Trouble Thinking

April 29, 2011

The Politics of Resentment: Michigan State Sen. Proposes Foster Children Be Given Only Second-Hand Clothes

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Durandal @ 12:58 pm

So there’s not a ton more to say about this. A State Senator in Michigan, is feeling a bit rankled that some children who are already generally shit on in every way possible get to have anything new. So he wants to make it law that they be restricted to second-hand clothing.

Note that his “it’ll save money” comes long after his insistence that he had it much harder than these greedy orphans. It’s not about what is practically useful, it’s about pretending to be tougher in order to feel better. He’s not harming these kids, see. He’s just forcing them to go through the same character-building process he did because they’re whining about life being hard but they don’t even know.

Everyone feels hard done by sometimes. There’s a significant point in your interactions with other people where you decide whether to do what you think is best or to be resentful. Ignoring the fact that it’s much easier to remember disappointments than it is to chart the good in your life (I imagine Senator Casswell didn’t simply get handed second-hand clothes, then become a Senator through force of will), why should people suffer as you suffered? If your parents were beaten, but became good people, does that mean they should beat you? Using the shitty parts of your life to assert how much more you deserve and how much tougher you are is a bad idea, but doing it in contrast to fucking foster kids is just plain fucking evil.

I don’t care if this saves money or not, you know why? No one would check, because no one cares. This, and any support for this, doesn’t come from a place of wanting to be fiscally responsible. It comes from the same place that ridiculous sibling rivalry bullshit comes from. Resentment, ignorance, and entitlement.

There’s an old Slacktivist post that goes into more depth with more grace than I can manage:

This is why whenever I hear someone say, “We’ve got to make the tough, painful choices to balance the budget” I know that I needn’t waste any more time listening to that person. He’s not really interested in balancing the budget, he’s interested in imagining himself as someone who is “tough.” And he’s so preoccupied with this need to feel “tough” that he is unwilling to do the arithmetic and see that the most urgent need when it comes to balancing the budget is not a “painful choice” but the choice to ease pain. Putting people back to work is not a painful choice. It’s what those people want — what they long for, hope for and pray for. It makes people happy and actually solves the problem. And for both of those reasons, the “tough” so-called “deficit hawks” don’t like the idea.

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