There was a time, many moons ago, when you could sometimes have a thought and feel like you had landed on a rare, golden truth because there was no google around to tell you just how banal and ridiculous you really were. Those were heady days, the 90s. I remember once, sitting at the bar (or behind it... I spent most of my time in front of or behind the bar back then) and finding myself in the throes of what I thought was the TROOF. 'Twas:
You can get away with being an asshole if you aren't dumb. And you can get away with being dumb, if you aren't an asshole. But there is no room in the world for dumb assholes.
Turns out I was wrong and we ended up spending the following decade stuffing Congress full of 'em.
Which brings me to Louis Gohmert, Republican Congressman from Texas, and Platonic Ideal of the Dumb Asshole, who recently stood up in front of Congress and told what I'm sure is a totally true story about a constituent in line at the grocery store:
"He looks at the king crab legs [being bought by a person with food stamps] and looks at his ground meat and realizes because he does pay income tax, he doesn't get more back than he pays in. He is actually helping pay for the king crab legs when he can't pay for them himself."
I'm sure, like I said, that this is a TOTALLY TRUE EVENT. That devious poor who was buying king crab legs with food stamps hangs out with the girl in Minnesota who ended up mentally retarded after getting an HPV vaccine and is neighbors with the guy who got really mad when that other guy wished him a Merry Christmas. They live in this neighborhood called Apocryphal Republican Stories Of People Doing Made Up Shit that Riles Up an Increasingly Resentful and Gullible Base. They should really look into renaming that place... it's kind of a mouthful.
Lookit: poor people are not the problem. I looked it up: the percentage of our federal budget that goes into paying for food stamps is one kabillionth. This is not true. "Kabillionth" is not an actual mathematical term. But it is MORE true that Louis Gohmert king crab leg story.
And, in this first world nation of ours, helping poor people to feed themselves is literally* the least we can do.
Dumb assholes like Louis Gohmert stand up in front of congress and claim that the $4 a day a person gets in SNAP benefits is breaking the bank and then head on home to cash their checks from corporate America. ExxonMobil get 600 million dollars in tax breaks; Apple pays no taxes on a 74 billion dollar profit.
Make enough money to buy yourself a congressman or two as dumb and dickish as Louis Gohmert, gerrymander a district or two so that a congressman as deeply embarrassing to the state at large as Louis Gohmert can run practically unopposed and... same as it ever was: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
But I am hear to tell you that you don't have to be a dumb asshole. To avoid it, stop laying the blame for your own financial impecuniousness at the feet of people who have less than you. Punch up, fellow middle-class strivers. Not down. Stop begrudging those few dollars that help people feed themselves. And start asking why ExxonMobil isn't paying their goddamn fair share.
*I know I'm using the word "literally" wrong. But it's for effect. Dammit.