Cynthia Davis: “Let them eat cake.”

Found through Think Progress, State Representative Cynthia Davis (R-MO) questions if public school summer meal programs for impoverished children are a good use of state funds.

Is school the only place a child can get a nutritious meal? Parents have good reason to dispute the idea that their children will not receive a nutritious meal if they are not in a government institution.  Who should be the one to pass judgment on what defines a nutritious meal?

Ah, yes, how presumptuous of schools to assume that parents need extra services to feed their children, when all they have to go by is the fact that one out of five Missouri schoolchildren goes hungry?

This is not a discussion of how to handle the public orphanage.  These are children who have parents already providing meals for their children.  This program could have an unintended consequence of diminishing parental involvement.  Why have meals at home with your loved ones if you can go to the government soup kitchen and get one for free?  This could have the effect of breaking apart more families.

Of course! If children are getting supplemental meals from school, it keeps them out of the home for an hour or two a day, which could be damaging to the family unit.  Fuck proper nutrition, maintaining traditional family values is what’s most important, presumably so a strong front can be maintained in the ongoing battle against the gay Socialist uprising.

Davis seems to suggest that parents are being forced to use the summer food programs by bullying bureaucrats who want to stick their nose into everything, when they just should be left alone to provide for their children on their own, even if they’re flat-ass broke.  Who cares if all they’re able to provide is peanut butter sandwiches for dinner? Let these people have their dignity, Big Government, it’ll make their family stronger! Davis has a few “now why didn’t I think of that?” solutions for alleviating the problem, such as suggesting that hungry families should just grow a garden, even though it’s likely a large population of Missouri has neither the facilities or the know-how to grow their own vegetables, or, barring that, buy their food from the local farmer’s market, even though in the very next sentence she mentions that there’s no farmer’s market in her hometown of O’Fallon, one of the biggest cities in the state.  Apparently if you live in, say, Glenwood (pop. 203), you’re just supposed to drive God only knows how far to the nearest farmer’s market to buy your produce, because that’s somehow cheaper than getting it at the local grocery with money you don’t have in the first place.  Just don’t send your kids to school to get reasonably nutritious meals for free! It will tear your family apart!

But wait, you haven’t heard Davis’s “look on the bright side” approach to the issue.

The problem of childhood obesity has been cited as one of the most rapidly growing health problems in America.  People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

Yes, I had to read it a couple times to make sure I was comprehending it too, but it does appear that Cynthia Davis is saying, in not quite as many words “Sure, your kids may be going to bed hungry at night, but at least they don’t have to worry about getting fat!” This is sort of like telling someone who just lost a leg, “Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about buying shoes!” Nevertheless, incredibly, her staggering ignorance goes one step even further when she suggests that teenagers who are going without the proper amount of food should go out and get one of those jobs that are all over the place right now.

Anyone under 18 can be eligible?  Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16?  Hunger can be a positive motivator.   What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals?

Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.

I…just don’t even know where to begin.  “Hunger can be a positive motivator”? Really? This is the message we want to send out to young people? Funny, that sounds like something a dictator would say to get a bunch of peasants to build him a house.  With millions of adults out of work, with even Wal-Mart turning away applicants, her solution is “get a job”? What kind of bubble has this woman been living in for the past two years? And wait a minute, what happened to “if the school feeds children, it will break apart families”? But your kid being forced to work for minimum wage just so he can fucking eat won’t? Finally, “McDonald’s will feed you for free”? Didn’t she just say in the paragraph immediately before that one that hungry people won’t contribute to the obesity problem? Now she’s suggesting that teenagers work at fast food restaurants and rely on the burgers and greasy fries they can get for free? At what point did Davis just give up on trying to say anything comprehensible, still wrong but comprehensible at least? Instead, she seems to be playing a game with herself, “How Ignorant and Hypocritical Can I Get?” It seems to be a game a lot of Republicans enjoy, perhaps they can put out a board version of it, with cards reading stuff like ‘Uh Oh, You Got Caught Sending a Racist E-Mail, Go Back 3 Spaces!” and “Congratulations, You Got Photographed With a Black Person, Advance 2 Spaces!”

You’ll note that on the Think Progress page there’s a picture of Cynthia Davis wearing a cross around her neck.  This is both amusing and maddening.  As much as I genuinely dislike tainting an entire group of people with the same brush, it seems that if someone, particularly a politician, makes “what’s best for the poor” statements that involve cutting funds and taking programs away from them, the more likely they are to identify him or herself as a Christian.  There’s a new breed of Christian, those who seemed to miss the day in Sunday school when they were taught the Seven Works of Corporal Mercy: 1. feed the hungry, 2. give drink to the thirsty, 3. clothe the naked, 4. shelter the homeless, 5. visit the sick, 6. visit the imprisoned, 7. bury the dead.  Those come right from the Bible, that same Bible that conservative Christians like to thump and invoke when they’re speaking out against gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose.  I’m an agnostic and I don’t claim to know more than the most familiar of Bible stories, but even I know that Jesus Christ was a big fan of charity.  That’s also from the Bible, from 1 Corinthians: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  If Christians are having a hard time figuring out why their numbers are dwindling, they’d do well to take a good, long look at people like Cynthia Davis, who practice a special sort of Christianity, one that allows you to judge and condemn without compensating with compassion.

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