It’s after 4 o’clock on a Monday afternoon, and I just walked to my mailbox and received a check from the federal government for $600.
And I am furious.
Here are a few reasons why.
First, I am self-employed. I work eight to nine hours every day, seven days a week, writing articles for outfits like Intellectual Takeout. Next month, I turn 70. When asked if I am retired, I laugh, because I can’t afford to live without writing and because I’d do this work even if I were retired.
But my point is this: I’m earning my way. Why in the name of Alexander Hamilton is the federal government sending me money?
I’m also angry on account of my children and grandchildren. Sooner rather than later, I’m going to quit breathing and die. But what about them? They’re living under a government already trillions of dollars in debt with no real prospects of paying down that debt. How will my descendants handle that burden? How will all of the young people I know find a way to repay the money owed, or live in a system where the dollar will lose its value? What have we done to them?
Is our government truly so inept that it can’t figure out how to give this money to those who really need it? In our great age of technology, is there not some system whereby the people distributing this cash could send it to those more needy than I? What about some guy living in a trailer park with his wife and three kids, working long hours at two jobs just to make ends meet? Why not send him more money and skip me?
Finally, I am enraged that my government, or any government, considers me such a child that it delivers this pat on the head. At the bottom of my check are these words: “Economic Impact Payment/ President Donald J. Trump.” I don’t care if it was Trump, or Joe Biden, or George Washington himself, I want no one playing daddy and mommy to me.
So, what will I do with that check sitting on my kitchen island table? That insult. That paper pox signifying our country just fell even deeper into the sinkhole.
I suppose I could just rip the thing up. That might be the honorable course of action, the right way to go. But I’ve decided to take another route.
Of that $600, I’ll give $100 plus a bit more to my church, which has struggled financially these last few months.
I’ll donate another $100 to Intellectual Takeout, which I love and which has also fought its own financial battles these last few months.
Another $100 dollars will go to The Epoch Times, for which I also write. Given our tempestuous times, I bet they likewise are in need of cash.
Another $100 will go to Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville, North Carolina, where I have written book reviews for the last two decades. This weekly paper performs a valuable service for the community and has struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic.
As for the last $200, I plan to spend those bucks on wine and food from my local grocery store, on several meals from Soul Mountain Restaurant here in Front Royal, and at my local coffee shop. That should help spread a few dollars around locally, which I assume is the plan behind these stupid checks.
I urge readers who receive these checks to do the same. When these checks come in the mail, if you don’t actually need them yourself, please send the money along to your church, to Intellectual Takeout, or to other organizations which you believe in and which fight the good fight. Pass the money along to your children, spend it at local businesses rather than shopping on Amazon, or give some of those dollars to your local food bank or homeless shelter.
Let’s use this money to help rebuild America and to keep our liberties.
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Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.