Dear Republicans, I am fifty-five years old now. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, in a home where my parents were poor. They both worked hard at full-time jobs during the week, and my father and mother worked at part-time jobs on the weekends to bring in more income. However, we were poor, and they needed help to feed me and my younger sister. I think they were embarrassed to apply for food stamps and to receive them. I know I was embarrassed as a teenager getting my free lunch ticket every Monday morning, as I left my home room as quietly and inconspicuously as I could, hoping none of my classmates would notice my leaving or ask me where I was going.
I felt so much shame about getting free lunches, but as an adult, I realize that I didn’t need to. It wasn’t my fault that my parents were poor. I was a child. I needed to eat. And by the way, Paul Ryan, if you really made that remark about poor kids not having a soul, I had a soul as a poor child. Maybe you have never met a poor child or a poor adult, but we are simply people.
I question if you have a soul now if you really want to take funding away from feeding children. Who would do that? Certainly not someone with a kind heart or with any compassion.
I got a simple, nutritious meal, with my free lunch ticket, the same meal available to any of my classmates. Anyone could choose to buy a lunch ticket, so I had the knowledge that perhaps people wouldn’t know for sure that I received free lunches. Yet everyday when I paid for my lunch with that ticket, I was sure that people knew, or at least suspected that I was poor, and I was ashamed. That is how I spent seventh through twelfth grade in middle and high school, at least every day at lunch. That does not mean I didn’t have a soul. It does mean, I had feelings. I was a child being a child. I felt embarrassed, but I didn’t need to.
I did that to myself, but I think the attitude that many Republicans have toward the poor and free lunches at least in part continues and can spark that attitude of feeling shame at being poor. Not one person in my life ever shamed me for being poor, but somehow I knew, there was shame in it. Society let me know. People like you, Republicans who look down on the poor, let me know.
You, each and every Republican who says that you must cut funding to food stamps and to free lunches, certainly if you have the audacity to say that children who get free lunches have no soul, you add to the myth, the lie that children, CHILDREN, should be ashamed of being poor. You should be ashamed for the words that come out of your mouth, for your attitude towards the poor, let alone for the actions that you say you will take, and even more so if you actually take them.
What kind of person would take away the ability to get food from a hungry child? I’ll answer that for you, an evil, selfish person. If you and other Republicans defund food stamps and free lunches, it makes you evil. Many issues in life are not black and white, but this is. It makes you wrong. It makes you unelectable. I thought the last one might get your attention.
You seem to revel in your evilness, but please do keep in mind, that there are consequences for your actions. They are called elections. We will not blame all of this on Trump. We know you want us to, and we, the educated and informed people, the Resistance, the people who are watching what the Republicans are doing to destroy America while Trump distracts everyone else with his buffoonery, we are watching you, the Republicans. The laws that you, the Republicans pass, you will be held accountable for them. You will be held accountable for your actions.
If you do this, if you take money away from the poor adults that need it, those on SSI, those who are physically disabled and mentally ill and cannot work, or poor adults who work for minimum wage, often at two jobs and still need help in the form of food stamps, that will not be okay with us. It will not be accepted. That will have consequences, be sure of that. That is bad enough, but KNOW THIS, Republicans. We will not forgive you for taking money away from the poor and hungry children. We will remember in 2018 and 2020. We will hold you, the Republicans accountable. We will not forget.
All of those people protesting, and even some of us who do not have the physical stamina to protest, we will be at the voting booths in 2018 and 2020. We are not being paid to protest. We are there because we are angry. We are there because we have had enough. People are showing up at our town halls because many have found their voices for the first time, and you will hear us, there and in the voting booths. No one pays people to be in the town halls. We are not being paid to make the telephones ring in your offices or to write you e mails or to tweet at you. We are doing it because we see you as you are. We are holding you accountable. We will continue to. You can count on it.
So, Republicans, smile and be smug, say it’s going well since Trump took office, but if you decide to hurt the most vulnerable with your budget cuts, start making your retirement plans now. You will need them. #Resistance