Portrait of hunger

Before you do anything else today, read this.

And understand that when I criticize the administration and the Democrats in Congress, it isn’t because we “didn’t get Canadian-style health care.” Or that I “congenitally see the glass as half-empty.”

It’s that for so many people right now, the glass is completely empty, and has been for some time. I feel that pain.

Politics isn’t about whether a handful of privileged white bloggers get “a seat at the table,” or whether their policy careers are on track. It’s about hopeless unemployment, worthless education systems, and crying, hungry children.

I suppose it’s only to be expected that so many of the new-media elite are far removed from these problems. I believe that most of them really and truly don’t know anyone who’s in real trouble, and so it gets pushed to the back of their minds, somewhere far behind “bending the cost curve on healthcare” and net neutrality.

It’s almost impossible for me to stop thinking about this. I grew up in a family where food was rationed. Running out of milk was a constant worry, and I can still taste the horrible powdered stuff with which my mother tried to fill the gap until my father’s payday. (As adults, when we’d visit siblings and they would ask if we wanted anything, we’d cautiously respond: “Is it all right if I have a glass of milk?” Because so often in our experience, it wasn’t.)

I remember being hungry and waiting to have a bowl of cereal before school. The milkman, who delivered on credit, wasn’t there yet and my mom didn’t have the cash to send one of us to the corner store.

My teenage brothers were always hungry; my mother took to hiding food, but there are only so many places you can hide things in a refrigerator, and my brothers always found it.

We would rush through mealtime because that meant you could get seconds if you were quick enough.

And you know, we were relatively lucky. We were nowhere near the state of the families described in this article. We had a father with a job.

This is what makes me so angry. This is what makes me want to scream at this administration. In the richest nation on earth, children are hungry. Don’t they get it? Don’t they see?

The administration and its enablers should stop navel-gazing and get to work.

5 Responses to Portrait of hunger

  1. PurpleGirl October 10, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    The article made me sad and the comments made me sadder.

  2. pragmatic realist October 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    My Mom tried to economize with the powdered milk once in a while also.

  3. bluelyon October 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Yep, powdered milk at our house too. And stretching stew into soup until finally by week’s end it was broth with rice. It filled the belly.

  4. jawbone October 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    My mother also stretched real milk by making up dried milk and using for cooking or adding it to the gallon of milk.

    I remember when a new dried milk company in WI found a way to make it taste marginally better — I think they became Swiss Miss.

    And, yes! It was a WI company, and it’s dried milk was marketed as Sanalac. Based in Madison, WI. Found it in Wiki’s entry for Swiss Miss. It cost more than some, but was definitely worth it.

  5. jawbone October 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Now, it’s ConAgra….

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