National Review’s Julie Gunlock takes great umbrage with the notion of the latest puppet character on Sesame Street: Lily, a little girl who sometimes goes hungry.
Although Lily is just the latest politically charged plot to come out of Sesame Street, the problem with this storyline is that it is absolutely false. In fact, Lily’s lucky to be “poor” in this country. Sesame Street would be wiser to educate America’s children about the real poor and hungry — the 98 percent of the world population who live outside the United States.
The truth is, 94.3 percent of American households are able to put enough food on the table every day to feed their families. And despite the grim “facts” and figures thrown around by children’s television programs, celebrity spokespersons, and the mainstream media, the vast majority of children living in America are healthy and well fed.
The facts about hunger in America really aren’t that alarming — certainly not alarming enough to warrant a whole new Sesame Street character!
In fact, American kids have it pretty good. As I wrote on NRO back in January, the idiom “food insecure” — a term created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — means one has either “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” or “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”
So, far from hungry or starving, Lily suffers from a much less dramatic condition — unpleasant to be sure, but at its core, just a somewhat boring, irregular, and occasionally reduced diet.
Of course, what will likely be absent from Sesame Street’s lessons on “food insecurity” are the various federal, state, and local welfare programs for which Lily’s parents qualify: food stamps, WIC, free school meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) as well as all the charitable services provided to families in need, such as food banks and church-run food assistance.
Yes, how dare Sesame Street lie and lead anyone to believe that there are kids going hungry in a singularly exceptional country like America, the commie pinko (and actually pink) bastards. There’s no such thing as poverty here, only brave Real Americans supporting millions of parasites out of the goodness of our hearts (and we really should cut funding for the programs that do that so the moochers and looters will pull their fair share dammit.) Besides, God will fix it.
We have fat people with cell phones and shoes and ethnic hairstyles. Nobody’s actually poor in America the greatest country ever! Why, food insecurity is just an evil liberal myth.
The shoes belonging to Skyler, 10, and Zachery, 12, are falling apart. Their sister, Jordan, 14, wears the varsity coach’s shoes when she plays on her school’s volleyball team. Less visible is hunger. The children and their parents, Tonya and Ed McKee, of Dowagiac, Michigan, sometimes went without food this summer when Ed’s unemployment insurance ran out and the family was not yet receiving food stamps. Skyler told Cass he gave the birthday money he got at church to his mom for groceries, “and I told her she didn’t have to pay me back.” Skyler confided that sometimes his stomach has growled. “It’s hard, not easy like it was before where we had money and could do stuff. Now we don’t go anywhere… Sometimes we don’t have food and we just don’t eat.”
“Damn kids could stand to skip a meal once in a while, the little lardasses are lucky they’re not in Zimbabwe or Mongolia or Costa Rica or something. And hell, we send them food all the time. Ungrateful, all of them! Maybe if we got rid of these safety net programs or piled on condescending shame, they’d spontaneously create entrepreneurship and join the job creators.” Right?
Hungry people in America? They don’t exist. Not like food insecurity actually affects people if it doesn’t affect NRO writers. It’s always good to hear what “poverty is really like” from people who reduce missing meals to an exercise in statistics. The Math Demands It(tm). Conservatives: people who think the war on poverty means getting rid of the people dragging the national average down.