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Guest column: What sort of man picks on hungry children?
by Kevin Foley
Guest Columnist
July 10, 2014 10:39 AM | 10160 views | 3 3 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kevin Foley
Kevin Foley
District 1 U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston calls himself a “fiscal hawk” who would slash federal budgets with a machete.

He especially wants to chop federal assistance programs for the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and even young children.

When speaking about themselves, politicians just love to talk about the quality of their “character.”

So what sort of character does it take to single out low-income children for special abuse? What kind of man wants America’s poor kids to suffer more than they already do?

It doesn’t take a cryptologist to crack Kingston’s Senate campaign code if you want to find the answers:

“Hard work built America’s economy, but today too many choose a handout over a hand up,” proclaims his web site.

Translation: He means the “hard work” of white Georgians. “Too many” refers to low-income black folks.

According to his campaign, “Jack Kingston has fought to implement a work requirement for able-bodied Americans on food stamps and to restore the work requirement for welfare that was gutted by the Obama Administration.”

Translation: Our black president made it easier for black folks to mooch.

Except that’s not true. Republican Ron Haskins, who helped overhaul welfare in 1996, said the work requirement was never “gutted” and Haskins calls such claims “very misleading.”

“I brought up my family on the same Judeo-Christian values on which I was raised and on which our country was founded,” said the candidate.

Kingston is one of those right-wingers who tell you in one breath they faithfully follow Jesus Christ’s teachings and in the next say “the least of these” richly deserve their lousy lot in life.

But what if you’re a little boy who didn’t ask to be born into a poverty-stricken home where buying food is a daily struggle?

Luckily, that child receives a free breakfast and lunch at school, which helps sustain him through a rigorous day of classes, the objective of which is to educate him so he can lift himself out of his dire circumstances.

Teachers know hungry kids have difficulty concentrating.

According to No Kid Hungry, 75 percent of America’s teachers said they have children showing up at school hungry and half said hunger is a serious problem in their classrooms.

Ah, but Kingston contends hungry children are being deliberately conditioned by their parents to sponge off others while letting the “social safety net become a hammock,” in the words of another God-fearing Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan.

“[T]here is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch,” Kingston pontificated during the Christmas season last year. “[Children whose parents can’t afford to pay for lunch should] sweep the floor in the cafeteria. … Think what we’d gain as a society in getting the myth out of their head that there is such thing as a free lunch.”

And think of the humiliation those boys and girls would suffer as targets of ridicule. As if they don’t have enough bad stuff going on in their lives already, Kingston would add to their misery.

And this isn’t Kingston “misspeaking,” either. Last year, to save a tax break for millionaires, the congressman voted for a bill that would have kicked 280,000 low-income children out of the $11.6 billion National School Lunch Program.

Meantime, Kingston’s campaign website makes no mention of the epic waste and fraud at the Pentagon, where $11.6 billion is a rounding error.

Today, for example, the Navy is blowing $30 billion on the problem-plagued Littoral Combat Ship, a vessel that may never see combat.

So, Kingston would hand the Defense Department a blank check for big ticket boondoggles but, by God, make sure those indigent kids sweep the cafeteria floors if they want to eat.

Kingston’s contemptible attitude toward America’s most vulnerable citizens reveals the true content of his character.

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.

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