Frustration Friday: Can The Recession Keep People From Hating the Unemployed?

One thing I'm hoping about in the Great Recession is that people will finally get over the idea that The Unemployed Are Bad People.

I know that's probably a naive hope, since people without jobs appear to be the favorite whipping boys/girls of any politician who wants to score quick points in the "personal responsibility" category, or preachers who want to single someone out as worthy of their god's wrath.  But I'm hoping, perhaps beyond hope, that people are going to learn the valuable lesson that people without jobs are not Bad People.

I'd like to hope that this comes about from empathy.  As people see their friends and family suffer unemployment, they will understand that the unemployed are all of us.  As we find ourselves encountering the unemployed, we will realize they're like us, they're trying, and things are hard.  As we see more of this suffering, we will come to understand it.

Of course for the case of some people, that is a terribly naive idea on my part.  So I also figure that some people will learn that the unemployed are not Evil Incarnate by joining their ranks for awhile.  It's hard to claim some legion of people are a faceless bane on existence when you're part of them.  If anything, it'll at least take a few egos down a peg and humble them a bit.

Sadly that may be naive as well.  I suspect those who need to believe that others are Bad People will cling to the idea the unemployed are Bad since they make such easy (and powerless) targets.  Those who wish to paint the unemployed as bad people, even if they are unemployed, will find ways to claim they're different.  Their egos can't handle anything else.

But, hey, I can hope – and write rants like this with the hope of helping people change.

– Steven Savage