North Carolina Republican US Senate candidate Greg Brannon wants to abolish slavery. Well actually he wants to abolish the Department of Agriculture which he thinks enslaves people. In a rambling interview response Brannon argued:
We’re taking our plunder, that’s taken from us as individuals, [giving] it to the government, and the government is now keeping itself in power by giving these goodies away. The answer is the Department of Agriculture should go away at the federal level. And now 80 percent of the farm bill was food stamps. That enslaves people. What you want to do, it’s crazy but it’s true, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish. When you’re at the behest of somebody else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic]. That kind of charity does not make people freer.
Brannon has the endorsement of Kentucky Senator and Republican 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul, and like many Republicans he appears to hold nothing but contempt for the working poor. On the one hand he accuses food stamps of being lazy, and yet on the other hand he argues that they are slaves. Historically slaves were people who worked extraordinarily hard without compensation, and as such they were the antithesis of laziness. The majority of food stamp recipients who are able to work (those who are not disabled, elderly or children) do work. Therefore, nobody is receiving “goodies”. The SNAP program is merely in place so the working poor, the disabled and their children are able to eat.
Feeding people is not a form of slavery. Ironically, if it were a form of slavery, Brannon might just look more favorably upon the SNAP program. After all, last year Bannon co-sponsored a rally with the League of the South, a secessionist group that wants to nullify federal law and create a separate Southern Republic. He also claims his hero is Jesse Helms, the ardent Segregationist Senator who represented North Carolina for many years. Maybe if we can convince Brannon that food stamp aid will bring back the institution of slavery, he might actually support funding the program. Absent that, he again reminds Americans that the Republican Party has become mean-spirited and that Republicans have no interest in helping the poor.