SNAP, Congress, and my Career Goals June 20, 2013
Shame on Congress! Shame for even considering life-risking cuts to the SNAP program! Shame on them further for the proposal to deny SNAP benefits to convicted felons!
How is it that the same people that would restrict birth control and abortion will also restrict assistance for prenatal care, childcare, and food for children? They are tough on crime while eliminating the transition programs that help convicts return to society and get jobs. Without jobs, how do they live an honest life? Without jobs or SNAP or WIC, how do they feed their families?
The answer is that our elected leaders do not work for us. Convicted felons and poor children don’t make campaign contributions or offer lucrative lobbying jobs to retiring elected officials and so they don’t count Their hunger doesn’t matter. Their futures don’t matter. In the world of government, only the rich matter. Welcome to our “democracy”.
I write often about my struggles growing up. I was hungry, but my brother made sure we applied for food stamps. At the time, my mother had already been convicted of drug crimes at least once. But we got SNAP. We got school breakfast and lunches. We ate, and because we ate, we could study and learn and affect our own futures. Because we ate at home and at school, we didn’t steal We didn’t quit school. My brother went into the army and became a mechanic and I sent to college, where I am now looking at law schools.
Law? Yes, law. Not to defend the big banks against government regulators. Not to work in a district attorney’s office. Law school because it is the next and best step to prepare me to advocate for those whose voices are not heard in Washington or by state governments. I am going to law school in order to become an advocate for the poor, for poor children, for released convicts trying to live an honest life. I was extremely lucky to survive my childhood and thrive in my education. I had tremendous help and luck every step of the way and continue to enjoy the good counsel, occasional financial assistance, and indescribable emotional support from adults who chose to be a part of my life. But luck didn’t feed me or educate me when my mother was unable to purchase food. The government did, through SNAP and school lunches. Someone needs to make sure they continue that for the next Cassie, and that someone is me.