America has sold itself as a loving and giving nation. We feed and rescue the less fortunate on a global status. Our television broadcasts shows of starving children. The malnutritioned children, with swollen bellies, cry out in filthy, bug ridden, exploitation. Our tears fall. We dig deep in our pockets, to send whatever we can, to make ourselves feel better. We shake our heads in pity at life in third world nations. All the while, we don’t realize that starvation in our own country is growing. It isn’t aired, there are no global donations, no adopt an American child, picture enclosed, programs for our hungry and homeless. Yet, as we send donations to rescue the less fortunate in other countries, we try to cut funding for our own, as we scream, Get a job!
So many Americans believe there is no reason for American starvation. The starving Americans are at fault and they need to work. That’s the solution. People refuse to look at the total picture, and when the evidence is put in their face, they close their eyes and turn their heads while uttering: It’s because of Obama.
Somewhere between breaking collective bargaining and a desperate economy, we have come to believe that a $10 an hour job is sufficient. (A $10 an hour job falls $1 below the national poverty line.) The mindset is gratuity, period. We defend the fifty year high of corporate profits, and bash the president for the equally high unemployment rate.
Doesn’t the reality that 46,405,204 Americans are collecting food stamps convincingly paint the picture of poverty in our nation? For some, the visual is overweight, lazy, black, Hispanic, Arabic, drug addicted, people who are baby machines, kicking out children to earn money on the system. Others believe massive fraud is taking place; people aren’t entitled, they are raping the system, cheating. These things are simply untrue. The fraud rate is down from 56 percent to 1 percent. That’s statistically insignificant. Meanwhile, one in five people struggles with a shortage of food. One in three is eligible for food assistance, but doesn’t apply, probably out of false pride, shame.
Even many of our best educated, struggling to repay crippling student loans, find themselves below the poverty line: there are 293,209 people with Master’s degrees and 33,655 PhDs dependent on food stamps! We have underemployed people trying to support their families on minimum wage, burdened with paying child care, medical care, and transportation costs. Every single mother struggles; many are earning minimum wage or less. Even if they are lucky enough to receive child support, still they can’t afford to buy food for their children. They count their saved milk, bread, and egg money to put in their gas tanks to make it to their low-paying jobs. These are not lazy people who can be put in a color class. They can’t be put in a class of white/black/Arab/ or Hispanic. The fact is they are Americans who would starve without the food assistance program, no matter how hard they try to work their way out of the hole they have been pushed into.
Although there aren’t any numbers I can point to to prove it, I think it’s a safe bet that the majority of food stamp recipients would gladly take a job that would give them the ability to feed their children and handle all of their other living expenses without having to deal with DPS. We are Americans; we don’t want to admit we have to use the system. We hang our heads in shame, blaming ourselves for our personal failures, don’t we? There is no shame to be had. We are loving people. We will care for our children at any and all costs to ourselves. That’s what we do as parents.