Davidson should do
research before speaking
I just want to respond to Jim Davidson’s article of Friday, March 8.
Those lucky enough to be born entitled in our culture — say those born white, male, healthy, and able-minded? — sometimes find it easy to be self-satisfied and complacent. Sometimes we all do. It’s always easier to believe that anyone who suffers is being dramatic, or just pretending, or that he or she brought it on themselves.
But sometimes we really need to look closer and to know what is true.
Please, Mr. Davidson, stretch your imagination and compassion and check your sources! Much of the “information” on the internet has no basis in fact. Two or three blogs saying the same thing doesn’t count as evidence, and any story that reads like a political tract undoubtedly is one — a nice, easy reassuring fiction about how the fortunate need not ever trouble themselves with the needs of anyone less lucky, but should suspect anyone who needs assistance.
But the story of the conveniently self-incriminating woman who brags to the car dealer that she’s scamming the government for about $3,500 a month for a fake disability seems about as “real” as the flying monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West.
And, even if one con artist has plundered the system — there’s always at least one, whether it’s an unfaithful husband, or a stealing CEO, or a Social Security cheater — we can hardly leap from that one to the “millions” of people Mr. Davidson seems to think are willing to scam the government. We shouldn’t trash government programs because someone used them fraudulently, just as we have not all become communists because of Bernie Madoff or Enron.
Moreover, we need to be especially wary of allowing shoddy research to undermine support for people with disabilities.
My husband and I have an adult son with disabilities. I can promise you that there’s no $3,500 monthly pot of gold for him from the government.
My husband and I provide most of my son’s economic support with some assistance — much, much, much less than $3,500 a month! — from programs to which we have contributed most of our lives.
I’m guessing the “millions” out there with disabilities look a lot more like my son, but an open-minded researcher could do the work to find out.
A good researcher might actually get into the nitty-gritty and see how people on assistance live. Not one that I know has a brand new Ford Focus; few of those who drive can afford cars at all.
A diligent researcher might go to Workforce and see what their clients and staff might share. Or go to Profiles. Or check out Independent Living Services, or the Conway Human Development Center.
An open-minded researcher might call DHS and ask what a disabled person MIGHT be eligible for and what the money might cover, at best.
A thorough researcher might talk to the many care-giving relatives waiting for their kin to move up on the waiver list, hoping for some kind of respite for the care they provide daily, usually without pay, for spouses, children, and parents with disabilities.
And then such a researcher might make a judgment about himself, count himself among the very fortunate if he never has to avail himself of such services, and be generous-minded about the “millions” of others whose veniality is yet unproven.
— Pamela James