Still no such thing as a free lunch

Some moron running for senate in Georgia thinks he has a great idea to, well, I don’t really know what it would solve, but like usual, a House Representative in Georgia, who wants to rise in power, thinks it’s a really good idea to put school children to work to earn their “free lunches.” Basically, U.S.Representative Jack Kingston thinks it would be really nifty for the poor to put them to work sweeping up cafeterias for their lunch money, because somehow this would instill in them the idea that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you think about it, he’s advocating a legal fix to an old adage that doesn’t actually have a lot of connection to anyone’s reality.

The obvious counter to this whole situation is this belief that somehow this is going to make poor kids feel like they’ve “earned” their lunch. No kid pays for his or her own lunch at that age, or at least very few do, because no kids have their own money at that age. Their parents give them money, so they aren’t learning money management skills. They’re learning that their parents have money, or they’re learning that their parents have no money. That’s really the lesson that gets taught here no matter how some Republican Neanderthal wants to spin it.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Well, it’s not really a secret, but I grew up dirt poor. My mom was uneducated and my dad split when I was too young to ever know him. So my mom worked crap jobs and was basically too uneducated (and proud) to take government handouts. She probably should have. It didn’t help that she was sick and then went blind in one eye. She tried and that’s really all that’s important.

So, at one point I was put on discount lunches. Somehow, even though our apartment was overrun with cockroaches on a daily basis and our neighbors were crack addicts and prostitutes, we were too well off to get full free lunches. So, my mom had to pay a certain amount of money and then got discounted lunches for me when I went to school.

Let me tell you about those discounts. They gave you a special paper card that you had to present each and every time you presented for lunch, and the system was so obviously designed to point out that you were using this card, which meant that every other kid looked at you when you were presenting it, and I can’t tell you how bad kids are at making someone feel like shit in some weird process of making themselves feel better about themselves. It was humiliating every time I had to present that card and then pay my token of the discount I was allowed to pay. There were many times when I skipped lunch because it was easier to not eat than to have to go through that process each and every time at lunch.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Representative Kingston never had to go through that experience when he was growing up. And I’ll bet that not once has one of his children ever had to go through such a thing just to get a stupid lunch meal. That sort of thing scars you for a long time, and even in my middle age these days, I have never forgot how it felt to have to present that stupid card when I was at that age.

And that’s the problem with a lot of our representatives who think they actually represent people they serve. Edmund Burke argued a long time ago that he could “represent” miners in his district even though he’s never been a miner because he knows what’s best for them. He was wrong then, and Kingston is wrong today. I’m sure there’s a special place in Goddess Hell where Kingston has to ask for a school lunch each and every day and is told that no, he must starve because there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

duaneStill no such thing as a free lunch

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