Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Editor:

Walter awoke at 3:50 this morning agonizing over our Congressman's vote on the Farm Bill.  I think you might appreciate that he spent the day composing this letter.  There is no reason to think that it will ever make it into print, but I thought you might appreciate his eloquence:


To the Eagle:

Bill Flores acted immorally when he voted to slash $4 Billion in food assistance for the poor next year and a total of $40 Billion over ten years.  We the people of his district should be ashamed and called to action.

Leave aside the impracticality of this vote.  It dooms the passage of the farm bill this year and reduces consumer spending while we are still in the economic doldrums.  It exhausts the resources of the churches and community groups who feed the needy.  More children will go to school hungry diminishing their chances of high performance and upward mobility.

Ignore the Republican clap trap about the unworthy poor.  Over seventy-five percent of households receiving food assistance include children, the disabled, and the elderly.  These households include people who work, and for whom food assistance serves as a crucial bridge to greater opportunity.  Food assistance programs offer many incentives to work longer and harder.

Focus instead on what electing the person who cast this vote says about us and our values and ideals.  All enduring religions include strong injunctions to care for the poor and needy.  In Luke, Chapter 10, Jesus offers as a model of right behavior a Samaritan who despite his people’s ingrained hatred of Jews helped a forlorn and forsaken Jewish stranger.  This passage and many others challenge those who would follow Jesus to feed, clothe, and house even the unlovable.

Americans often insist we are building a more perfect Union–a righteous community that serves as an example to the world and a place of equal opportunity for all to achieve success.  In that sense Flores’s vote was un-American and our votes for him to hold office were unworthy of our highest ideals.

People of faith and proud Americans should urge Bill Flores to reconsider cutting food assistance.