Food Is A Human Right

Prairie Fires: The American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

Delegate Tom Fast, a Republican lawmaker who sponsored a bill in 2018 that restored work requirements for food stamps statewide, said he considered the policy a success. “The information I have is that there’s been significant savings over all,” he said, coupling that with a low unemployment rate as evidence that the policy was working.

“If a person just chooses not to work, which those are the people that were targeted, they’re not going to get a free ride,” he said. Of people who are facing concrete obstacles to steady work, like a lack of transportation, he added: “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“What Happened When a State Made Food Stamps Harder to Get”, Campbell Robertson writing for The New York Times, 1/14/2020

Remember grasshoppers in On The Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder? If you don’t, it’s ok. I do and I’ll tell you about them.

In On The Banks of Plum Creek, Wilder describes how, in several successive growing seasons in Minnesota, swarms of locusts arrived and ate all the plants. Literally, every plant in a farmer’s field would be eaten by these bugs They were everywhere. Wilder described a grasshopper infested hellscape where the insects would eat the clothing off a person’s body if that’s where they landed.

What Wilder didn’t know at the time was that mutli-year infestation of Rocky Mountain locusts was one of the worst insect disasters in the history of humanity. It was an unparalleled – and unavoidable – disaster that affected the entirety of the Great Plains.

Now, if you will turn your attention to the photo posted above, you can see a record of how the governor of Minnesota responded to the fact that the rural areas of his state were both destitute and starving. Yes, that’t right. He offered thoughts and prayers. And the pundit class of the day wrote that farmers were just being lazy and didn’t deserve help.

Gosh. Where have we heard that one before?

Oh! I know! In today’s New York Times! There was a long article about how imposing work requirements for food stamps has reduced the rolls of food-stamp eligible people without resulting in greater levels of employment for them. So they’re still out of work and now they’re also starving!

But don’t worry. A Republican lawmaker from West Virginia says they’ll all figure it out. “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” he opines.

Here is my etremelty complicated and nuanced feminist take on this. Ready? Ahem. Here goes.

FOOD SHOULD BE A HUMAN RIGHT.

Did that make sense?

I do not give one single fuck why a person is hungry. Recently fired? Buried under other bills? Disability? Poverty? Laziness? They’re not actually in need at all but trying to game a system? WHO THE FUCK CARES? JUST FUCKING FEED PEOPLE!

Don’t come whinging at me saying feeding everyone who wants food is expensive. Blowing up Iran will also be expensive but no one is worried about that. Hell, Trump just reallocated $7 billion in other military funds to building a wall that won’t work. It would cost a lot less to, say, implement universal school lunches for all public school students.

There is no criteria for “deserving” food. If you are a human, you need to eat. For our leaders to suggest differently is immoral.

Meanwhile, until we get moral leadership, we all need to support food banks. They exist in every part of America and all of them would gratefully accept any contribution you can give. Money, food, or time is all helpful. Give what you can.

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