The other day a co-worker asked about another of those peevish emails forwarded from an anonymous source. This time the subject concerned Social Security payouts and whom rightly or wrongly should received benefits. She wished to know whether there was any truth to the claims in the email. The gist of the message could be summarized like so:

“My Mom was a homemaker and dad worked all his life and paid into SS, dad has passed away and now my Mom can barely make ends meet. While the possible “illegal” alien in front of her at the grocery store buys the name brands, my Mom goes for the generic brands, and day old breads…”

And after more self-pity, the story continues:

“If they give benefits to ‘illegal’ aliens who have never contributed, where does that leave us that have paid into Social Security all our working lives?”

And finally, the writer sums up:

“Mr. President: The petition below is a protest against the recent vote of the senate which was to allow illegal aliens access to our social security!”

What follows is a list of Senators who voted for a very specific matter (but not the matter argued in the letter).

This rant sent out as email was really rabid discrimination (both against poor people & disenfranchised immigrants), and the picture propagated by this “story”, is utterly appalling. The story is a spoof, wishing to prey upon people’s natural fears and anxiety toward foreigners.

Searching at [ ], they argued, petitioning the White House is a largely ineffective and pointless task. Secondly, the vote “to allow ‘illegal aliens’ access to Social Security benefits” was not even about THAT, but rather a vote concerning whether to “table” voting to allow former illegal aliens, who had paid into Social Security using fabricated SS numbers (while they were still illegal), the ability to collect these previously paid benefits. Again, the vote was about deciding to postpone and reconsider a course of action.

Granted, this is complex legal wrangling, but the real thrust of the emailed plea was to smear a powerless minority, whose main offense seems to be their ability to work for dirt-poor wages and additionally, to cast doubt upon the viability and veracity of the Social Security Administration.

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