|Tea Party raving|
Remember Newt Gingrich's remarks during the South Carolina primary? "President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history." That's how Newt put it. Rick Santorum added a racial twist with his remarks in Iowa: "I don't want to give black people someone else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to make money."
As the Tea Party graphic at the top of this post suggests, Tea Party folks work under the assumption that people who apply for any kind of public assistance are lazy sponges looking to take advantage of the labor of others, that they are the leeches and mooches that Ayn Rand raved about.
When my parents divorced in 1971, we three kids went to live with my mom in Salem, Oregon. Mom was out on her own with 3 kids and no education. (She'd started college, but the birth of her first child (me) prevented her from finishing.) Even though Dad paid his child support every month, it wasn't enough to cover all the bills and expenses associated with raising three kids in the 70s.
So Mom decided to go back to school to get her degree. While she was attending Oregon College of Education (which is now called Western Oregon University) she enrolled us in the Food Stamp program. I remember she was embarrassed by it, but felt there was no other way to get by.
Eventually, she earned her teaching certificate and went on to teach in public schools in Oregon and Washington. Each of her three kids also went on to earn college degrees and become productive members of society as well. So, society got a big return on its investment.
I believe our story, the story of my mom and my brother and sister and me, is fairly typical of those who apply for food stamps. To be sure, there are probably people who take advantage of the system. But so what? Which is more egregious: a few people getting something that they don't deserve? Or people with legitimate needs being denied nutrition in this land of plenty?
I don't have a problem with food stamps (the program is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (
What about you, Christians? What about you, Tea Partiers? Does it bother you so much to think that somebody somewhere might get a tax-payer subsidized box of Kraft Mac and Cheese?