I'm responding to the May 9 guest commentary by Jim Albertson, "America, who are we?" I was intrigued by this statement: "What we need is to teach those who are vulnerable to become a little more self-reliant and to value independence versus government handouts taken from the productive."
I wondered what course of study Mr. Albertson thinks would help the vulnerable to become more self-reliant and independent. Should they be taught how to live on less calories a day, live out-of-doors, forage for food, beg on the street, put their children to work in factories or mines? Should they teach them to not become sick, injured, old, disabled, homeless or unemployed? What would he like taught to those who go to work everyday, but still need food stamps to feed their families? Does he think it is OK to give welfare to banks and corporations, then leave the "vulnerable" to starve?
Who are these "productive" who have to pay for all these government handouts? I believe it refers to those who are presently producing our nation's goods and services, whether through their labor or investment in business. However, the productive segment of life is limited. At one stage, we are all very "unproductive" children, and if we were lucky, many people helped us to grow up and become productive. Some of us got a lot of help and others not so much. Some of us became productive and others weren't so lucky. Sooner or later, we will all become unproductive again.
"America, who are we?" Are we only the rich, the competent and industrious and those labeled "poor, incompetent, and lazy," by Mr. Albertson belong somewhere else? If this is America, doesn't everyone have value, even those who may need help? What happened to, "Give me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free...?"
As the wheel turns, who knows when you, Mr. Albertson, may need help.