Let Them Not Eat

What does it take to bring a member of the U.S. House of Representatives to get up in the morning, go to work, and vote to cut $40 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? [1] What is the motivation? How much self reflection is involved?

What politics must do to the soul! It drives people to do such things as authorize the killing of infants by that process euphemistically called abortion, it leads them to decide that attacking nations that have not committed an act of war against us, with the inevitable civilian casualties, is the better part of wisdom, and it provides them with what looks to them as a rationale for cutting funds that will feed hungry children.

How do they do it?

It seems that some of them aren’t even afraid to claim that God approves of their actions. One representative quoted the entirely inapplicable biblical passage where it is said, “he who will not work, let him not eat,” in support of his vote to cut funds. [2]   

Perhaps he is unaware that many SNAP recipients do, in fact, work, and that many of those are in the military. [3] It seems he also is unaware that there are fewer jobs around than people to fill them, a permanent feature of our economy. Clearly he can’t be cognizant of the fact 83% of all SNAP benefits go to households that include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. [4] People like that can’t get jobs.

But that’s the rhetoric that gets utilized to drum up support for such draconian actions on the part of our public servants. The continuing myth is that anyone who receives anything like welfare is lazy and shiftless, refusing to work, living on government largesse. It has been an ongoing piece of demagoguery that has incited many to get behind such actions, and which shows remarkable staying power in the face of a weak economy, high unemployment, and declining wages.

What a certain segment of the the political class in our country has managed to accomplish is to turn American citizens against each other, and to successfully cast blame for the national ills on the most vulnerable. They have taken the cheap route and paved their way to power by utilizing the politics of hate. In a word, they have plundered the nations solidarity to provide themselves useful propaganda.

This measure by the House of Representatives has no chance of getting through the Senate. That’s a good thing. Cutting food aid to the needy is a hateful thing to do. And, Bible quotes notwithstanding, it is certainly not a Christian thing to do. The representatives who voted for this abomination, and the voters who put them in office, need to take a personal inventory.

Jack Quirk