Sunday, May 28, 2017

Is Every American Entitled to Eat? Or to Receive Health Care?

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The Trump administration is proposing steep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or "food stamps" as it is more commonly known, and while America's farming and agricultural communities tend to be on the conservative end of the political spectrum, many farmers support the concept of nutritional assistance, or food stamps,  because it is one more market for what they produce, and it tends to help stabilize market prices in their favor.  That reality places legislators from farming communities in a precarious position as they struggle on the one hand to kowtow to their farming constituents, and on the other hand to keep their lips firmly attached to the plump posterior of the politician who excites such passion among rural voters.  Does pleasing Trump trump meeting the economic and nutritional needs of an important part of their constituency back home?

Yesterday morning that dilemma played out over the radio as NPR's Scott Simon interviewed Congressman Adrian Smith from the farm state of Nebraska.  Simon wanted the congressman's views on Trump's proposed cuts to the food stamp program, but getting a straight answer from the waffling politician proved too much for the seasoned radio correspondent.  Finally, an exasperated Scott Simon said, "Let me ask you this bluntly:  Is every American entitled to eat?"  Simon, in fact, wound up asking the question three times - and never getting a direct answer from Congressman Smith.

Adrian Smith, who once attended Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is a member of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, undoubtedly regards himself as a good Christian, yet he could not bring himself to publicly support the concept of every American having a right to nourishment.

Jesus would have probably shown no hesitancy in offering up an opinion on the subject.

My own area, a rural segment of southern Missouri, is also represented by a man named "Smith" in Congress.  Jason Smith is a Sunday School teacher and lawyer who represents Missouri's 8th district as a Republican in Congress.  Our Mr. Smith has been an outspoken supporter of all things Donald Trump, and never misses an opportunity to carry water for the obese New Yorker,  Jason Smith appeared to be absolutely joyous in photos taken of him at the Trumpcare victory party put on by the White House in early May - a celebration of legislation that will remove health insurance from millions of Americans.  (For the past couple of weeks, though, Trump's name has been conspicuously absent from Jason Smith's weekly newsletters to the folks back home, no doubt highlighting Smith's concerns as Trump keeps digging his political hole wider and deeper.)

Still, nothing says GOP values like a continuing disdain for the neediest among us.

The quality of "Mr. Smiths" who go to Washington has slipped markedly since Jimmy Stewart's time!

1 comment:

Don said...

It's hard to believe that even the most hard-core Republican could actually believe that poverty is the result of poor choices or that, unlike the rest of the western world, Americans should refuse decent health care to its citizens as a matter of fundamental human rights.

And I wonder what those of the GOP persuasion talk about with each other during prayer services or what they tell their children about how to treat those less fortunate than they.