Paul Ryan once argued that “liberal government programs give people comfort, but not dignity.”
And to justify cutting Welfare and defunding food programs, Republicans disingenuously equate having the basic necessities needed to live — like food — to dignity. Following that logic, are we to believe that wealthy people somehow have more dignity than poor people, because they have more access to more resources like housing, food and clean drinking water? Do the mostly white residents of Bismarck North Dakota have more dignity than the Native Americans at Standing Rock? Do Donald Trump’s children somehow have more “dignity” than does Little Miss Flint? Because Trump’s children don’t need to depend on free lunch programs?
Wealth ≠ dignity.
Access to resources ≠ dignity.
People living in or born into poverty do not have less dignity. They have less wealth and less political power.
Providing free school lunches to children living in poverty doesn’t “give kids an empty soul” it simply feeds hungry children. Feeding a hungry child is not “giving them undue comfort” or making them lazy, it’s simply feeding a hungry child. How did feeding hungry children become a controversial act for “Christian” conservatives?
Intentionally starving children to teach them the “dignity” of hunger is inhumane.
Stop stigmatizing poverty. Stop equating poverty with a lack of dignity. Stop reinforcing the notion that poor people have no dignity just because they’re poor. There is no nobility in starvation, and there is no benevolence in allowing children or anyone else to go hungry when you possess the power to prevent it.