May 21, 2014

Republicans' New Target: Kids

Politics is a bloodsport. Anyone who thinks otherwise really hasn't been paying attention. But you'd like to think there were some limits. Kids, for instance. You'd like to think that targeting children in bills would be off-limits. Because, you know, they're kids.

Well, don't fool yourself. GOP members in the House, known for their high-levels of assholery to begin with, have reached new heights of being assholes.
I'm not sure why this isn't a bigger deal. I hadn't heard about it other than in this brief passage tucked away in a Politico article about the House GOP agriculture bill. But it takes a small program intended provide meals to children in the school lunch program during the summer months and says it can now only be used to benefit kids in "rural areas".
This is a program that dovetails off of the "Head Start" programs that help to make sure that kids get breakfast and lunch at school if they qualify. Because kids going hungry is not only morally repugnant, but it negatively impacts their ability to learn. This program simply makes sure that these kids eat in the summer as well. This should be pretty non-controversial. But no one should be surprised that the Republicans have decided to make it very controversial indeed.

So why should only "rural" kids benefit from this program? I am sure that Republicans have some wonderfully vague and nondescript talking points. But here are the real reasons:
  1. Rural kids live in rural families in rural areas that tend to vote Republican. Urban kids live in urban families in urban areas that tend to vote Democratic.
  2. Rural families tend to be white. Urban families tend to be non-white.

Sorry kid, but giving you lunch is a step too far for the GOP

Argue all you want against those two statements. But at the end of the day, it fits with the way the modern Republican Party works.

And here is a bonus reason. The reason the Republican party gets poor white people to vote against their best interests and voting Republican is by using coded racist language and appeals to racial fears (e.g. immigration). Had the Republicans killed funding for this altogether, then poor whites and non-whites alike would have a common reason to attack the Republican Party. And the last thing they ever want is poor people, regardless of race or ethnicity, coming together in common cause.

So, you "divide and conquer". They write-in the program for poor, white rural families and cast urban residents to the side. The divide is kept intact. And, when someone inevitably points out that this is bullshit and urban kids count too, the Republicans can talk about immigrants and/or the lazy poor getting "your" benefits. Which reinforces the white/non-white divide in the lower class.

When Jesus said "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me", he didn't mean "make them suffer". Someone should clue the GOP into that.


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