The latest brilliant idea from the conservative fringe comes courtesy of Tenn. State Senator Stacey Campfield, and it might be the worst piece of legislation ever proposed. He wants to create a bill that will cut welfare benefits to families by 30% if their child doesn't get good grades. Yes, you read that correctly. And by the way, he doesn't have children.
On The Daily Show last night, John Stewart posed the question of whether Stacey Campfield was a politician or a villain from a Dicken's novel, comparing this legislation to a real life Hunger Games. I can't even begin to express my utter shock and outrage at this idea. The idea of putting a child in this position is so unthinkable, especially a child which is more than likely already dealing with a fragile household to begin with. Not to mention that it feels like a recipe for psychological scarring, or potentially even child abuse.
This is just another example of the war the Republicans constantly wage against the poor and any form of social welfare system. They are constantly trying to destroy public education, and continuously rail about failing schools, and now in addition to wanting to cut the money that goes to a failing school, they want to punish the children who attend them. When are people going to wake up and realize that these guys do not have their best interest in mind?
Sadly, I fear the answer is never, for some. The conservatives have spent six decades trying to dismantle the New Deal and prevent those programs from ever achieving all that they could. They've managed to convince people that anyone on social programs like welfare or food stamps are nothing more than lazy moochers living off their hard earned taxes. Frankly, I believe that's a load of shit. Are there people who abuse the system? Of course there are. But it's not exactly as if they are living a glamorous life doing it. For the most part however, these are people with a string of bad luck, bad health, or simply dealt a bad hand. The government's job is to look after its people who are in need, not cut them off in favor of the selfishness of the wealthy.
But the far right uses their other age-old trick to distract many of their voters from this reality. I'm of course speaking of the race card. They play on ignorant white trash fears, portraying all welfare recipients as minority drug users. Or they play to the working class's frustrations, making anyone who takes assistance seem like a thief stealing money from their paycheck when the real thieves are the ones funneling their taxes to corporations and war.
All week long, I've been amazed by the outpouring for the passing of Margaret Thatcher. It's unbelievable how well people think of you after you die. Along with Reagan, she was one of the neo-con henchmen that helped destroy social safety nets in favor of the military industrial complex. We, the people, are the ones who get screwed in the end, and they won't be happy until we are all left to fend for ourselves and any scraps that corporate America wants to throw our way.
I'm beginning to think Obama was wrong when he said there isn't two Americas, because clearly there is. There is the one that sees ideas like Campfield's as progressive activism, and then there's the one that knows we can do better. The question is, how many more of these outrages are we willing to suffer?