The Day I Became a Republican

By: Kevin Dube – 3/24

I was ahead of the curve on one of the more unfortunate trends in our society today. I was the child of a single mother. My parents were married in 1968, and I was conceived shortly thereafter. Within a few months my father decided this whole family thing wasn’t for him, and abandoned his pregnant wife to “go find himself.” Hippie speak for going off to smoke weed and be a bum. My grandparents took us in, and for the first 10 years of my life my mother and I shared a bedroom in their home.

The welfare state was still a new thing in those days. My mother had some medical bills, which my grandfather was paying. Her doctor told her she could apply for Medicaid to pay them. At the welfare office she said she just needed help with her medical bills. However, she was informed that wasn’t how it worked.

There was a whole suite of benefits, including cash payments and food. There was no option, you took it all or got nothing. Additionally, a social worker would visit several times a year. I remember those visits. He would come and try to sell her on more. He could get her an apartment, and everything she needed, no work required. She always replied that it wasn’t right, that she couldn’t take what she didn’t need and didn’t work for.

She went to nursing school and became an LPN. Finally, we could get an apartment. Then the last meeting with the welfare man came. He showed up with all kinds of charts showing how she would make more money if she didn’t take a full-time job as a licensed nurse and instead stayed on welfare.

The part I’ll never forget is that he closed by telling her she’d be a better mother if she did that. I was 10 years old. I knew what he was saying was wrong. I had helped her study for that license test, we spent hours together with me quizzing her. This was our victory, and he was telling us we’d be better off taking a government check? I didn’t know it at that tender age, but that was the moment I became a Republican.

Today, some 45 years later, over half of the children born in Massachusetts are on some form of government assistance program. WIC touts on their website that they serve 53% of all children under the age of one. A like number of children, not coincidentally, are being raised by single parents. Multi-generational governmental dependency has become a sad reality in our society.

By design the welfare state traps its victims into this perpetual cycle. It is not a “hand up” but rather a boot keeping the disadvantaged down.

I can only imagine where I would be today had my mother taken the welfare man’s offer all those years ago. Instead, I became determined never to fall into that trap, and that my children would never have the experience I did. I went to college and got a career. Thanks to my mother’s example of right and wrong, of what can truly be achieved in this land of opportunity, my children have grown up in an environment I could only envy at their age.

People like to label Republicans as cruel, heartless, or worse for wanting to get people off welfare. The reality is that Republicans believe in people and their ability to become successful if given the right tools. What is cruel and heartless is convincing people that a life of hopelessness and perpetual generational government dependency is the best they can do. All for the purpose of owning their votes in perpetuity. Want to help break the cycle? Join your local Republican committee and get involved!

Kevin Dube is the Chairman of the North Andover Republican Town Committee. He can be reached at ◊