Michigan Republican: Foster Kids Don't Deserve New Clothes

This classist asshole takes the far-too-common rhetoric of "poor people deserve nothing nice ever" and steps it up another notch, by saying that foster children in his state should only be allowed to purchase clothes from Goodwill and Salvation Army.

You know, it's unfair enough to dump on poor adults and insist that adults struggling financially not ever spend a single penny on anything anyone watching might deem frivolous or pleasurable, but at least with adults in poverty there's a chance that it was their own choices that led them into poverty.  Maybe they gambled a lot or ran up credit-card debt on shopping sprees or whatever.  I still don't believe it's any of anyone's business to try to police their spending, as if the mere fact of their financial situation gives everyone better-off a right to pry and comment and judge.  But I can at least see some kind of internally-consistent logic in the kind of mindset that believes people should suffer for their irresponsibility, whether that irresponsibility is real or imagined, even while I think it's a bunch of judgmental bullshit.

But it's another thing entirely to take out one's resentment at having to let the government help those who need help on foster children, who are in the position they are because of the choices and fuckups of the adults around them, not because they did something wrong.

Much like Wisconsin's union-busting fiasco, where Walker couldn't say how much money his union-busting would actually save the state despite claiming it was all about the budget, Sen Caswell has yet to give hard evidence that his plan would save the state any money or how much, despite claiming it's about the budget. Which is basically the modus operandi of the slash-and-privatize GOP: wait for (or manufacture, ahem) a crisis, then use it as a boogeyman to force through cuts in the name of "what must be done right now" while people are willing to put up with more without demanding much justification.  Hand-wave in the direction of the Budget Gremlins, and most people will let it go.

So what it basically is, is Caswell using the excuse of the current economy to punish foster children for being foster children.  For absolutely no reason that I can see, except mean-spiritedness.  Because really, what's this going to save the state?  A few thousand dollars, perhaps?  Is a few thousand dollars really worth further stepping on children on whose necks Life has already stomped plenty hard?

It's not like foster kids are rolling in piles of state dough as it is.  When you talk about foster kids, you are by definition talking about people who have already been pretty badly screwed over by life.  Most of them have experienced some kind of abuse.  They're already trying to move through the world and negotiate the process of growing up without any reasonable sense of stability - they can get bounced from home to home on the whims of the families, relocated from one county to another for no particular reason except overcrowding, constantly having to start over in some new place.  What possible purpose could it serve to add another indignity by mandating that they buy hand-me-downs instead of spending a couple more dollars to buy a brand-new shirt at Walmart or Target? 

Sen. Caswell:  Your heartlessness is showing.  You might want to do something about that. 


vickiea13 said...

That is some seriously fucked up stuff there! By forcing these children to ONLY have hand-me-downs or left overs, you are telling them and everyone they come into contact with, that they are useless and a problem to deal with. As you said, they already know that - let's try to build them up a bit before kicking them to the curb at age 18, with NO BACKUP!

I wonder what Sen Caswell would say to having his kids (grandkids, nieces, nephews etc) live for 6 months in the foster care system. I wonder how he would view it then....

Jadelyn said...

Ooh, mean. If it wouldn't mean fucking up the poor kids involved - it's not their fault they're related to a complete douchebag - I'd fully agree.

VijiiS said...

I completely agree with you. It reminds me of those people who think that women shouldn't be allowed to get abortions because they oh-so-evilly had sex, but still extend that to young victims of rape. I can sort of understand that first attitude, though I don't agree and find it hateful, but the latter?

I once had a conversation with an individual who said that if a young girl was raped, THEY must've done something to bring it on themselves (been somewhere, worn something, etc.) They distinguished it from 'deserving it', but I thought it was a distinction without a difference.

Extreme conservatism, ultimately, seems to dismiss having any sort of love or sympathy for one's fellow man and put the weight of responsibility on victims of circumstance rather than looking for solutions.

Jadelyn said...

Shades of "I'm not saying anyone deserves to be raped, but..."

Horrible. Also I don't particularly see why, even if a young girl did somehow "bring it on herself", that leads to necessarily needing to be further punished by being forced to give birth. That's just awful.

It really feels, more and more, like compassion is a dirty word for conservatives. I guess they really meant it when they got all upset about Sonia Sotomayor's "empathy" being a liability for SCOTUS. *sigh*

ladyneeva said...

The thing that concerns me is the additional bullying this causes. I was never a foster child myself, and my parents were too busy raising us to foster anyone else. But we did have family friends who fostered, and of course there were foster kids in basically every class I was ever in.

First the kids are already catching hell from their classmates because "oh look, you're so rotten even your own parents hated you ha ha ha". And no, they're not just saying that because they "don't know any better". They know it hurts their victim, that's WHY they do it. If it didn't they'd find something else that did.

Then they catch hell from their peers for wearing clothes from Wal-Mart and Target instead of The Gap and American Apparel. Kids are positively nasty with this. If you aren't wearing the latest trendy name brand designer stuff, you are treated as a completely worthless being often enough.

Now this. If they're already catching hell for wearing generic/cheap clothes how much worse will it be when those clothes need to be patched and mended all the time because they're already half worn out? And do you really save money anyway between getting full price clothes that last a year and getting half price clothes that last 6 months?

Jadelyn said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yes. My high-school boyfriend (all through the last two years of school) was a foster kid. I remember a lot of what got said - not as much by the time we were together, because by then he was 16 and a little bit scary when he needed to be - but he also told me about when he'd been younger, in other schools. Why yes, let's take the kids who are already getting shit from their peers for the various ways in which they are not like everyone else, and compound it by making them be *visibly* poor and wear their difference quite literally on their sleeves. It's just ridiculous, the level of hatred for these kids.


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