At least $250-some was apparently spent on a Nintendo Wii this week; Suleman was spotted buying a video game system for her kids, eyeing an additional controller worth $40.
The question is – do you really care?
If you were drawn in by Suleman’s Website requesting donations this week and sent her a chunk of change, do you think you have the right to weigh in on how she spends your money? After all, they’re donations. Once the check is written, it’s out of your hands. You knew she could buy a game system for her kids just as easily as she could buy a few boxes of diapers.
On the other hand, the chief reason Nadya Suleman has drawn significant criticism since the story of her eight babies and an additional six children living at home is because she’s been accepting public assistance – including food stamps and disability payments for at least three of her kids. She’s not just someone spending private donations from a multitude of good-hearted suckers.
Food stamps have some limitations, as does WIC, but just like donations, there’s no limit put on what someone can buy once they get their disability checks. Which is precisely why there are so many problems with the system – because for every person who makes use of the system because of a real need, there are the Nadya Sulemans of the world who go out to buy a Wii when when they have fourteen mouths to feed and no job to pay for them.
My colleague Shannon says the vitriol toward this woman has to stop, and I agree there’s no point in getting yourself worked up over someone you don’t know – nor can we put all the blame for this situation on her. But I can’t help getting angry on behalf of the taxpayers who have to pay for her fourteen children’s medical care, their food, their diapers, while their own kids sit home without a Wii because Mom and Dad just can’t afford it – and they made the hard choice of putting food on the table instead.
And charging my anger is the response – just before the Suleman story details began leaking – to the Georgia family who put the bulk of their belongings up on eBay rather than advertise for donations. The same family who tried again and again to deny the offer of a flat $20,000 donation from a kind-hearted Samaritan. Out of thirty-seven comments left on the post, more than half claimed the family had some ulterior motive. Even more criticized the family’s actions leading up to their decision to sell off their belongings – denying that attempts to be financially responsible in the here and now could negate any financial irresponsibility in the past.
Why do people leap to such conclusions? Why do the families who are truly in need, honestly reaching out, get treated with such utter cruelty and suspicion? Because of the Nadya Sulemans of the world. Because of those who take and take and take some more, the honorable system of providing for our poor and our disabled is tainted by the dishonorable.