Food for Food’s Sake

Thursday, Mick Mulvaney made a series of comments about the President’s proposed budget framework, which among other things cuts Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs.

This illogic betrays the insidiousness of the objectification and depersonalization that runs rampant through conservative attitudes towards children, especially in the context of education. The idea that feeding children must yield “demonstrable evidence” of students becoming “productive members of society,” or else it’s a “waste of hard-earned money,” is disgusting, disgraceful, discompassionate, and unworthy of America. It should be shouted down as the ridiculous and cruel notion that it is.

Feeding hungry children is always good. SeanSpicerPeriod.

Feeding hungry children is always compassionate. SeanSpicerPeriod.

And feeding hungry children ought to be the duty of any adult who has any ability to do so, let alone the duty of this nation and this society. KDRPeriod.

“There’s no free lunch” is a disgusting attitude as a general rule, but when applied to children, it shows a profound disregard for human life and a deep pathological ability to dehumanize little kids. It should shock us, incite our outrage, and enjoin a commanding strike back at such heinous harshness. We must speak and act vehemently against this kind of anti-child attitude, lest we are complicit in the demise of even one kid. Children should never be starved: not for love, not for affection, not for clothing or shelter, and never, ever, ever for food and water. Not here, not anywhere, not ever.

I’m incensed nearly beyond words – though let’s be honest, I’m rarely without those when it comes to defending kids against this kind of brutal mindset – that any person could be so callous as to suggest that feeding kids should “yield” anything.

This nauseating insanity that everyone – even children – must do entirely for themselves or they “don’t deserve” assistance or aid is one of the hallmark misconceptions, a psychoemotional plague rooted deep in, the conservative attitude toward children. They are not property. They are not objects. They are not instruments of economic growth or vehicles for elder care or small adults or empty incapable vessels.

I’ve written extensively about what I consider the damnable dangers that such attitudes, so I’ll say this, a quote from Page 45 of the first edition of Insurrection: A Teacher Revolution in Defense of Children, from Section I: Learning and Teaching, and the chapter entitled “Pedagogy for Freedom:”

“Children are not vessels to be filled. Children are unique, powerful intellectual, emotional, and creative beings, and should be loved as such. As I have said, children have but one purpose, and it is to be. Children are not to be turned into something; they are not to be done to at all, save one thing: Children are to be loved, and you cannot love a person through coercion.”

The viciousness of this administration’s attitude toward children is not a new invention, but a perpetuation of the dangerous, deadly misperception of children in far-right ideology. It is incompatible with modern pedagogy, with public education, and with everything we know about what’s healthy for children.