Minnesota State Representative Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) recently shared a funny with her constituents:
“Last week, we worked on some welfare reform bills. And here, you know, it’s kind of ironic I’ll review this little funny clip that we got from a friend. And it says ‘Isn’t it ironic that the Food Stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of Food Stamps ever. Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, (smirk) because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.‘”
My goodness, but that IS a “funny little clip,” isn’t it?!
Just as it has ignored outrageous Bachmannisms over the years, Minnesota’s mainstream newspapers ignored this gem. That’s too bad. It could have been a teachable moment. Because when you strip away the breathtakingly dehumanizing language, you learn who these “animals” are:
▪ 47% are children under age 18.
▪ 8% are age 60 or older.
▪ 94% are U.S. born citizens.
▪ 41% live in a household with earnings from a job, which is not to diminish the plight of those in an even more difficult position, because they can’t find a job.
In other words, these “animals” are the kids at your neighborhood school, the disabled senior down the street, and the women making the minimum wage to clean your public restrooms.
And they are receiving an average food stamp benefit of $1.05 per person per meal, hardly a level that would tempt anyone to intentionally linger living in poverty.
Sometimes the only upside of preposterous poitical polemics is that they serve to raise awareness about reality in America. But first, the media has to be paying attention.
Post Publication Note: I see that the Star Tribune DID post a story on their Hotdish Politics blog. Pretty thin coverage, but coverage. I’m not sure if it ran in the newspaper. My mistake. I didn’t see it in my initial Google.