The video below is from one of the articles linked to in the above Gateway Pundit article. Take note that of the two people getting food from the food bank that were interviewed for this news segment, one of them (who was on her fourth visit to the food bank) says she "makes a good living," and the other mentions that, despite barely scraping by on his Social Security check, he is also helping his grandkids, great-grandkids, and his daughter get by. That comment, made by this man--who has been going to that food bank for three months now already--should not go unnoticed nor unheeded. Nor should it go unnoticed that the woman who "makes a good living" is on her fourth trip to a food bank to help ease her costs. These are telling things, and what they forebode is not good. 

We often think of food banks as being services offered to the poor. And yet, now, in the United States of America, the definition of what it means to "be poor" has significantly changed. There is a real danger, I think, in that we have been so damned spoiled in our country that so many don't even know what "being poor" truly is. Having lived on both sides of the poverty line myself, I do know what it means to have to sacrifice in order to make ends meet. I know what it's like to pray to God that the $30 needed to cover a utility bill shows up during a waitressing shift so that I wouldn't be late on my payments. 

Miraculously--even when it didn't seem it would be possible--my prayers were always answered. I know that some will want to argue and say that not everyone's prayers get answered--and that is true--but I wasn't just working one waitressing job at that time. I was working two. And I also had a third job doing curbside baggage check-in as a skycap at the airport. (That was before 9/11.) Others might argue that it was my willingness to work and not God that helped me make ends meet. I can only speak to my own personal experience, but I can tell you that there were indeed days that there were miracles. Days when it didn't look like I was going to take home what I needed to pay a bill, but then the last table of the night would leave an exorbitant tip (in relation to the cost of their meal) in almost the exact amount that I needed. Those were miracles to me, and I was grateful for them. 

But there were also days that even working three jobs wasn't quite enough (I was living on my own and paying for my college at the time--no loans), and so I would resort to selling plasma at the plasma bank by the university so that I could keep my phone on. I never had to resort to visiting a food bank because working in restaurants gave me the opportunity to take home a few things at the end of the night sometimes. Ironically, the only thing I was allowed to take home for free at the end of the night was...bread (dinner rolls or tortillas--depending on the restaurant). But I never went hungry because I knew how to cook inexpensive foods like beans, rice, and potatoes. Meat was a luxury that I seldom could afford back then, so I am grateful now for all of the Nebraska beef that I have in my freezer.

I know that there are MANY people out there who can tell the same or a similar story as me. People who know what it's like to SACRIFICE wants in order to meet needs. I suspect that many of those people also never thought of themselves as "poor." I know I didn't. Even when I lived on the underside of the poverty line, I didn't think of myself as poor. I just knew that I had to be smart about how I would get by. 

But I look around today and I worry about how the sense of entitlement (to other people's stuff) has grown. Many people in our country have grown accustomed and attached to the comforts and conveniences that living in the Unites States provides, and most have not been educated to have an understanding of where it is that all that "free" money comes from. "Poor" is defined differently now, I think, and we have been conditioned to believe that we somehow deserve things which we have not earned, or that others should foot the bill on our behalf. 

When I was growing up, I was taught that there was shame in expecting others to take care of you if you were able-bodied and capable of taking care of yourself. And I was taught that making ends meet was simply a matter of doing what needed to be done. If you need money, you get a job. If that job doesn't provide enough hours (as waitressing jobs often don't), then you get another job. And if that job isn't enough, then you get a third job. The work was hard, the days were long, there was no time or money for recreational activities. But there is no amount of money in the world that can compensate for the feeling of being independent and in debt to no one. I was taught that this is how free people live and that independence was something to be valued.

I am well aware that the world we live in now is different in so many ways than the one that I grew up in. So much has changed. Work environments have changed. People have changed. Our ideas about what it means to be poor have changed as well. And it didn't happen overnight.

