Paul Ryan Wants Bagged Lunches of Republican Ideas

ryans vampire tax planYou may want to sit down for this one:

I agree with Paul Ryan. If given the options and the means to make bagged lunches for my child every day or have her eat school cafeteria food, I would choose to bag them.

Whoa! I can hear the booing and the hissing through my cheap laptop. But notice how that sentence was phrased, “If given… the means…”


A little context. One-time VP-hopeful and Eternal Vampire Cheerleader Congressman Paul Ryan (R- WI) was speaking to Vampire Cheerleader Central (aka CPAC) about how awesome conservatives and blood-sucking are. He told a story related to him by Vampire-Enabler Governor Scott “Scooty” Walker’s Secretary for the Dept of Child and Family Services, Eloise Anderson. Ms. Anderson, to be honest, probably shouldn’t be entrusted with the necks of impoverished school children.

She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program.

He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

Later that day, we find that the words of the kid in the story are identical to the words of a character in an inspirational book. Where I work, we call this plagiarizing. But political libertarians and their free-market words-liberation, y’know.

The book, An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny, is an inspirational book an affluent woman and the homeless child she befriends. At one point, Miss Laura asks Maurice if he’d rather that she give him money for his school lunches or if they go shopping and make the lunches at her place.

“Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag.”

“Okay, sure. But why do you want it in a bag?”

“Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?”

We could give Ryan and Anderson the benefit of the doubt. There could have been a “very poor” kid and Anderson could have actually met this kid (while applying copious amounts of hand sanitizer and covering her mouth from fear of catching Poors Cooties). This kid could have read or heard this story and it could have struck a nerve and given him the vocabulary needed to express his hopes and dreams. That could have been the case – though it seems unlikely that a book with so many prominent endorsements by so many social conservatives about the generosity of the rich would have been read by a kid instead of read by Eloise Anderson or someone from her staff. In either case, nothing excuses the fact that the truth of the story is horribly ripped from its horrible context.

Ryan suggests in this telling that the child is not loved and he knows he’s not loved because the government has to buy his lunch. Ryan, in his telling, is also imposing a belief that the poor child, being poor, is neglected. This is why we cannot trust story-telling to politicians – they turn real people with real complexities into their own freaking object lessonsThey turn the lives of poor people into weapons to use against people in poverty.

Ryan also insists that while Democrats offer free meals, Republicans are better because they offer ideasWhat Republican ideas are kids supposed to eat? Do any of these ideas include raising the standard of living for this child’s family? Republicans are working hard resisting the idea of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. $10.10 an hour is not enough for a single person to make the standard of living in Chicago.  It is definitely not enough to bag lunches for children. And the only ideas Republicans have to counter are to reduce food stamps? Eliminate the minimum wage?

So, for far too many of us, we don’t have the option of bagging lunches.

Paul Ryan and his Vampire Cult want our children to go to school with bagged lunches full of Republican ideas. Because food is for the rich.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


Facebook comments

  • Pipercat

    It’s not Scooty, it’s Governor Hairplug!!!

  • Sandy Greer

    In school I wanted the cafeteria food.

    Yeah, I know it’s not as ‘nutritious’ as what I can bring from home…

    But it wasn’t crushed, among my books. Wasn’t crammed into my locker. And every day, something different was served.

    So even as a kid, I liked eating ‘out’. 😉

  • Mama

    I have a lunch box and reusable container that I would love to fill for my son every night before going to bed, but I can’t. Despite my best efforts of homemade vegetable soups and baked quick breads, we don’t have enough food for all three meals. I trust in our government to help provide him with a nutritious lunch and am fully aware of the challenges snow days and school vacation presents me. I, like many low income parents, am doing all I can.

    • It’s so freaking heartbreaking. This is how I grew up. I have seasons like this. It’s not easy at all being poor. Screw these jerks. Bless you.

      • Sandy Greer

        It’s what hate most about The Right: The ‘begrudging’ of others. Always so worried somebody else is getting a little more, and some of their tax dollars might have to pay for it.

    • Sandy Greer

      I had three things to wear, in eighth grade; we ate pancakes for dinner, sometimes, towards the end of the week. So I guess we were relatively poor.

      But what I remember most is that I was loved by my parents. I never really felt ‘deprived’, even though I didn’t have all some other kids had.

      So, you love you son, that’s what he’s going to remember.

      And, ask any kid, he’ll tell you: He’d rather get his lunch at school, than bring it from home.

  • Edward Krebbs

    Somewhat quibbling about the ‘lunches of repub ideas’ – but repubs are also removing programs that allow non-1% kids to attend higher education. The repubs don’t want ideas either.

    Or to put it another way, the repubs don’t want ideas. They want strawman arguments to obstruct and to disguise what they are really doing.

  • wave103

    I’ve noticed, no matter how poor some kids are they always appreciate the little things in life like having a loving family or playing with friends. And for being grateful that they have something to eat and someplace to live in.

  • Grazel

    Personally I prefered school lunches growing up, whether paid for by qualifying for free lunch, or paid for with money from one of my parents. Bag lunches were never appealing to me (whether bagged or in a lunchbox) because they were cold and often barely edible by the time lunch came around. I liked having hot food to eat even if it wasn’t the best quality, especially pizza and salisbury steak days, with fishstick day being the next best thing. The only school lunch I never cared for was mac&cheese day because it was more like pasta & powder day. I didn’t see getting free lunch, or having lunch money given to me as being less loved or cared for than a bagged lunch, and actually I felt the bagged lunch was kind of the “here’s a pb&j sandwich and a banana because we can’t afford a hot meal for you” moment. Bagged lunches made me feel poor (not unloved, just poor). At least in the schools I went to only the poor kids had bagged lunches, the rest had a school-provided, parent-paid-for lunch.