Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let Them Eat Wild-Caught Salmon

So, Salon has an article up about "hipsters" using food stamps to pay for organic or locally produced food. The comments are predictably harsh and unforgiving. Salon is notorious for hateful comments (particularly on Broadsheet, the feminist blog where every man who has every been turned down by a woman for sex thinks its his mission to punish bitches for being uppity, or you know, talking about women's issues like domestic violence).

What the story is really about is young, urban professionals who are finding themselves unemployed, who find out they are qualifying for food stamps and using them at Trader Joe's and Farmer's Markets for the food they feel an ethical investment toward: organic and sustainably grown. This is a generation weaned on the "eat real food" movement and as the article points out, finding themselves unemployed means that they have even more time to cook from scratch. Yeah, maybe rice and beans (which is something most foodies do eat) would be a better buy, but choosing a whole and varied diet is important and that should involve some fish and eggs and whole-grain breads.

I've seen plenty of articles criticizing working-poor folks who use their food stamps for processed foods and soda--criticizing what foods government subsidized stamps or EBT cards may be used for is a frequent hobby of many arm-chair haters on the internets. "I'm working, you're spoiled" seems to be the thrust of their arguments, but here's the thing, these folks--whether they are the "hipsters" caught up in a bad recession finding themselves unemployed or working poor with dependent children--they work too or have worked and paid into the system to help you out when you are in need and it turns out, when they are in need. The so-called "hipsters" are less ashamed of pursuing government aid during their time of need then the grumps of earlier recessions, I'm thinking in particular of the recessions of the 1980's (oh, yes there were TWO during Reagan/Bush I--although the fat-cats did well then as they are today).

Although snarking about particular food choices is easy, what this is really about is a class and racial prejudice bubbling to the surface and white, male resentment of "the other" getting assistance (which naturally, in their deluded minds, must come from putting down the white man, particularly the working-class white man). Well, guess what? It isn't a zero sum game. Also, we subsidize the military industrial complex (60% of our budget) and the banking sector far more than we give out food aid to our own citizens in need. If you are pissed off about welfare, get pissed off about corporate welfare. Helping out the unemployed or working-poor with dependent children isn't taking away your precious power and privilege, voting in thieves (Reagan, Bush I & Bush II and their interests) who stole more from the working-classes and cut off opportunities through anti-labor legislation and anti-American trade treaties that destroyed our industrial base are why the middle-class is under such a huge financial crush, not "welfare queens" which they (specifically Reagan) made the scape-goats.

So, let then eat wild-caught salmon and get pissed off at the real source of the problem: the thieves of middle-class wealth and promise, the hedge-fund managers, the subprime mortgage lenders, the health-insurance exec's who are trying to take more than 12% of your income and the politicians who support the whole rotten matrix.

No comments:

Post a Comment