The Farm Bill, and the GOP longing for the days of slavery

The Farm Bill, and the GOP longing for the days of slavery
A plantation from the Antebellum South, Pixabay Images

It is time for the GOP to ditch the Elephant as the symbol of the Republican Party. I have a suitable candidate to replace the pachyderm. The Party should consider the image of Niccolò Machiavelli as its new symbol.

Why not Machiavelli? He is far more representative of Today’s GOP than the gray elephant. I can think of no more perfidious legislation than the Farm Bill which thankfully died in the House of Representatives. Niccolò would have been proud of the legislation. 

Always chock full of goodies just in time for the midterm elections, Farm Bills almost never fail. In fact, Members of Congress often go to extreme lengths to make sure they vote for the bill. After all, the local farmers need aid, so they remember Congressmen fondly. By farmers, I mean the agriculture giants like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midlands somehow became “family farmers” in dire need of support.

The Farm Bill that just failed is unlike the candy-store bills of the past. Social conservatism, a fancy word for hate and bigotry got in the way of this pinata. If there is a party that embodies Machiavelli it has to be the GOP. Yes, the Democrats can be hateful and deceitful, but they are pretty ham-handed about it.

The GOP takes devious, cunning, unscrupulous, and scheming in a most wicked way to its pinnacle. Specifically, the GOP Farm Bill tried to reinstate slavery into American life.

What Bob, slavery, how can that be? After all, the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution passed in the wake of the unprovoked War of Northern Aggression which attacked a genteel way of life; you may state (if you are a Republican) abolished involuntary servitude in America except as a punishment for a crime. Poor must be a crime in America, at least to the GOP.

The wily Machiavelli comes into play at this point. The GOP cannot get past the fact there are hungry people in the United States that need food and have little on their tables at night if they even have a place to eat. To the GOP, they are sloths who refuse to work and deserve to starve. The Republican sentiment on this issue is that is not their problem, and they resent feeding the hungry.

In the 1980’s, it would rankle me when I heard my GOP pals refer to those on food stamps as “Government leeches, Welfare Queens,” and “problems of culture in the inner city.” Those are all derogatory terms for non-whites and a dog whistle to unleash the bigots.

How does the GOP propose reinstating involuntary servitude? By making recipients of food assistance work at no pay for inclusion in the SNAP program. How is that slavery? The same way it was for the slave on the plantation. If you worked, you had food and shelter. The GOP is proposing the same scenario. Work, for the Government, and you get food assistance. If you do not, then you go hungry.

SNAP payments are not “income,” and therefore the recipients will be subject to the same rules as the slave on the plantation. Food and shelter were not compensation for the slave, and they are not a paycheck in 2018. The only difference is the GOP is not proposing buying and selling of SNAP recipients, beatings, leg irons.

It does raise the question, is this racially motivated? From my decades in the Republican Party, I learned that the GOP is capable of hating everyone.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 45.9% of food assistance goes to white people. That means 54.1% goes to non-whites. In the policy, whites are not getting an exclusion. A narrow majority of SNAP recipients are non-white further irking the GOP.

While the GOP can make an argument, the policy is cruel across all racial lines. There is a general GOP stereotype that people on public assistance are home surfing the internet on their iPhones that they can afford, except when they are out being gangsters in the hood, rather than looking for work.

It is part of that white bubble that has no clue what the poor in the city face on a daily basis. What is even more disturbing is the lack of empathy and unwillingness to go find out people’s struggles.

In my three decades lobbying, I do not recall a Farm Bill not passing in the House of Representatives in a midterm election year. However, I am glad this one failed.

Let’s help those who are young enough to work and have a future to get the tools they need to have a productive life. That is good for society. For the sick and the old, we do not need to see them picking up trash in the streets to assuage the GOP disdain for the poor.

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