Conservatives, Republican-Fail, Republicans — September 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

Republicans channel their inner Henry Potter, deny a helping hand up to the nation’s blah people


Woe be to the discontented, lazy rabble with heads filled with impossible ideas (like eating)

Yesterday, on a nearly party line vote of 217-210, House Republicans passed a bill that would strip $40 billion out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, over the next 10 years. As Amy pointed out earlier this week, if enacted, this bill will starve both people and our economy. Only 15 Republicans voted against it, joined by every single Democrat.

Today I’m reposting a piece I wrote during the 2012 campaign titled “I was born a poor blah child”. In that piece, I described how, when I was a grade schooler, we were on food stamps as well as other government assistance programs, for a time. My mother was a single mom with two young boys, going to school to earn a college degree. She needed that help up to be able to complete her degree. Before she died, she not only got her degree but became an executive at the Chrysler Corporation.

It was the leg up she got from food stamps and other programs that kept food on our table and allowed her to go on to repay the help she received many times over.

What the Republicans have shown to America with this vote is that they are far more interested in protecting the wealthy than they are America’s most needy citizens. They are forcing our country’s poorest people to pay for the financial crisis created by our country’s richest people. As LOLGOP puts it, America’s poor people are in a Great Depression while America’s rich people are experiencing a Gilded Age. Rather than helping them to get back on their feet and making that investment in the American people, Republicans are kicking poor people, a group with almost zero political power or voice, while they are down.

I was born a poor blah child

Originally publish January 7, 2012

By now you’ve likely heard about Rick Santorum‘s offensive statement to a group of supporters in Iowa.

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” Santorum begins. “I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care.

Here’s the video:

Santorum is now denying he said “black people”. According to him, what he really said was (I still cannot believe this) “blah people”.

“I’ve looked at that quote, in fact I looked at the video,” Santorum argued. “In fact, I’m pretty confident I didn’t say black. What I think — I started to say a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — mumbled it and sort of changed my thought.”

Ah, yes. The Blah People. As it turns out, I myself was born a poor blah child.

My mother was 16 when she got pregnant with me. Taking calculus and German in high school she dropped out, ignored her priest’s suggestion that she give me up for adoption and become a nun, and went on to raise me and my brother. By the time I was eight, she had gotten her GED and was attending Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A single mom with two young boys, we struggled. She worked a few hours a week at the local K-Mart but there wasn’t a hell of a lot of time for her to work. She had college classes to attend, studying, and, of course, two sons to raise.

So, yeah, we were Blah People. We got food stamps. My mom got welfare checks. We even got those charity Christmas gifts delivered to our door because we got on someone’s list somewhere. My mom was young, gifted, and blah.

My mom didn’t need a job at that moment. What she needed was some help so that she could finish her education and move up in the world. Welfare and food stamps were what allowed that to happen.

By the time she passed away at the tragically young age of 55, she had become a well-paid executive at Chrysler and retired early with a handsome pension. In her life, she easily repaid in taxes every cent (and then some) of the welfare she had received.

She didn’t look at welfare as “other people’s money”. She looked at it as a ladder to a new life. And it was.

Of course, Mr. Santorum is right. Lots of Blah People do need jobs. But many of them just need a little help to get them down the road to a better place. That’s what we do in this country — we help each other out. At least that’s what we used to do in this country until the selfish, heartless tea party Scrooges took control. If they were to get their way, we’d all look out for ourselves and screw our neighbors. They characterize welfare the same way Henry Potter did in It’s a Wonderful Life:

What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.

I was born a poor Blah child. My mom was a starry-eyed dreamer with a head full of impossible ideas. Thank Goddess for that.

[Henry Potter drawing by That’s My Story | Wikimedia Commons, Eclectameme by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]