RUSH: We’re back, El Rushbo at EIB Network. Open Line Friday to Pelion, South Carolina. This is Marie. I’m glad you called.
CALLER: Hi! Happy Friday!
RUSH: Same to you.
CALLER: I was asked to get right to it. I called you in 1994 as a recently divorced mother of a two-year-old.
CALLER: I was in my second semester of college and some professors had convinced me to go on welfare because I had been falling asleep during class, and I called you to ask you, ‘Don’t you think that makes more sense than falling asleep in class and getting poor grades?’ and I was promptly excoriated, which kind of hacked me off.
RUSH: Wait a minute. Excoriated by me?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Well, that was tough love.
CALLER: Well, three months later, I got a letter from the welfare office. This was before welfare reform. They said you have to show up at the office on such and such a date and plan to be there all day. Well, that happened to be finals day for me. So I called and I said, ‘I can’t do that. That’s my finals. Can we reschedule? What can we do?’ They refused to reschedule. They said if I couldn’t find a sitter, then I could get out of it. I said, ‘But that’s a lie. That’s not my problem,’ and I went as far up the chain as I could, and eventually ended up telling the person highest up the chain where he could put his welfare check, and I went back to work. I ended up graduating magna cum laude, phi beta cappa, and that experience has actually helped me. I broke my back in 2001. I’m still working. I’m still moving. So it served me very well. The point is: these people want you to be dependent.
CALLER: They did not want me to go and get good grades.
RUSH: I remember you. I’ll tell you why I remembered you. When you mentioned your daughter, I remembered, and the professor telling you it would make more sense to go on welfare. That burned me! I remember this.
CALLER: Well, it was a tough thing to do. It was hard to work, because I ended up working third shifts.
RUSH: People need to hear your story again. Can you hang on through the break?
RUSH: Because one of the great things about this program and calls like yours, is you can end up inspiring a lot of people here, and I want to go through this from the beginning again and ask you some questions. You get into detail about it, because this is good. I’m glad you called. Please be patient.
RUSH: We lost Marie! Somehow the phone connection died. We have her number, and we’re trying to get back to her. But she’s trying to call us. So, Marie, hang up so we can get through to you. While we’re trying to reestablish contact with her, let me, again, explain this. Snerdley and I were talking about this during the break, because she jogged our memory. She called in 1994. She was in college, with a daughter. She was divorced and she was falling asleep in class. The professor told her to go on welfare. Get out of college and go on welfare. It did her no good to go to class. She was falling asleep — and this is one of the things I want to ask her. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but she said I excoriated her, and Snerdley says, ‘I remember this, now. I think you were pretty rough on her, because we got some calls from people.’ We got some calls from people who said I was too mean to her, that I was way over the top. So we’ve got her back on the line now. We now go back to Marie in Pelion, South Carolina. Marie, what happened to your phone? It just disconnected on you?
CALLER: Well, I have a teenage daughter and she’s doing her best to kill phones on a regular basis, and it just does that sometimes. I apologize.
RUSH: No problem. I’m glad that we had your number and were able to call you back. I want to start from the beginning here. I want you to take us back to 1994. The reason I want you all to hear this, is because I love these kinds of calls because they’re profoundly inspirational. You called here in 1994. You were falling asleep in class. You were divorced with a daughter — the same daughter that keeps killing the phone?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: And the professor told her: ‘Get out of college. You’re wasting your time here. Go on welfare’?
CALLER: Oh, no, no. He recommended I go on welfare while I was in college so I wouldn’t be falling asleep in class.
RUSH: Okay. But – how would going on welfare change your sleep patterns? Because you wouldn’t have to work?
CALLER: I was working full-time and going to school full-time and had a two-year-old.
RUSH: All right. What did I say to you? You said I excoriated you and I remember. We were talking about it because I got some calls after your original call when people said I was too hard on you. What did I say?
CALLER: Well, you told me that it wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility for my poor life decisions and the things that had happened, my ex-husband’s violence and all that, and that I shouldn’t expect other people to, basically, support me while I attempt to rectify those bad decisions — which at the time seemed very, very harsh.
