This is something I never do but I feel the need to defend myself.
Earlier today I banned Gerrilea from my latest article. I banned Gerrilea because of a violation of a personal rule of mine, mainly commenters are not allowed to insult or threaten my family. To a large degree I allow anyone to comment on any article, even insult me because I feel all opinions are worthwhile, even those that I find irritating. My only other rule is that no poster either insinuate or outright call me a racist. I can be an asshole but I am not a racist. There was a poster named John G who made this accusation and I deleted his comment for doing so. Since then to avoid being a hypocrite I will delete comments and posters that imply or say that I am.
Now, along with this came accusations that I am a leach, a lowlife who shouldn't be allowed to vote. OK. Well, here's some personal information about me.
I graduated from the University with a dual major in History and Journalism. I worked my entire college career, either part-time or full-time jobs. In fact I started working at the age of 17 because my father wanted me to learn a good work ethic. I've been a dishwasher, a produce manager, a trainer, a customer service representative, a pizza delivery driver, etc. My father once told me that if I wasn't making enough money at one job I needed two so I've done that as well.
I started working for the state in 2003. It's grown into a career. I started as a social worker, processing SNAP and Daycare applications. Since then I worked Child Protective Services, as a Family Advocate and a fraud investigator. I later became a supervisor.
I've seen and done it all. I made a mistake once and fortunately didn't pay for it, I learned never to park in driveways and never allow anyone to get between me and the front door. I learned never to wear a lanyard with my badge around my neck.
Through it all I swung back and forth between empathy and cynicism. I learned that poverty is not a skin color but part of the human condition. I also learned that being a dick is a universal condition and not based upon color, gender, sexual preference or religion. It also has nothing to do with one's economic status. Oh, believe me, economic status changes in the blink of an eye. During the economic meltdown I walked through the process of getting benefits to the suddenly unemployed who the month before made a very good living. Things change and they suddenly found themselves needing the same benefits they looked down upon the month before. Trust me, it happens.
In the meantime my wife and I had two boys. The younger one is a delight but the older one, well, he is a trial. It started when he was a baby. He rarely slept. It drove us crazy. We figured out he had a digestive problem that medication fixed but he still had trouble sleeping. He also made huge leaps in development. He crawled, walked and talked early. It seemed like he jumped ahead in leaps and bounds. We found it incredible and thought that we had a true genius on our hands......until he started school.
His teachers suggested we get him tested due to his trouble socializing, his inability to concentrate or sit still. He also occasionally became, well, violent. We eventually learned that he has what is known as Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. I'll post a link to it in a comment below. It's very high functioning and children and adults can live productive lives with help. But it's also expensive. It sucks to have a chronic medical condition in the United States, even with insurance. Therapy costs 50.00, some of the medication costs 30.00 or more. My supervisor at the time suggested we look into Medicare as a way to offset his costs and to our surprise we qualified for it for both children. His therapist suggested SSI as a way to offset costs further and make sure he is covered when he turns 18.
Oh, did I mention I worked two jobs during that time? I worked full-time at DHS and delivered pizza. I get legislated pay raises and that happens once every five years or so. As I promoted I received pay raises but that's about it.
I eventually quit my second job when my wife starting working a bit. The SSI isn't much but it covers anything my insurance and Medicare doesn't. I have no vices, I stopped drinking to excess years ago and I stopped drinking for good in the Summer of 2017 after being diagnosed with diabetes. I lost 40 pounds in the past year, I exercise 4-5 times a week and I've essentially become a vegetarian. I haven't smoked pot in about 20 years and I do not cheat on my wife. My only vice (if you can call it that) is my enjoyment of college and pro football. I read history exclusively with a particular interest in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.
Even with all of that I am a leach who doesn't deserve to vote. Well, I look at it this way. I've paid thousands upon thousands of dollars in state, federal and sales taxes. I also paid in thousands of dollars in Medicaid and Social Security. Those are my dollars that I've paid in and now I'm getting some return on my investment in this country. Fuck yes I deserve to vote and have my voice heard. You want me to give up my right to vote? Fine. I'll tell you what. Cut me a fucking check, I want every dime, all of it, every cent I ever gave in property, sa!es, state and federal taxes. I want all my money that I put into Medicaid and Social Security. It's probably several hundred thousand dollars by now. You do that and we can talk about me giving up my right to vote. Oh, seeing as how I am no longer able to have a voice my expectation is that I will never pay another cent in taxes. Ever.
Update: I edited out certain portions of this article to minimize personal information. I will also be editing my profile and changing my name. I did this because a member threatened to dox me to my employer. This is a particularly scummy, shitty, dirtbag thing to do. I find it disgusting that someone would do this. I'm not sure if I should take this seriously or not but for my own protection I feel it necessary to do so.
I've never used my actual name before on anything but I noted that others here did so. I thought this was a safe place to post but I find this is not the case. Lesson learned.