On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Republican Party posted a rather ill-advised message on their Facebook. In it, they contrasted the logic behind the Food Stamp Program to the National Park Service’s famous warning, “please don’t feed the animals.”
In effect, the Oklahoma GOP is likening the poor to wild animals, which you might note is dehumanizing, infantilizing, and downright offensive.
The rationale behind this, the post claims, is that animals grow “dependent on handouts and [do] not learn to take care of themselves.” Which isn’t actually the case at all. Artificially-fed wildlife tends to grow more aggressive, wandering beyond its habitats into areas inhabited by people, in search of ready meals.
So unless the GOP is suggesting that food stamps will cause the poor to wander past their “designated” areas and attack people, their analogy is rather lacking.
Sadly, that’s probably not too far from the truth. People opposed to living near homeless shelters or soup kitchens, or having such built in their localities, are spurred by a desire to “keep the homeless” out of their landscape. You only have to look at how the police are tasked with dispatching the homeless from urban and suburban areas to see this is the case.
Needless to say, people are fuming.
The Oklahoma GOP wrote a Facebook post comparing poor kids to wild animals, while spreading lies about food stamps. http://t.co/IuIcEjU97E— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 15, 2015
Today I've learned that Poor children are animals, but an aborted fetus is sacred life. That's not a mixed message at all, @GOP— Fresh Brew (@TheFreshBrew) July 14, 2015
Happy Bastille Day! The GOP calls poor people are animals, and American police have killed over 500 people this year. *Bastille Day.*— FC Heard (@HeardFC) July 14, 2015
Comparing the poor to animals is certainly offensive, but so is the idea that helping hungry people eat is morally wrong.— Bryce Covert (@brycecovert) July 15, 2015
The Oklahoma GOP, however, isn’t interested in analyzing the prejudices behind their throwaway statements.
Party chairman Randy Brogdon posted a fauxpology, insisting that the post was “misinterpreted.” Then he attempts to explain what he really meant, for those of us too slow to comprehend the nuances of his message.
i.e. “sorry not sorry.”
I'm sorry you misinterpreted my post comparing poor people to animals. I was simply trying to compare poor people to animals. Kisses, Randy— Jack Fowler (@jackfowlerart) July 14, 2015
Gawker writer Hudson Hongo puts it perfectly:
“Randy’s intended message is now clear: The needy should be out there foraging for their meals in our nation’s parks, just as God and Ronald Reagan intended.”
Oh, GOP. Doesn’t your jaw get sore from all that foot-in-mouth?