Friday, September 02, 2011

We Belly Full but They Hungry

Answer: False. See FeedingAmerica.org.
In the 26 August New York Times, Charles M. Blow notes how US policies sometimes match poorly with reality:
We have a growing crisis among the nation’s children, yet our policies ignore that reality at best and exacerbate it at worst.

According to a report issued this week by the Guttmacher Institute, the unintended pregnancy rate among poor women has jumped 50 percent since 1994, yet a July report from the institute points out that politicians are setting records passing laws to restrict abortion. It said: “The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005--and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010.” Add to this the assault by conservatives on Planned Parenthood, and what are we saying?

This is what we’re saying: actions have consequences. If you didn’t want a child, you shouldn’t have had sex. You must be punished by becoming a parent even if you know that you are not willing or able to be one.

This is insane.

Even if you follow a primitive religious concept of punishment for sex, as many on the right seem to do, you must at some point acknowledge that it is the child, not the parent, who will be punished most by our current policies that increasingly advocate for “unborn children” but fall silent for those outside the womb.

This is not how a rational society operates.
One might legitimately retort that it's not sex per se being punished but unprotected sex. But such a retort misses the bigger points, which are that the drive to punish (women) is itself both misguided and unfair, and that the children of unintended pregnancies ultimately suffer more.

The entire article has plenty of substance worth reading and considering. Let me offer one more bit of it:
Now is when we need government to step up and be smart.

This is exactly the wrong time to do what the Republicans would have us do. In their 2012 budget, they propose cutting nutrition programs as part of austerity measures so that we don’t leave our children saddled with debt. Meanwhile, they completely ignore the fact that those cuts could leave even more children saddled with physical or developmental problems.

They want to hold the line on tax breaks for the wealthy, not paying attention to the fact that our growing income inequality, which could be reversed, continues to foster developmental inequality, which is almost impossible to reverse.

We have to start this conversation from a different point. We must ask: “What kind of society do we want to build, and what kinds of workers, soldiers and citizens should populate that society?” If we want that society to be prosperous and safe and filled with healthy, well-educated and well-adjusted people, then the policy directions become clear.

They are almost the exact opposite of what we are doing.
I agree completely with Mr. Blow. The federal budget is a serious matter. As an American taxpayer, I am concerned about what the government does with the money it collects. I want taxes to go toward investing in the US, which is to say investing in its people, which is to say people in the poor and lower middle classes.

How do we invest in people? By providing them opportunities for food, medicine, education, and work when no other opportunities are available.

Yet, investing in the poor doesn't even seem to be on the negotiating table in today's political climate. Our current policy direction is not one of investment but rather feeble pretense to authority, as if piling on abortion restrictions demonstrates that the good ol' Bible-based patriarchy is still working.

American policies increasingly look like what they really are: policing them. Containing them. Barricading them so that the rest of us can move on--even as more of us become them.

Such policies will not work in the long-term, as reggae man Bob Marley knew:
Them belly full but we hungry.
A hungry mob is an angry mob.
A rain a-fall but the dirt it tough.
A pot a-cook but the food not 'nough.



6 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:11 PM

    If we have to feed the hungry, why we do not kill your useless autistic child and give the money you are going to spend on it to healthy poor babies?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Neo-Con4:06 PM

    which are that the drive to punish is itself both misguided and unfair, and that the children of unintended pregnancies ultimately suffer more.

    Huh? Let me get this straight: You think we are punishing the unborn child by letting it live instead of killing it? You think it is better to not exist at all than to exist under deprived circumstances?
    See:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonidentity-problem/

    I think you are mis-labeling yourself. You're not a liberal, you're a hedonist!

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Anonymous -

    Did you think your comment would shock or offend me? Sorry, your bad luck.

    @Neo-Con -

    I don't know where you get the reading you do. I was referring to the drive to punish women -- as it was characterized in the quote just above.

    I have not labelled myself a liberal. And I don't see how you apply the term "hedonist" to me.

    Is this the best you folks have?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous8:24 AM

    "Did you think your comment would shock or offend me? Sorry, your bad luck."

    Then better the world do not get where you want it. Because you will jeopardize your son´s life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Then better the world do not get where you want it."

    ????

    Look, son. Slow down. Maybe try writing your thoughts down on paper first. Show them to your mom and ask if your ideas are really as stupid as they seem.

    Maybe you are looking for the Disney blog?

    ReplyDelete
  6. "One might legitimately retort that it's not sex per se being punished but unprotected sex."
    This really isn't accurate since these are by and large the same people who promote abstinence-only sex ed. When kids are kept in the dark about safe sex, any sex at all becomes unprotected sex.

    It's being a woman with a sex drive that's under attack here (which includes rape cause, you know, only sluts get raped).

    @Anonymous - Your reading comprehension is rather poor. The post clearly stated that we could put more focus on scaling tax margins. The only person thinking about the slaughter of anyone who doesn't fit some definition of the human ideal here is you.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to comment if you have something substantial and substantiated to say.