In the last few years, I've griped a lot about the blind elitism that pervades much of the sustainable food movement. Yeah, it's compellingly idealistic. Hell, yeah, that organic, local peach is pure oral hedonism and oh-so-healthy.
But here's the thing. Poverty and "food insecurity" have reached all-time highs in the Richest Country in the World. Georgia ranks up there among the top seven with 17.4 percent of our households short of food as of 2011. The number of hungry children is just mind-blowing. Our mortality rate has also skyrocketed.
So, despite Michele Obama's teaming up with Alice Waters to promote grow-your-own veggies in the hood, I think it's safe to say most poor people don't give a fuck if their peach comes from Guatemala or the county next door - much less the red beans and rice they eat daily. Oh wait. Michelle may already know this in her heart of hearts.
Given the epidemic poverty, what could be more mind-boggling than the Republicans' decision to boot the food-stamp program out of the bill that subsidizes the farming industry with billions upon billions of dollars?
But please don't go thinking the cutback in food subsidies for the poor is just Republican greediness. Democrats, including our hideously hypocritical president, have offered the compromise of cutting $20 billion from the program. Obama is teaming up with George Bush, the compassionate conservative, to promote private philanthropy to fill in the gap. As if they haven't had that opportunity for a century. Seriously.
My favorite blogger, after Glenn Greenwald, is Karen Garcia of "Sardonicky." She rips our political class a new one in a post entitled "A Thousand Points of Blight." I hope you read the whole thing. A sample:
When you look at the grim statistics on child hunger and its consequences, the compassionate Obamas' "personal responsibility" approach appears all the more cynical. As far as Michelle Obama is concerned, kids just need to get off their butts and exercise. Struggling parents need to stop being lazy and prepare fresh fruits and veggies in between their minimum-wage double shifts.The latest Obama approach to childhood nutrition was to hold a recipe contest and a state dinner for a select group of well-fed kids. The media went wild when the president revealed that he loves broccoli. And how his "family"(read: peripatetic deceased mother and banker grandma) didn't cook his veggies up nearly as scrumptiously as his own personal chefs do today. I wish I was kidding. As much as this guy tries to cover up his authoritarian paternalism with schmoozy small-talk, it always falls as flat as a bowl of soggy potato chips.
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Great post, but you forgot Dutch Monkey!