Tuesday :: Apr 1, 2008

10% of New Yorkers on Food Stamps

by paradox

Among all the great gifts that Earth has bestowed upon us, what is the greatest natural resource in the United States of America?

It’s an excellent question, I think, in gauging the corporate influence over our journalism and entertainment industries, the vehicles we use to tell stories about ourselves and keep informed on what we think is important. This particular question is of the utmost, primal importance to the health of any country, no nation has ever survived when they ignored it or got it wrong.

The greatest natural resource in America is not her oil, her forests, minerals or soils. The primary natural resource for America is her people, the humans living and contributing to everyone’s benefit within the nation’s borders. Always has been, always will be.

It’s been obvious for a long time Republican leadership could give a damn about the welfare of humans in any of their profitable, violent misadventures, not in the will of their votes, their voices in polls, their smashed communities in New Orleans, grieving Gold Star families, or hundreds of millions suffering from unemployment or no health insurance. So?

10% of all New Yorkers now get food stamps. It’s an amazingly high number that will shock a lot of Americans, so that isn’t the corporate headline: food stamp use near record. In Rhode Island the percentage is 8.4 and the reporter plainly says so, but just a paragraph later hides the New York percentage by using a ratio. The New York Times has learned the bidding of its corporate master very well.

Naturally in this tragic story of manifest pain and outrage there isn’t a tale or quote from an actual human on food stamps, heavens no, in America human abuse is denied by well-fed experts, so although a reader will get confused they won’t hear a story of hunger, of opportunities lost and denied, of gut-wrenching wailing pain as homes are shuttered, families torn apart, relationships sundered as bewildered, neglected children look on, soon to learn the human lessons being taught them very well.

No stories of a simple, preventable health problem literally bringing down a life and household because there was no health insurance, but eventually there were food stamps. No stories of being stuck at Pendleton for two years as your husband fights for his life in uniform but his wife and kids are on food stamps because of California prices. No stories of giving everything you had for fifty hours a week but then plant shut down and there are no new jobs, anywhere. Food stamps, yes, but no job, not for you, American, no.

A lost marriage or relationship of searing pain and often savage fighting because along with everything else you just couldn’t handle a spiral into poverty, that often arrives with food stamps. Watching your children as you endlessly tell then No for any request that requires money, telling yourself you aren’t abusing them somehow in the land of milk and honey as you dress them in used clothes, that’s a very common food stamp story. Perhaps your precious body, the only one every given to you in this life, is broken and sick, it might never get better, pain and isolation constant partners in a crippled life nourished somehow on $100 a month, that too is a common tale of food stamps.

Worst of all are the stories of Americans who tried hard all their lives, did the right thing but when things went horribly wrong through absolutely no fault of their own gave up, what didn’t kill them didn’t make them stronger, not by a long shot. The pathetic band-aid of food stamps isn’t ever going to rescue a soul lost to alcoholism, to mental illness, to plain sick grief of ever having to put up with all the savage, endless, sickening pain America busted your ass to.

When record numbers of your brothers and sisters have joined you at the homeless shelters and food pantries, lines stretching around city blocks, yet the real plain truth of what’s happening hidden in the liberal record paper of the land, you got the message on what your American life is really worth, yeah.

Perhaps that’s why the national suicide rate for women leapt a nauseating, horrifying 31% 1999-2004. Going on food stamps isn’t the only way to get the message your life isn’t worth a damn when your country forgets that its crown jewels of existence are the lives and souls of each of its citizens.

I know as I breathe this moment I will never give up on making the Democratic Party live that fact with policy for our people, not the defense industry, and never let the Republicans and New York Times forget it by keeping them out of power and raising my voice as much as I can.

Perhaps one day every American leader will instantly know what the nation’s most precious natural resource is, and will never be so idiotically stupid as to try and make Americans forget it. Perhaps—there is a long way to go. They’re about to find out in November that at least the process has very much started.

paradox :: 5:47 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!