Kin Lane

I Was Treated Like A Human By The State Bureaucracy Today

I have spent the last decade in the child support system. Being plugged into the Oregon, California, and now Washington systems. Both Oregon and California were impenetrable walls of bureaucracy who really don’t care that you are human, or care about the child involved. I never had a single request responded to within the last 10 years by Oregon or California, so I nearly cried yesterday when I actually received a call back from my Washington case worker, and she helped me, then did some research on my situation, and actually called me back to give me an update. I was shocked. Stunned. Beside myself.

I know that these bureaucracies deal with some crazy situations, and definitely feel like they are necessary beasts, but when you are someone trying to play by the rules and help your child, but may not get along with your former partner, you tend to feel pretty helpless. My case ended up in the courts because my ex-wife was mad at me and isn’t the best communicator. I couldn’t keep it out of courts because I was on the road traveling so much, I couldn’t respond quickly enough in the narrow windows the courts gave me. Leaving me prey to a court ordered child support case that would drain my accounts on a regular basis, take my tax returns, garnish my wages, and never give me a human to talk to.

This all reminds me of what we are building with technology today, just a more efficient machine, and one with fewer humans. There will be more helplessness in the technological driven future, similar to what I’ve felt in the child support system. If you have the resources you will be able to buy your way to a new level, or out of it completely. However, many of us will just get lost in the cracks, and the automated system will control our destiny. We will regularly feel helpless and marginalized, when all we want is to talk with a human being, and have someone express some emotion that we matter. Technology will just make bureaucracy more efficient and devastating to the already challenging human condition.

I am more than happy to pay child support. I even doubled the amount thrown out by my ex-wife. Being in the child support system has been a dark shadow over my life for the last decade. I can’t articulate how happy it made me feel in the last days of this experience to actually talk with a human being that was smart, professional, and actually showed some empathy. It brightened an already challenging day for me. I’m guessing that the State of Washington has allocated more funding for hiring of case workers. Something California and Oregon didn’t do. I’ll do some more research into this. If all goes well, I’ll be out of this maze soon, and I’ll be able to get on with my life. Hopefully avoiding bureaucracy, both government and corporate whenever possible.