When most Americans hear the word inhumane they likely think of human beings so cruel, heartless, and without compassion for misery or suffering of animals that they mistreat them for sheer pleasure. It is highly probable that some Americans who decry cruelty and inhumane treatment of animals are avid supporters of Republicans whose inhumanity towards other Americans, especially hungry children, far exceeds cruel mistreatment of animals. Over the past two weeks Republicans have lined up behind Paul Ryan to support his attack on anti-poverty programs that takes aim at food assistance for the poor with special emphasis on children benefitting from food stamps, school lunches, and Head Start.
There is little argument that Republicans preventing Americans, especially working-poor Americans, from having access to healthcare exposes their lack compassion and is a hallmark of conservative cruelty. But their new effort to take food out of the mouths of Americans and openly targeting hungry children to the delight of their equally inhumane supporters is beyond the pale. Apparently Republicans believe denying children food is a winning campaign strategy going into the 2014 midterm elections and it is likely their inhumane supporters will reward them handsomely.
It is not that Republicans are hungry and need the food that anti-poverty programs provide to hungry children; they simply do not want poor Americans to have basic sustenance because they are cruel savages. Even wild predators do not take food out of the mouths of other animals once their hunger has been satisfied and it is what elevates wild beasts above the heartless beasts in the conservative movement. Perpetuating food insecurity in the poor is an idea Republicans and teabaggers embrace because taking food out of the mouths of the poor, whether working Americans, Veterans, senior citizens or children obviously gives them a high degree of satisfaction.
Conservatives believe the government wastes too much money helping the poor because they believe it is better to spend on subsidies for big oil, churches, corporations, and tax cuts for the richest Americans. According to Republicans, government assistance to feed children with free or reduced-price school lunches, food stamps, and programs such as Head Start is proof of liberals’ unfair wealth redistribution that teaches poor families earning poverty wages to hate their children.
Portraying government assistance recipients as less than human is a hold-over from Republicans’ man-god Reagan that has re-emerged as a dependable dog-whistle that is very popular with conservatives; especially since Americans elected an African American man as President. The popularity of taking food from children among conservatives explains Republican protests that they are tired of giving “those blah people” free stuff using other people’s (read white people) money. Interestingly, it is Southern red states with predominately white Republican voters who take more taxpayer money for food stamps, healthcare, and other “free stuff” who will support Republicans in spite of their promise to take the food out of their own children’s mouths. Americans may remember that in inhumane Mormon country school officials ripped lunch trays away from dozens of elementary school children before they could eat anything, so any American that thinks Republicans will not take food away from poor children has not been paying attention.
The latest Republican to join Paul Ryan’s attack on school lunches is Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) who is a primary candidate in the Georgia Senate race. Kinston argued that poor students must start earning that “free lunch” by forcing them to do janitorial work in school before they get their food. The barbaric Kinston hates the federal school lunch program, but is open to supporting the National School Lunch Program if poor students are forced to work for them to teach small children that nothing is free. Kingston said he talked to the Secretary of Agriculture about forcing the kids to sweep the floor of the cafeteria because “think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.” What Kingston and all Republicans fully understand is that over 60% of school teachers report that students regularly come to school hungry and, as this author can attest, the problem is getting much worse according to a survey by No Kid Hungry. Republicans are anxious to make the problem incredibly worse and there is no doubt if they are able the school lunch program will be abolished if men like Paul Ryan and Kingston have their way.
The National School Lunch Program provides federal assistance for public (and private) schools to offer lunch to children every school day if their household earns below 130 percent of the federal poverty line. The school lunch program provides 17.5 million kids with free or reduced-cost lunches and Republicans lust to take the food away from 17.5 million children. Earning below the poverty line informs that most poor children participating in the program live in households where their parents work earning poverty wages that belies the Republican assertion that able-bodied people are just lazy and exist to mooch off the federal government. Their claim that working poor Americans are lazy fits perfectly with their other claim that liberals decry the dignity of work and are teaching the poor that working at low-wage jobs means they are lazy if their children receive free school lunches. Kingston’s use of “no free school lunches” looks like a rallying cry to marshal support from inhumane conservatives who want the school lunch programs abolished and Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan is leading the charge to take food from children.
It was reported yesterday that Ryan cited a white nationalist’s (Nazi) “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by genetic inferiority.” Ryan said poverty is the result of lazy inner city (read Black) men who refuse to work and expect taxpayers to support them via government assistance. Ryan claimed his focus to combat the ‘lazy Black man problem‘ is “creating work requirements for men in our inner cities” to deal with what he called “the real culture problem in these communities.” However, Ryan can hardly create work requirements when he and Republicans have opposed, obstructed, and outright blocked every attempt to create living-wage jobs and spent the past four years killing millions jobs for sheer sport and to add more Americans to the ranks of poverty.
Ryan has been at the forefront of every Republican plot to increase income inequality by perpetuating the “real conservative culture problem” of keeping Americans in poverty by opposing anti-poverty measures such as raising the minimum wage, opposing unemployment insurance extensions, and voting to abolish overtime pay. It is worth reiterating that Ryan attacked every anti-poverty program in existence in a blatantly false examination of anti-poverty programs over the past 50 years. Ryan, like Kingston, said “We want people to reach their potential and so the dignity of work is very valuable and important and we have to re-emphasize work and reform our welfare programs.” Reforming welfare programs is conservative-speak for abolishing school lunches, food stamps, Head Start, and every program that helps millions of Americans working at poverty-wage jobs that forces them to depend on school lunches and food stamps to feed their hungry families.
It is irrelevant why poor students need programs like Head Start, food stamps, or free school lunches. The Republican concept of abolishing the programs, or eliminating child labor laws to force children to work at school to eat, exposes Republicans and teabaggers as heartless, inhumane, and cruel. It takes an innately cruel human being to deliberately withhold food from hungry children, and Republicans are growing more aggressive in their drive to starve already hungry children. It is a common practice to euthanize aggressive animals that injure or harm people, and yet Republicans are allowed to live when their aggression towards children is no less injurious or cruel than a rabid dog mauling a small child to death; only slower. Human beings readily put-down aggressive animals without giving it a second thought, and there is no justification for not putting down aggressive Republicans for their inhumane treatment of America’s children.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.