"Are our families secure? Are our jobs secure? Are our retirements secure? Security is a lot more than being safe on the subway." -- General Wesley ClarkI snatched this little bit of wisdom way back in 2003 before the good General had announced his run for the presidency.
Flash forward to Friday night as I listened to Bill Moyers’ radio program (Moyers and Company), “Kristi Jacobson and Mariana Chilton on How Hunger Hurts Everyone”.
Yes, it’s another summer of excess and escapism with the thrills and chills of Hollywood scaring us down to our popcorn, yet always with a happy ending. Meanwhile, back here in the real world, where we actually live, the best film of the summer isn’t an epic tale of horror or adventure but an eye-opening, heart-moving and mind-expanding reminder that millions of people in this richest country in the world, working men and women and their children, don't have enough to eat. The film’s called A Place at the Table and it's one of the best documentaries I've seen in years.You can read the full transcript or watch the episode at the link above.
Fifty million Americans, one in six, go hungry. And yet the House of Representatives can’t pass a farm bill because our members of Congress continue to fight over how many billions to slash from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Once again we’re hearing all the clichés about freeloaders who are undeserving of government help, playing the system and living large at the expense of taxpayers. This movie, A Place at the Table breaks those stereotypes apart and shows us that hunger hits hard at people who work hard to make a living. Don’t miss this one, its real life
With me is Kristi Jacobson, one of the film’s directors and producers. You’ve seen her work on public television, HBO, ABC, Lifetime, and other TV networks. Mariana Chilton is here too. She teaches public health at Drexel University and is director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. She’s also founder of Witnesses to Hunger, a group featured prominently in A Place at the Table.
"Are our families secure?
With all of the statistics showing income disparity, lack of adequate health care, food insecurity, foreclosures, low wages, outsourcing etc., a significant percentage of Americans would answer in the negative.
Are our jobs secure?
With the jobless rate hovering in the mid 7% nationally and the number of part time and low wage workers seemingly to be increasing, the labor market is being held in thrall to the “Job creators” (heartless bastards) who are only interested in the bottom line. Mergers and acquisitions destroy companies and/or shed jobs as they becoming leaner and definitely meaner (Unions? We don’t need no stinking unions!)
Are our retirements secure?
Pension funds? Raided by the above heartless bastards. The talk of dismantling Social Security still a topic of discussion. The great recession eating up savings (Savings? What are those?) and retirement plans.
Student loans? House underwater? Food or prescriptions? Good luck.
The lists go on and on. There have been numerous diaries on all of the above and many of the other issues that suck the life out of the hopes and dreams of the average citizen just trying to make a go of it.
And yet the fear of terrorism has driven the definition of “security” to mean only that we must be “safe on the subway”.
I am in no way a fan of “Dugout Doug” but he hits the nail on the head with this:
The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear: Keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened; seem never to have been quite real...."Makes me want to “…cut the soles off my shoes, sit in a tree, and learn to play the flute”.
---General Douglas MacArthur