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 lessons. They 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 ideas. What 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.
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