Why say something intelligent when you can just demonize people?
Probably because stereotyping and demonizing sells when you're an also-ran Boston newspaper during these "interesting times," in the Chinese-curse meaning of the words. At least I'm sure that's what columnist Howie Carr and his Boston Herald editors must have been thinking when they learned the commonwealth of Massachusetts has been giving used cars to select welfare recipients who need wheels to get work.
YOU WANT TO SEE a prime example of the "Culture of Death" that has nothing directly to do with abortion? Here you go:
Let the taxpayers worry about those billion-dollar deficits. If you’re on welfare, come on down!GIVEN THAT YANKEE BOSTON fought school desegregation harder in 1974 than did many Southern cities previously or subsequently -- complete with the stoning of school buses full of black students and attacks on the police guarding them -- you'd think newspaper columnists in Beantown might be humble enough to tread carefully through this country's minefields of race, class and poverty.
Nice enough that the layabouts get a free car - plus the state picks up the tab for insurance, excise tax, title, registration, inspection, and approved repairs. The absolute frosting on the cake is a free AAA membership.
Please, try not to let this newest handout destroy your faith in the truth of the budget crisis. You’re just angry because you can’t afford AAA. But your average welfare leech needs guaranteed road service a lot more than you do.
Don’t you hate it when you’re fleeing a department store after utilizing the five-finger discount, and the store security and the mall cops are in hot pursuit, and you jump in your Coupe DeVille and it won’t start. Damn!
Of course the gimme girls and gals need Triple-A for their welfare Cadillacs. (And yes, I understand they’re not really Cadillacs. Only the governor gets a Caddy on the arm.) You can’t expect a body to walk to the packy for their nightly supply of forties, can you?
Supposedly, these free welfare cars will enable the non-taxpayer to get a job. If they lose the job, the state comes down hard on them -- we the taxpayers will not reimburse the cost of insurance after the first six months. If the client quits work or is laid off during the first 12 months, all transportation benefits end, but the client will still keep the car.
But, but . . . what about the Triple-A? That’s an entitlement, you know. Has anybody got a phone number for the ACLU?
A lot of snotty people at the Boston Globe are going to be unemployed very shortly. Finally, a ray of hope for the bow-tied bumkissers. Maybe they, too, will be eligible for a welfare Cadillac.
You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.
Instead, Carr hops aboard a steamroller and assaults that minefield where race, class and poverty gets jumbled in a gumbo of statistical probabilities, stereotypes, reality and stubborn racism. And where there lie legitimate questions of policy, equity and the best use of scarce taxpayer dollars, the columnist decides to become something of a "layabout" himself.
WHY PUT TOGETHER a thoughtful piece full of thoughtful criticism when you can sign up for the pundit's dole and take a leisurely trip down the road angrily traveled? Why call state officials and ask some hard questions (or propose some sensible alternatives) when you can go all "Southie" on "the gimme girls and gals" who, no doubt, all are "fleeing a department store after utilizing the five-finger discount."
Why not lump every single recipient of public assistance together as bums and trash in a hateful orgasm of invective?
Well, I'll concede that Howie Carr and his Herald editors know their audience better than I do. Maybe hate and outrage is what sells in their corner of the New and Improved America.
But it sure is sad to think --35 whole years after South Boston and other neighborhoods went all George Wallace on a bunch of black kids -- that continuing to act, and write, like a bunch of lawless white trash can't get you "banned in Boston."