As someone who has also done some teaching at both K-12 and university levels over twenty years ago, I can tell you firsthand that the concerns that parents are now raising about things that are going on in our schools are concerns that should have been raised decades ago. Even back then, MANY students in the K-12 schools I worked in would tell me that their future plans after high school (they all got pushed through the system and graduated, as failing students was not allowed) were simply to collect a government check, just as their parents did. They didn't even hope for more than that. And I was not even in the worst schools. (One of them I worked in was one that the governor's kid attended at the time.) But the truth is that many of those kids probably did go on to a life of welfare or crime. 

Approximately half of the students in any classroom I ever worked in had an IEP, which is an "independent education plan" that is supposed to be followed when students have learning challenges. The vast majority of students with an IEP were not incapable of learning, but their "disability" was that they were functionally illiterate. They had never been taught basic reading and writing. I think that failing to teach children to read is one of the cruelest and most harmful things our society has done, and I have spoken to many employers who have said that illiteracy is a huge problem that they encounter when trying to find qualified people to hire. 

The decline of our education system has contributed significantly to the gradual weakening of our country. We have been primed to respond as victims to the circumstances that we now find ourselves in. We fight like victims because we have been conditioned to believe that we ARE victims. The only person who decides if I am a victim or not is ME. But as a nation, we lack that kind of independent thinking any more. 

Now go back and look again at the first article I linked to above about what is happening in Argentina and ask yourself how much different we are from them. Changing the spending habits of a government can be done relatively quickly, but it does not eliminate the long-lasting consequences of what it means when people become dependent upon their government. For the spending habits of government to change in a way that results in a positive effect, the habits of the people have to adapt as well. Unfortunately, our dependency and reliance upon government is the result of years in the making.  We, too, have a problem in our country with many people refusing to work. I fear that many Americans take for granted just how good we have had it in our country. Many seem to believe that, simply because we are the USA, freedom will always be ours and that food will always be on the table. 

Our government has shifted toward embracing globalism, and the two-tiered system of "haves" and have nots" that is fostered by our government is leading to a shrinking of the middle class.  The divide among the two tiers grows deeper by the day. It saddens me greatly that people born in this country take so much for granted. People from all across the world flood across our borders because they know (often better than we do) just how precious our freedoms and opportunities are. But our freedoms and our opportunities are at risk. We have assumed that they will always be there. 

When I sat down to write this, I wasn't planning on sharing my own personal experiences. My goal was to point to these articles and to share the video in hopes that people would--if they are not doing so already--make certain that they are doing what it is that they need to do to prepare for what is coming. Learn to be self-reliant. That food bank might not always be there for you if you need it. What will you do then? (And what will others do?)

President Trump says that we are on the brink of a depression. But he also believes that there is time to turn things around in our country. When I look at the number of years it took for us to become so complacent and conditioned to have allowed our country to decline to the state which it has, I find it hard to share his optimism. I once shared his optimism that "we the people" could take our country back from tyrants, but my venture into politics (and the up-close view of the swamp that I have experienced) has shown me that our nation is full of people who are more willing to outsource the protection of their freedom to others than they are to fight for it with an independent spirit. 

The truth is that many who hear Trump say that there is time to turn our country around are conservatives who are looking to Trump to be the one to do it. What I have seen since entering into the realm of politics is that people want to delegate the protection of their freedom to others. (We also have become a nation that puts more trust in men than in God.) People want to keep their freedoms and their comforts, but very few are willing to pay the price for it when it means that sacrifices on their part will have to be made. Some hold expectations that Trump will save us all and that we don't have to worry too far into the future. Just "trust the plan" and it'll all work out. Well, you know what they say about putting all of your eggs in one basket, right? You might want to form a Plan B.

I think people are in for a rude awakening. Our entire nation, for generations now, has--by design--been conditioned NOT to be prepared for what is happening right now. And we are not prepared. Many aren't even all that concerned, believing that the things that happen to other countries could never happen to us here in the United States of America. People do say it will get worse before it gets better, but I think that people should not take it for granted that they will live to see things get better in their lifetime. It breaks my heart that our country is in such a state of decline that my own teens are facing a future that offers them fewer opportunities and freedoms than I had over twenty years ago when I was "poor." 

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