RUSH: Well, I didn’t want you to become dependent! Once you go on that stuff, once you get a check for doing nothing, regardless of how little it is, there’s a comfort level that sets in. You destroy your potential.
CALLER: That’s true. I did not want to do it, and the only reason I agreed to do it, like I said, is I was falling asleep in class. I was putting my grades at risk. It made sense at the time to do that — and like I said, a couple of professors who were the most well-meaning people, they wanted me to succeed, but falling asleep in class isn’t conducive to that. So they pushed me to go on welfare.
RUSH: Depends on the class.
CALLER: This is true. I actually made it through Ecology and Evolution and slept through most of that one.
RUSH: Well, you didn’t miss anything. You just missed a bunch of lies.
CALLER: (Chuckling) So I called you and I was very, very upset afterwards. There were a couple of folks who called afterwards, actually, who agreed with you and called me some rather unpleasant things, not name-calling but just descriptive adjectives and so forth. So, of course, I quit listening for a while. About three months after the call, it was finals coming up. I got a letter from the local welfare office that I needed to be at the office on a particular day. I don’t recall the day now, but it happened that was finals day for me. So I called the caseworker and I said, ‘You know, that’s finals day. I cannot miss this day. Can we reschedule? What can I do?’ and she said, ‘Well, if you’re not here, you’re going to lose your benefits.’
RUSH: Stop right there. You pointed out that this is before welfare reform.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Now, this is a crucial point. Here’s these welfare office people dealing with Marie here, and she’s trying to do everything she can to get herself out of the circumstances that she is in. She’s going to school. She is trying to prepare herself to go out, achieve and have a better life and the welfare people would not be flexible with her. In other words, were not assisting you at all in your effort to help yourself.
CALLER: Oh, not at all! As a matter of fact, as I said earlier, going up the chain and trying to get this resolved, I had one person tell me that if I said I couldn’t find a babysitter, then that would get me off of it. But by then, it was purely philosophical and I said, ‘That is not my problem. My problem is this is finals day for me. I cannot miss this day,’ and I wasn’t willing to lie about it.
RUSH: So what happened?
CALLER: Eventually, I got as far up the chain as I could, and the man said basically the same thing: If you’re not here then we’re going to take your benefits away, and I said, ‘Well, you know where you can put your benefits,’ and I went back to work. Six years later I did graduate from a four-year college with phi beta cappa, magna cum laude.
RUSH: Did you maintain as rigorous a work schedule as you were maintaining when you were falling asleep in class?
CALLER: Oh, yes, sir.
RUSH: You did? So you worked full-time and went to college full-time?
CALLER: Yes, sir. I ended up working third shift and then I would go to classes while my daughter was in school, catch a nap here and there. That went on for a couple of years, and then I met my husband now who — I know your thing about marriage, but he’s the best thing that happened to me. Hey, honey, I love you!
RUSH: That’s great, but I don’t want to gloss over something here. You ended up magna cum laude and phi beta cappa?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: You got your key?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Through all of this, you understand that all of this was in you from the get-go? You might have had some things wake you up along the way, the professors, your phone call to me. Really, you did this on your own. To what do you, when you think about it, attribute the characteristics that you’ve displayed here, the stick-to-itiveness and willingness to work yourself to the bone while going to school? Where did that come from?
CALLER: Well, it’s something that, unfortunately, I’ve always had and it has manifested itself in horrible ways. I hitchhiked across the country when I was 13. I was a runaway, quit school after 8th grade. I’ve done always what I wanted to do. It was that same streak in me, only this time applied towards something far more productive.
CALLER: And it’s actually still here. I broke my back in 2001 and have a bunch of titanium in my spine, and I still work full-time. I take care of my kids. I garden. People all the time telling me: ‘You should be on disability.’ I don’t WANT to be on disability.
RUSH: Because of your back, you broke your back?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: How ambulatory are you?
