Another recent example of snark over solutions was the response to the SNAP Challenge. Democrats demonstrated the supposed hardships with only using SNAP, the Supplemental (!) Nutrition Assistance Program. Predictably, in striving to prove their point that SNAP isn’t enough (and oblivious to the fact that it was never meant to be enough), Democrats’ campaign backfired when they showed how out of touch they are when it comes to purchasing food on a budget. SNAP allocates about $31.50 per person per week. Congressman Donald Payne showed his solidarity by lamenting that he had to spend $1.08 on a hard-boiled egg. This is obviously begging for ridicule given that in many areas you can get a dozen eggs for around the same amount. A little of that goes a long way and it gets old when we’re routinely talking about the Obama economy, but belittling the programs that the poor actually use.
There is no doubt that SNAP needs reforms, but I don’t think snark and ridicule are the right tools for winning people to our side. On another website I wrote an article questioning whether a fellow writer calling SNAP users “fat slobs” was a practice that would help us gain converts. She responded that she doesn’t care about using words that could hurt the “Republican brand.” Sure, I get it, we’re all conservatives disenfranchised by both parties. But given that our only short-term path to getting reforms to these programs is by getting Republicans elected, I do care. I also care about conservatives having a consistent message. She took issue with SNAP users buying junk food at grocery stores. Meanwhile, I’ve seen others complain that people can use SNAP benefits at farmer’s markets, saying that they’re living like yuppies on taxpayers’ dollars. Sorry, but a lecture about “fat slobs” taking government assistance while having no shame doesn’t do anything to inspire, particularly when we’re also attacking the Obama Administration for not caring about jobs. I know there are those who take advantage of government assistance, but insulting them isn’t going to change the mindset of permanent dependency on government. It just furthers the mindset that the conservative plan for success doesn’t apply to “them,” whomever they may be.
Then, there’s Detroit. A city that has been suffering under liberal polices filed for bankruptcy. Conservatives had a field day. Tired of the snark-infested response, I was surprised to see an unexpected ally in former “Congressbum” Thad McCotter. Not a stranger to well-placed snark, McCotter wrote in The Daily Caller, “[A]s a longstanding object of national derision, Detroit knows that in some quarters her bankruptcy has been met with gloating. Fine, but know this: if she does not rise from these ashes, Detroit will become an ominous milestone of American decline, from which no quarter will be spared.” McCotter is exactly right. Today some may be gloating or making snarky comments about the person in front of them using SNAP benefits. Or single mothers like “Julia” who turn to government programs they’re told are their only resource. But one day, possibly sooner than we think, it could be your cousin using SNAP. Your daughter who identifies with the struggles of Julia. Or your city that goes bankrupt. Or you who loses your job.
While it’s easy to mock the policies enacted by Democrats, let’s not forget that there are real people affected by these policies. Republicans and conservatives mocking the policies also mocks the people who are living in the Obama economy. Before someone got SNAP, they may have lost a job. Maybe a job that conservatives said would be lost because of Obama’s job-killing policies. And now we ridicule them? The policies and their enablers, not the people, deserve our ridicule. The Left already uses their policies to keep people down. Let’s offer solutions and reforms, not snark, to lift them back up.
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