Leave the animal metaphors to George Orwell.
Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, most sane people agree that the poor shouldn't go hungry. What makes welfare a contentious issue amongst politicians, however, is the question of how exactly the government should spend its money to ensure this. Democrats perceive Republicans as stingy, while Republicans perceive Democrats as wasteful. It's a volatile debate, but a debate that needs to be had nonetheless. The social media manager for the Oklahoma Republican Party recently went a bit too far with his stance in a recent post, however, and compared welfare recipients to animals. The post, which was deleted but not before being screen-shotted, contained the following message:
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
Thus ends today's lesson in irony #OKGOP
Eeeeekkk. Yeah. It's pretty terrible. There's a way to make a point about dependency without talking about poor people like they're subhuman. It's not the first time such an argument has been made, however; the Washington Post pointed out that two different senators have made the same analogy in the past. A few hours later, the author of the post and Oklahoma Republican party chairman Randy Brogdon, offered an apology:
Last night, there was a post on our OKGOP Facebook page, and it was misinterpreted by many. I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention.
This post was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals.
However I do think that it's important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever.
Quoting President Reagan, “We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”
As read in our Oklahoma Republican Statement of Principles, we believe that “free market principles are the best to stimulate our economic development rather than government subsidies or programs” and I was doing my best to echo that view.
Again, I apologize for any misconceptions that were created.
Okay, it's good that he made the gesture of an apology, but I can't help but feel that it's a bit insincere. His use of passive-voice in phrases such as "[I]t was misinterpreted by many" and "I apologize for any misconceptions that were created" takes the blame off of him and places it on the audience. He's sorry that you were offended, not sorry that he made the statement. But then again, maybe I'm just another mindless talking head that's part of the socialism-loving lamestream media.