CALLER: I can walk. I’m actually — my guardian angel was doing triple time. I’m very fortunate. But I had to take morphine for about two years every day and I’m off that now.
RUSH: That couldn’t have been easy!
CALLER: It wasn’t, and I have my bad days. Believe me, I really do. But the same streak… I think what it really took for me was hearing that person tell me to lie and then they’ll help me? I thought, ‘You know, I’m trying to do what people for years have been telling me I needed to do to begin with, okay, and all of a sudden I have people telling me to lie about what I’m doing?’ I’m doing the right thing!
RUSH: They’re reading from their bureaucrat policy manual. ‘Oh, if you don’t show up on this date you lose your benefits!’ They’re not interested in you as a person.
CALLER: They absolutely were not.
RUSH: They weren’t then and there was nothing about the US social safety net or welfare system back then that was supposed to do what it was designed to do, which was motivate people to get out of these circumstances that you were in.
CALLER: That’s exactly right. And what’s worse is that instead of saying, ‘Okay, you’re trying to go through school. You’re just starting. It’s going to be a long trek, so here’s how we can help,’ instead of doing that, it seemed much more to me like, ‘Well, if you’re not on our rolls, then that’s one less our caseworker has and one less person we have to employ, so we’re going to keep you where you are so we can get what you want.’
RUSH: Exactly right. This all happened a long time ago. Why are we benefiting from your call today? Why did you decide to call today to tell us this?
CALLER: Well, I heard you talking earlier about the way folks with liberal perspectives tend to view people, and being in college, mind you, I started in physics for my college degree and switched over to English. So I have a minor in physics and mathematics and then English.
RUSH: This is unbelievable to me! You have a major in English, a minor in physics, and in 1994 you were falling asleep in class and being advised by professors to go on welfare.
CALLER: Well, you know. (chuckles) But what I’ve found, especially between the science departments and the English departments, was the way people looked at you and the way you’re considered. You’re not actually a person. You are a means. It sounds horrible. This is not a blanket statement, because there are some wonderful people. Actually my advisor in the English department was a closet conservative. He’d never admit it. But he and I would sit in his office and talk about how ludicrous things were. He was a great guy. He was trying to talk me into going into medical school but I didn’t want to do that after my son was born. But he was a great guy and there are great people there. But the overarching culture says that you are only worth what you’re going to contribute to this cause or to that cause or to the other cause. It’s not, ‘You are worthwhile as a human being and you have within you the ability to do XYZ, ABC, whatever it is, and we’re here to help you get there.’
RUSH: That’s one of the best descriptions of the way certain liberals look at individuals that I’ve ever heard.
CALLER: It was shocking to actually see that in action. I can’t tell you how many — and even my fellow students, of course I was a bit older than my other fellow students. But those who were kind of in my same situation, we would look at these people and we would think, ‘What is your purpose here? Is your purpose here to perpetuate your position or to help me get to my position?’ and more often than not it was that they were there to perpetuate their position, which is the absolute antithesis of education!
RUSH: You’re exactly right. What you’re describing is indoctrination.
CALLER: You know, it’s funny. My daughter who was two when I called you, she’s now a freshman in high school.
RUSH: Has she run away from home yet?
CALLER: Oh, no, sir! No, sir. We have a very different home than the one I grew up in. She’s a faithful Rush fan. Too bad she can’t hear this.
RUSH: She’s a Rush baby?
CALLER: Oh, yes, sir! Oh, yes, sir. She’s been listening to you since she was born, as a matter of fact. She will go to school and she’s — of course, in South Carolina it’s not as bad as other parts of the country because it’s fairly conservative, especially in the country where we are. But there are still elements there that she has to go in and fight about.
RUSH: Oh, it’s all over the place, Marie. There are pockets but it’s all over the place. It’s an infestation out there the things that you’ve described. Look, I have to take a quick timeout. Can you hang on just one more break?
RUSH: We’ll be back continue with this in just a second, folks.
RUSH: We rejoin Marie in South Carolina. Marie, the only reason I wanted you to hold on — I don’t want to interrogate you anymore, but — is I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you to hear this story.
