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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

VIDEO: No soup for you, kid


The disdain that Republicans have for the poor is unbelievably inhumane. And yet it seems that they hate poor kids most of all, especially when those hungry kids get a meal in their bellies during the school day.

That’s exactly how Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston feels. Apparently, Kingston loathes the school lunch program and wants to replace it with one of two systems. One, a system in which schools shakedown poor kids for any spare change they may have on them. Or two, the school forces poor kids to work for food while their friends and peers watch.

Kingston made the heartless remarks last weekend while speaking to the Jackson County Republican Party.


“I’m on the Agriculture Committee,” Kingston began. “We have jurisdiction over the school lunch. School lunch program is very expensive. But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria- and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But 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.”

Here’s the video via Raw Story:

 

Attacking poor kids and school meals has become a Republican sport.

Picking on poor kids seems to have become a sport within Republican Party politics. It won’t be long until one of them actually suggests a “Hunger Games” scenario in which poor kids fight to the death for scraps. From conservative radio to Fox News to GOP politicians, the hatred of a poor kid eating a meal is a epidemic throughout the right-wing.

In 2011, Rush Limbaugh openly stated on his radio show that poor kids should starve at school if they can’t afford to pay for a meal. Just three months ago, a guest on Fox News called for denying meals to poor children to punish their parents for being poor.

Two months after that, a school in Texas actually forced a student to toss his breakfast into the garbage in an effort to bully him out of 30 cents. Obviously, this sick plan to punish poor kids is escalating.

And it all goes back to a man named Newt. In December 2011, then-Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said schools should force poor kids to work as janitors if they want to eat. Keep in mind that voters not only rejected Gingrich afterwards in the primary, but went on to reject the GOP during the 2012 general election.

But since then, other Republicans have followed the same line. In April, a West Virginia Republican made a similar call. And now, Georgia Republican Jack Kingston is doing the same. Did I mention that he also wants a Senate seat? Yet this guy has the nerve to call for forcing kids to work for their meals when what they should be doing is focusing on school work. Coincidentally, in order to have that focus, kids need adequate nutrition.

Kids need food in order to focus on learning in school.

Studies show that children who are hungry have more difficulty concentrating in school and do not perform nearly as well as they could on a full stomach. Research also shows that brain growth is permanently affected by lack of nutrition. It makes one wonder how much these current members of the GOP had to eat when they were young. Because if they were well fed, their brains certainly don’t act like it.

School is about math, history, reading, science and the like. It’s not about working. Work is what education is supposed to prepare kids for. But if kids are forced to work for every school meal, how are they supposed to find time for their studies? Furthermore, forcing kids to work for their food humiliates them in front of their classmates. Basically, the school would be punishing kids just for being poor. One could also call it involuntary servitude as well since the school would be forcing a kid to work.

Republicans are also attacking conservative parents when they attack poor kids.

Proposing idiotic ideas like this represents a true risk. Not just to the kids and families who would be affected by them, but to Republicans as well. As it turns out, many of the children Republicans want to take school meals from are those who have conservative parents. Oops.

You see, when Republicans cut food stamps this past summer, a wonderful chart from Pew Research pointed out that the states most affected were those run by the GOP. In short, most of the people who need food assistance the most live in red states, which means a good number of them are also conservative voters. And if many conservative voters need food stamps, it’s a safe bet that their children rely on the school lunch program.

By taking away school lunches away from poor children, Republicans are once again punishing many of their own voters. The GOP assumes that most children must be the offspring of liberals. That’s a fatal mistake considering that being poor cuts across party lines. Poverty affects Democrats and Republicans alike. 

But while both liberal and conservative parents are struggling to get by, Republican politicians like Jack Kingston are calling for punishing them and their kids. It’s said that parents will do anything to protect their children. I wonder if that means conservative parents are willing to vote against a heartless Republican who wants their kids to go hungry.