In Opinion - Editorial, Uncategorized

Afghanistan War Veteran Slams Republicans For Cutting Food Stamps


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SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 3:51 AM

Last week, conservatives in the House of Representatives cruelly voted to eliminate nearly $40 billion in food stamp funding that provides poor families the resources they need to put food on the table.

By doing so, Republicans in Congress are not only punishing people just for being unemployed, they’re also punishing their own constituents. But that’s not all. There’s another group of people that Republicans are punishing and those people just so happen to be they very people who defend this nation. Those people, of course, are the men and women who have served or are serving in the United States military and their families.

    It turns out 5,000 military families will lose critical food assistance via the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) because of the callousness and ignorance of the 217 Republicans who decided that food stamp recipient are lazy ingrates who don’t deserve to eat. In response to the GOP, an Afghanistan war veteran named Jason penned a letter on September 19th to those very conservative politicians condemning their action and explained that the vote to kill food stamps is a vote against the military families the GOP has long claimed to hold in high regard.

Here is that letter:

My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40 hours a week while I was in college. I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.

    Oh, and I’m now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact.

Why am I on food stamps?

    The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.

I mean, if that’s okay with you:

Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman.

Mr. or Mrs. Conservative commentator.

Mr. or Mrs. “welfare queen” letter-to-the-editor author


Mr. or Mrs. “fiscal conservative, reason-based” libertarian.

I do apologize for burdening you on the checkout line with real-life images of American-style poverty. I know you probably believe the only true starving people in the world have flies buzzing around their eyes while they wallow away, near-lifeless in gutters.

Hate to burst the bubble, but those people don’t live in this country.

I do. And millions like me. Millions of people in poverty who fall into three categories.

Let’s call them the “lucky” category, since conservatives seem to think people on welfare have hit some sort of jackpot:

Those living paycheck to paycheck? They’re a little lucky.

Those living unemployment check to unemployment check? They’re a little luckier.

Those living 2nd of the month to 2nd of the month? Ding! We’ve hit the jackpot!

The 2nd of the month being the time when funds gets electronically deposited onto the EBT card, [at least in NY] for those who’ve never been fortunate enough to hit that $175/month Powerball.

I fall into the latter two categories. But I’ve known people recently — soldiers in the Army — who were in the first and third. They were off fighting in Afghanistan while their wives were at home, buying food at the on-post commissary with food stamps.

And nobody bats an eye there, because it’s not uncommon in the military.

It’s not uncommon — nor is it shameful. It might be shameful how little service-members are paid, but that’s a separate issue.

The fact remains anyone at a certain income level can find it difficult from time to time to pay for everything. And when you’re poor you learn to make sacrifices. Food shouldn’t be one of them.

The whole concept is un-American. People living here, in the greatest country on Earth, with the most abundant resources, should be forced to go hungry because of the intellectual notion of fiscal conservatism and the ideological notion of self-reliance.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I didn’t risk my life in Afghanistan so I could come back and watch people go hungry in America. I certainly didn’t risk it so I could come back and go hungry.

Anyone who genuinely supports cutting food stamps is not an intellectual or an ideologue — they’re a bully.

And nobody likes a bully. Except other bullies.

It’s time for regular Americans to stand up to these bullies. Not cower in the corner, ashamed of needing help. Because if there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that you never know when you’ll be the one in need.

This epic letter makes it clear that Republicans are not the friends of military families. Conservatives constantly claim that those who use food stamps are lazy freeloaders who deserve to starve. It’s a sad truth, but the fact is that even military families rely on the food stamp program to get by. And no one, not even Republicans, have the right to say that military veterans and their families are lazy. Not only do the men and women in our armed forces risk life and limb fighting for this country, their families sacrifice their own time and effort supporting and worrying about their loved ones in uniform.

If anything, those who serve in the military and their families should get free groceries for a lifetime as thanks for their sacrifices and heroism. Our government certainly shouldn’t take food from them, or anyone else for that matter. Food stamp recipients are already restricted by guidelines. SNAP is a necessary program that prevents 48 million Americans from suffering from hunger, including military veterans and their families. Republicans have already angered the American people and are in the process of angering their own constituents. And now they are attacking the very troops and their families that Americans claim to support.

The current crop of conservatives in Congress care nothing for anyone but themselves. They are selfish individuals who want to see America and the federal government burn to the ground. The only type of spending Republicans care about is military spending on bombs, guns, tanks, ships, and planes. But how are our soldiers supposed to defend this nation when they and their families don’t have food in their bellies? Republicans just declared war on military families by voting to take away their food assistance. Americans say they support their military families, therefore, the GOP has declared war on all Americans. Who do you think will win that war?

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