The news out of Washington never fails to amaze me. The last few weeks have been no exception.
There is hunger in America. More hunger than we can possibly know, or imagine, and our government in D.C. has found now to be a good time to balance the books on the backs of the hungry. Politicians are spouting rhetoric that is unfounded about illegal immigrants receiving benefits. (They can't as they are not eligible) We hear about fraud in SNAP, and there is more fraud in Social Security as well as in Medicare. We hear stories of people buying lobster and steak using Supplemental Nutrition Benefits.
There are countless other excuses. And that is what they are excuses!
The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.
Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Esther Friedman)
How much character do we, as Americans, honestly have?
We as a nation, have chosen to allow government to turn poverty into a crime! I have been poor. My family has been poor. At one point in time we used Food Stamps and qualified for reduced price lunches at school. It is doubtful my parents would even had applied for assistance had they been forced to undergo drug testing. Not because they were using drugs. (They were not) but because of the cost associated with the testing and the shame and stigma attached to the process. They were mortified enough due to simply needing assistance - that would have just compounded the issue.
If you want drug testing for benefits fine. Everyone on Medicare and Social Security needs to be drug tested as well. The same for anyone employed by the government. My taxes pay for those so why not? We are willing to put undue hardship on others but can we handle it as well?
What happens when a parent tests positive for drugs? We no longer allow their children to eat? Oh, wait...they are children of druggies so they don't matter? Really? Now the only meal those children will get will be when they go to school? Are we going to take children away from parents who test positive? How is this all supposed to work?
My family did not abuse the system. Why do we automatically assume that others lack the integrity to responsibly use SNAP benefits? Because someone in D.C. said so? Because we read about rampant fraud and do not bother to check the facts- in any way?
Hunger and poverty have become partisan political issues in the United States. We, as a nation, have chosen leaders focused not on the well being of the people but on their own political agendas. It is more important to "one up" the other party than to work to resolve issues. It is all about how the story spins in the media, not about protecting the rights of those they have been elected to serve. This story spins, and spins! We hear of "entitlements" and the surfer dude buying lobster. We rarely hear about poverty ridden areas where over 90% of children in school qualify for free or reduced price lunches.
This is not just other people in the "inner cities." These are your neighbors, your coworkers or even your family. Oh, you say but they don't abuse the system like the "others". Who are the "others"?? Tell me, please! The "others" are all around us. They are the elderly, the single mom down the street working two jobs, the young American Soldier living off base with a family or it could be you after a job loss or a medical crisis.
We can afford to pay for a space program, the world most hi-tech weaponry and countless staff for all of elected leaders. Yet, we allow people to be hungry. Can someone explain this to me?
There is not room on this blog to dispel all of the myths and rampant misinformation about SNAP benefits and hunger. The link below takes you to the Feeding America website and it rationally discusses the myths and realities of SNAP Benefits in the United States. Everyone should take the time to read this.
Sure, the Feeding America website has a bias. However, they have cited RELIABLE sources for every one of the myths they dispel on the website.
Churches and hunger groups are struggling now with feeding those in need and we want them to take on even more? When will the craziness end? Because I don't see the end anywhere in sight!