Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Supremacist and Entitlement: To Be or Not To Be


Please do not put me in that unfortunate category which has been much used lately: an entitled, older, wealthy, educated, white male supremacist. Do not assume that I am a bad person or that I am arrogant about who I am! I do not consider myself "better" than women or those who are less fortunate than me.

Lately, we have been hearing a lot about "supremacists" and "entitlement," whether "white" vs "black," or "male" vs "female," or "developed country" vs "undeveloped country." 

What exactly is a supremacist and who actually is entitled? Often the terms are used interchangeably. 

A Supremacist is ... an advocate of the supremacy of a particular group, especially one determined by race or sex.

Entitlement ... If someone has a sense of entitlement, that means the person believes he deserves certain privileges, and he is arrogant about it. 

Besides the incorrect inter-changeable use, neither are fair labels for all male members of our society. 

The definitions make sense and I can agree in some ways, however, I think that there is some misunderstanding as to what they really mean and to whom they are applied.

I did some research on Google to see what was being said about the concept of Entitlement, which appeared in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was apparently the first president to use the term extensively. He may have “tired of getting beaten up every time he mentioned Social Security and wanted a broader and more neutral term,” political scientist Norman Ornstein has suggested.

The following came from the Washington Post, Robert J. Samuelson:

"Let’s get rid of (the term) entitlements."

"Let’s drop the whole notion of “entitlement.” Just eliminate it. Politicians, pundits, and academics who talk about entitlements would then have to name the actual programs and argue their merits and demerits. This would encourage clarity and candor. Of course, that’s why it won’t happen. 

"Generally, Americans don’t want clarity and candor in their fiscal debates. We blame our leaders for budget brawls — this latest was a doozy — but forget that our leaders are largely governed by public opinion, which is awash in contradictions."

"So the government is “open” and the immediate threat of default has lifted. Great. But the political stalemate remains. Americans oppose excessive government spending and persistent deficits. Yet they also support the individual benefit programs (a.k.a. “entitlements”), led for example by Social Security, that drive spending and deficits."

The most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans' Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, college loans, farm subsidies, and agricultural price support programs.

Mixed in with this list are programs that are paid for by the public as part of their salaries; for example, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans, repaid college loans, etc. So I am not sure that I would call them entitlements. The difference comes when the government seeks to alter or change benefits that we cry, "I am entitled." Maybe we are maybe we are not.

In my case, I have feelings about many situations in which I might be called "entitled." Does that make me NOT eligible to state my feelings?

I am a man. I am white. I am educated. I am old. I am financially comfortable. This does not make me a Supremacist! I like who I am and what I have accomplished with my life but I do not consider myself better than others.

Just because I am a man, that does not mean I am misogynistic or sex crazy. I respect women at least as much as I respect fellow males.

Not my fault that I am white, but I can still empathize and work towards a better life for someone who is Black or Latino!

I am old, but that is also not my fault and does not mean that I cannot identify with the youth of today and speak to their well being as well as their being somewhat spoiled. I can learn from them and believe that they can learn from me.

I worked hard all my life, paid my taxes and social security fees, paid my dues to the Teacher's Retirement System. I managed my money carefully. 

Does that make me unable to feel for those who struggle to feed their children or afford to purchase drugs for their illnesses? Am I not entitled to the various benefits for which I paid over my entire working life?

I had the opportunity to go to college and worked at getting an education which enabled me to function well in the job market as a teacher for over 30 years and to have "ideas" about how things should be. So I speak up.

I am also generous with helping others in ways that bring them up and do not engage in gossip that bring them down.

Do not put me in that unfortunate category that has been invented: an older, wealthy, educated, white male supremacist and then assume I am a bad person! This seems to be what often happens and I do resent it. Thus I have spoken up!

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