CALLER: Well, thank you. I want to say thank you for the tough love and it really did hurt me at the time, because I had been listening to you since 1991 in Colorado Springs, and I really, really admired you and I wanted to be that conservative person. I wanted to be that kind of person, and with the situation I found myself in, it was very difficult to be that person. So it was very, very hard. I cried. I did. It was just so hard on me.
RUSH: Well, I’m sorry about that.
CALLER: But it was worth it.
RUSH: How long was it before you rejoined the program and the audience?
CALLER: The day after I got the final notice about the welfare. I said, ‘You people are friggin’ nuts!’ (Laughing.)
CALLER: And I want you to know you’ve made my daughter’s day. She’ll come home get to hear this on the podcast and she’ll be falling over herself. So…
RUSH: I’ll tell you what I want to do. You said that you broke your back and you’re ambulatory and you’re on pain medicine — Morphine! That’s heavy stuff — for two years.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: I want to do something for you, and this is not welfare. You have earned this.
RUSH: I have just the thing for your back, and that’s a Select Comfort bed.
CALLER: Really? Are they really that good?
RUSH: Pfft! Would I tell you if they’re not?
CALLER: (Giggles.) Okay. Okay. I’ll shut up now.
RUSH: What I want you to do after we finish here, I want you to hold on and Mr. Snerdley will come back on the phone and get all the information we need to make this happen and get it to you. You can choose whichever one you want. I would suggest you go for the big mama. Go for a king size, if you have room for it in your bedroom.
CALLER: Oh, yes, sir. My husband would shoot me dead if I got anything smaller.
RUSH: Well, fine. You try this, and I guarantee you, I don’t know how much pain you’re still in with your back, but if any bed out there can help, this bed will.
CALLER: That’s great. Thank you so much.
RUSH: It’s the least I can do. I probably was a little hard on you. Some of these people that you talked about that called after your call, I said the reason they were hard on you was because the way they heard it was that you basically wanted to put your hand in their back pocket.
CALLER: Oh, no, as a matter of fact —
RUSH: No, no. That’s how they heard it.
CALLER: But I wanted to be them. I wanted to be who they were, and at the time that seemed like the only way I was going to be able to do that.
RUSH: Yeah, but look at you now. You’ve got a major in English, a minor in physics. You’ve got a great family. You finally found a good lug to marry.
CALLER: Oh, no! He’s no lug.
RUSH: See? I can’t win on this subject.
CALLER: No, no.
RUSH: It’s a subject I just can’t win on.
CALLER: Rush, let me tell you.
CALLER: When I broke my back, for a year — my husband Mitch is not an animal person — he fed my horse twice a day. He scooped the litter box, fed the cat, fed the parrot (who constantly tried to bite him.)
CALLER: He did all of these things and never once complained, and he did it for me.
RUSH: Okay. Lug is just stereotypical!
RUSH: You found a great guy. It’s obvious you did if he risked getting pecked by the parrot.
CALLER: To all those girls who may be listening who were where I was in 1994: 12 years, 13 years seems like a long way away, but if you just hang in there —
RUSH: You know, Marie, you got there long before 12 or 13 years. You’re looking back now from total time. But you got there in your way.
CALLER: Well, in a sense I did. But in another sense, I’m still learning. It’s still… You’re going to really laugh. I work for a very large insurance company, and so when we’re talking about health care, we think we’re seeing the beginnings of the federal take over of the health care system.
RUSH: You are. You are.
CALLER: But some people will say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you hadn’t have had to wipe out your life savings because of your accident?’ and I said, ‘Well, yeah, that would have been nice, but I had the savings. We were able to handle it, and I got much better care.’
RUSH: And that’s what it’s for! That’s why you save. The more I hear from you, the more admiration I have, and it’s a pleasure to hear back from you again. We couldn’t be happier here. Now hang on for Mr. Snerdley to get all the information from you so we can get you your Sleep Number Bed by Select Comfort.