Food Stamps and American Poverty

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No one should judge. It could be them next.

Laurie Works

I’ve had a poem in my head around this subject for a good week-ish now. It all happened after I stopped into Local First Grocer, a local food co-op that only sources local food. I asked if they take EBT, which I have been on up until the end of this month. They said, “not yet.” I knew the cashier and I mentioned something about going off of food stamps soon, and that it was kind of embarrassing.

“No, it isn’t.”

Say what?

You see I’ve bought into the American philosophy, namely this: If I am on food stamps, I am abusing the system, I should have done better, and I should work harder to get myself out of the mess I put myself in.

Nevermind that I am a poor college student who just graduated with $40,000 in student loans. Nope. Nevermind that.

I was still just a broke…

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POVERTY CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE

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True

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

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I didn’t manage to say very much on Channel 5’s The Big Benefits Row, beyond an opening remark about people not being able to just rock up to a food bank with a carrier bag and help themselves. I started to talk about the Trussell Trust when Edwina Currie, also on my panel, cut over me to talk about my grandfather’s circumstances.

I wanted to say that poverty is almost indescribable to Edwina and co with their blinkered, self-righteous attitudes. That turning off the fridge because it’s empty anyway, that sitting across the table from your young son enviously staring down his breakfast, having freezing cold showers and putting your child to bed in god knows how many layers of clothes in the evening – it’s distressing. Depressing. Destabilising.

Imagine living for 11 weeks with no housing benefit, because of “delays”. Imagine those 77 days of being chased for rent…

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What Happened to Please and Thank You are they even in the dictionary anymore??

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I agree. There are far fewer manners in all walks of life in America today. It is a shame.

Thought's By Danny

When I walk into a shop (as for everyone else they may have a different view on this) it’s nice to be greeted with a smile, when you walk to the counter it’s nice to have the shop assistant say Please and Thank You rather than be on Facebook on their phone most probably posting about how boring their day is and to top it off gives you a look that you have bothered them because you wanted to buy something in the shop they’re working in! 

People no longer seem to grasp the concept of a queue whereupon the person at the front gets served first (I know that’s shocking stuff!) Don’t think that browsing chocolate bars near the front of the counter then pushing your way to the front of the queue casually is going unnoticed because its not, in fact it makes you look like an asshole!.

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The New Sensibilities

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Every generation, era, or political season has left its mark on the world.  I would like to ask the Tea Party what positive mark they have left on the world, the United States, the citizens, and their families.  Have they done anything that their family can be proud of?  Have they done anything to make the lives of the citizens better?  Have they done anything to mark progress in the United States?  Have they made the world think more highly of Americans or America?

I think it is easy to say, from my point of view, that the answer to all questions above is no.  They have not done any good work for the preservation of the United States in the way of Community.  In fact, they have done their best to divide the citizens of the United States.  They would not negotiate.  They did not want to make peace.  They just wanted to have their own way.  The world looks at the United States of America as a laughing stock.  They do not look upon us as the leader of the free world.  They look upon us as a backward nation that has not yet been able to decide if we are a developing nation or if we are, indeed, a strong and undivided country.

 And their families, I guess they would have to be proud.  Though I have no idea why.  Their opinions of women date back to the 1950’s and Jim Crow.  They believe that the white, Christian, heterosexual men should rule the world.  That anyone should be able to be different than they are is unthinkable in their minds.

Yet here we are.  Women, Gays, All colors of the rainbow, and religions of the world.  I like the world this way.  It is more interesting.  More uniquely American.  That is why America was started.  Religious freedom, all religions, not just one.  People who thought or looked differently could come here and find a good life.  They were our fore- bearers.  The people who first fought and died so we could live our lives as we saw fit.  Without intervention from a royal entity or as in today’s world, The Tea Party.

Our fore-bearers could not conceive of the world we live in today.  But they would probably be proud of us for fighting not only for white liberty, heterosexual liberty and Christian liberty, but for the liberty of all people’s.  They would be the first to help neighbors in need, even if their neighbors came in numbers too large for them to believe, but they would have adapted.  Because they were hardy and open minded people.  They struck out to a new and hostile world to make a better life for us.

Now our hostiles come from within.  They are the people who are so comfortable being them, that they cannot imagine how others could be different.  They do not want to help anyone else.  They do not want to share.  They feel it is good manners to call people horrible names in the name of God and Country.

This has to stop.  I do not want God or my Country to be the fall guy in a war manipulated by unpleasant people who cannot seem to see they are as outdated as dinosaurs and mean to boot.  We are here to stay.  All sexes, colors, religions and sexual preferences.  We have a right to be here and to be who we want to be.  No matter what that is-unless we are invading others rights.  

I do not ever remember anyone saying you couldn’t be a Christian.  I don’t remember anyone saying you couldn’t be a bigot.  I don’t remember anyone saying that you couldn’t be against abortion.  But you on the other hand have told us that you will not allow us to make up our own minds without your loud and unmannerly interference in our lives.   Go back to your homes.  Discuss your feelings and unhappiness in the privacy of your dining rooms.  Cease and desist your loud and gauche parading, with guns, in stores and restaurants where you make people uncomfortable and scare little children.  Don’t advertise your bigotry.  Don’t force your opinions down our throats.  And then I will go back to not thinking about you at all.  

So to all who have picked up the “Don’t tread on me” mantra,  this is me saying if you don’t want me to tread on you, then you should stop treading on me and everyone else that you seem to think is out to get you.