Benjamin Franklin:

    “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” Benjamin Franklin on the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor 1766

    “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin February 17, 1775 notes for a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly

    James Madison (Father of the U.S. Constitution)

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” 1794 on proposed funds for French refugees.

    “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison in a 1792 Letter to Edmund Pendleton

    “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” James Madison On the Memorial of the Relief Committee of Baltimore, for the Relief of St. Domingo Refugees. House of Representatives, January 10, 1794

    “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison in a letter to James Robertson

    “Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

    Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.”

    But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

    The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are “their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare.” The terms of article eighth are still more identical: “All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury,” etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!” James Madison, Federalist #41

    Jhon Adams:

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

    Davy Crockett (Because I like this one):

    “Mr. Speaker: I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” Davy Crockett in the House of Representatives 1827.