What Is Government

Up until I was around 20 years old, maybe even older, I didn’t really know very much about politics. I honestly wish I could go back to those simpler times. It feels like I had a lot less to worry about back then. It’s always easier not to know. My entire family are democrates, so that is about as far as my political awareness went. I was taught vaguely that poor/low-income people were democrates, rich people were republicans. A very simplified explanation of the two parties in America, but I still believe it holds up. At least that’s what you would expect.

As I got older I came to find that there are tons of poor people voting passionately against their own interests. A good portion of the republican base in fact. I was astounded even more when I became a social worker and got to listen to clients who could hardly survive on the small amount of government assistance they received simultaneously complain about “lazy, good-for-nothing” people taking advantage of the system and voting to cut social security benefits. They seemed totally disconnected from the fact that they were the people their beloved Fox News hosts were referring to when they condemn these societal moochers.

I guess they thought it couldn’t have been in reference to them, because they were good people. They hadn’t done anything wrong. They weren’t worthless, scheming, monsters taking advantage of other people. Yet they were still quick to jump on the bandwagon of hate, directing it at some imaginary, caricatures of people that were making it harder for people like them who really do need that help to be taken seriously. It always broke my heart to meet clients that continuously tried to justify their need and convince me that they weren’t just “some drug addict” or something.

What has been reminding me of all of this lately, is the controversy over the unemployment income many Americans have been relying on since this pandemic began over a year ago. Everyone is able to see the absurdity of going out to find work, when you would receive more money by staying on unemployment instead. It is the perception of this absurdity that varies. Conservatives cry: You can’t give everyone so much money or else they’ll never go back to work! While liberals and progressives insist: If these people were paid a living wage to begin with, this wouldn’t be a problem. We must raise the minimum wage so that these people have an incentive to return to work.

Obviously I agree with the latter. The government didn’t just arbitrarily decide on an amount to pay, they based it roughly on how much these people would need to survive. If working full-time isn’t allowing you to earn that measly amount, clearly THAT is the problem. Not that the government is giving you enough to live on. This seems so simple to me, but I know that nearly half of the country would disagree. These types of disheartening conflicts are the reason that after passionately throwing myself into politics for a few years, I’ve begun trying to ignore it all together again. It is just to painful. It seems so hopeless. I’m tired of fighting.

One of the main things I don’t understand though, is what other people think the government’s purpose is. I’m starting to think my idea of it has been misguided and idealistic. It seems like throughout school I was taught that the government, at least in America, was established “for the people, by the people.” I was under the impression that it’s only purpose was to organize our collective resources as a nation so that we could best serve the entire population. In my mind, government was just a way to work together as a society so that we could accomplish things we wouldn’t be able to as individual citizens. Not only that, I thought it’s purpose was to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable among us, to help people. Not only for moral reasons, but to the ultimate benefit of the whole. Having a system to take care of the less fortunate gives those people the opportunity to some day give back to society again. At the very least it would deter them from criminal activity, because they wouldn’t need to engage in that to survive.

I hear all the time that “it’s not the government’s job to support you.” But isn’t it though? Isn’t that why we have a government in the first place? To take care of our citizens? I’m often tempted to ask these people what they think the government’s job is, if not to protect us and support us. I’m trying to stay curious and not let the unsettling mindsets of so many people get to me too much. It’s just not worth the grief it causes me. And I’ve accepted that fighting about it won’t make a difference. All I can do is watch is stunned silence, or turn away.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Part-time Jobs

Riesbecks Grocery sign

 

I know that I haven’t been posting a lot lately, but that is because I have been working. And I must say, I absolutely love my part-time job! Now, I can not speak for the rest of you, but to me, this seems hard to believe. Most of the part-time jobs I have acquired so far in life have been considerably awful. I was treated badly by customers and managers alike. I would be scheduled for long hours despite my requests for less and would never get a break unless it was required by law, and the company felt that they would be penalized if they did not give me one.

However, I have recently been employed at a somewhat small, family owned chain of grocery stores in the Ohio and West Virginia area called Riesbeck’s. Here, I am treated with the utmost kindness and consideration by my co-workers, managers, and costumers. Riesbeck’s pays their employees more than the law required minimum wage, gives raises every 6 months, and is even generous enough to give their workers a paid 15-min. break for every two hours of work. they even pay you $1.50 extra per hour when you work on Sunday. They always have enough people scheduled each day to make sure that everything can run smoothly and efficiently. I am never overwhelmed by my the tasks required of me, my requests for days off or more/less hours are always respected, and sometimes you even receive a token from a manager if you are performing especially well, which is good for a free drink or even lunch on Riesbeck’s!

For the first time in my life, I do not dread going to work. I do not feel drained and miserable after coming home. I feel happy. Some days going to work has even improved my mood! In my eyes, this is nothing short of incredible. Riesbeck’s does charge a bit more than other stores for it’s products, but that hasn’t affected their huge success throughout the years. They even have a wide variety of organic and vegan foods available, more than any other store in the area!

After having worked for Riesbeck’s for the past few weeks, I am alarmed and appalled at the conditions and wages that workers of other companies receive. Knowing that Riesbeck’s treats and pays it’s workers so well and still receives enough profit to make their family quite wealthy makes me disgusted in the amount of money companies such as Walmart must be raking in at the expense of their own employees and customers. They have no excuse for paying such low wages and providing such poor and impersonal service.

I never used to think much of it. I figured that they were just a business and they were being efficient in order to make the most money as possible. But now I realize just how much money they must be making. No one needs so much. The CEOs of these large companies must be gluttonous monsters to think nothing of the very people who work for and support their stores. 

I am so thankful to Riesbeck’s for helping me to gain this new perspective and giving me the most fulfilling job I have had thus far in life. I will not be supporting Walmart again any time soon. I would highly recommend trying to work for a smaller family owned business instead of a major corporation. They may actually be down to earth enough to treat you like a human being instead of just another digit in their bank account.

I hope that any of you reading this that happen to be near one of the following Riesbeck’s locations will consider spending a little more to support such a wonderful company:

  • Barnsville, OH
  • Bellaire, OH
  • Bridgeport, OH
  • Cambridge, OH
  • New Concord, OH
  • Shadyside, OH
  • South Zanesville,OH
  • Zanesville,OH
  • St. Clairsville,OH
  • Toronto, OH
  • Wintersville, OH
  • Woodsfield, OH
  • Elm Grove, WV
  • Follansbee, WV

Let me know what your part-time job experiences have been like or if their is a wholesome family owned business in your area that you would like to give some praise. 

Support local businesses & Stay peaceful, my sweets. ❤