As I typed my credit card number into the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s payment form, knowing it would relieve a little bit of stress for someone who’s struggling, I felt my heart swell with an emotion that’s increasingly familiar to me these days. It wasn’t happiness, or love for my fellow man, or even the selfish glow that comes with relatively easy generosity. It was more … what’s the word I’m looking for?
Oh, yes: Resentment. I fully resented paying that water bill.
Spurred by a donation to the glad it exists / sad it has to Detroit Water Project, Kate Harding writes for Dame Magazine about wishing we lived in a world where private charity was unnecessary because everyone was automatically taken care of, because this is America dammit.
What’s more, I resent all of the crowd-funding requests I encounter on social media—to defray friends’ and strangers’ astronomical medical bills, or offer help with rent and food during tough times, or subsidize worthy artistic projects. I’ve ponied up for all of the above, but resented it every time.
You’ll note I didn’t say I resent the people who ask for such help. What I actually resent is the situation we’ve gotten ourselves into, as a nation, where a substantial portion of the voting public and our elected representatives believe that things like running water and health care—let alone arts funding—are luxuries some of us can do without.
How big should our government be? Let’s all decide in the comments.
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Photo via Wikimedia Commons