Reduce their ‘unwelcome presence’


To the Editor:

At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, former vice-presidential aspirant Paul Ryan presented the inspirational story of a young boy from a poor family who refused to accept the free school lunch. He spurned the role of a freeloader. He insisted his mother make his lunch.

But let us ask, how did his mother acquire the food for his lunch? If she was truly poor, she probably bought it with food stamps. Which provokes another question: If her young son was too proud to take a free lunch from the government, should not the mother have been too proud to take the government’s food stamps? Should not the mother have as strong a character as her child?

We may have a promising idea for dealing with the nation’s poverty problem. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that there are far too many poor people among us. How can their numbers be reduced?

It would be an inspiring manifestation of the American spirit of rugged individualism if our nation’s poor people would summon the pride and self-respect to proclaim, “We will starve to death rather than take a government handout.”

We should be grateful to Paul Ryan. By holding up this young boy as a role model for poor Americans, he is suggesting a way of reducing the burden poor people place on us by their unwelcome presence in our society.

R.E.L. Knight

West Tisbury