Reality TV 2012 - Gingrich in South Carolina
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Reality TV 2012 - Gingrich in South Carolina

Plainfield : NH : USA | Jan 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM PST
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Food Stamp Challenge

Both parties are guilty of creating or misstating issues that spark voter passions. Newt Gingrich has an intoxicating way of appealing to white conservatives as he spouts that he alone has the knowledge, and wants to instruct African Americans about how to get jobs instead of depend on food stamps, yada, yada, yada. Last night’s debate in South Carolina was an epic display of Newt at his best. Per the Huffington Post, the exchange between Juan Williams, an African American Fox News journalist, and Newt “lit a fire underneath the crowd, and in so doing seemed to increase his chances of gathering momentum ahead of Saturday's primary in South Carolina.

Mr. Gingrich opined: "It's the only time I've ever seen a standing ovation, certainly in the debates I've been involved," Gingrich told reporters. From Mr. Gingrich’s perspective; "There was a spontaneous sense that somebody finally had the courage to just tell the truth about how we've got to go about helping people, and the fact that I was very clear." If only he and the other candidates just told the truth!

Newt was gregarious and he clearly insulted Mr. Williams who revisited Mr. Gingrich’s statement made earlier in the fall stating that poor children in low-income neighborhoods should be given janitorial work in local schools. Williams was cool under fire when he quipped; “Can't you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?"

Gingrich replied flatly: "No, I don't see that." The crowd erupted approvingly and loudly. Gingrich then stated that his daughter worked as a janitor when she was 13. Gingrich’s daughter confirmed that she cleaned the church bathrooms on Sunday at the Baptist Church she attended. She also stated that she was paid for her labor. Gingrich pushed onward by suggesting that the New York City could "hire 30-some kids to work as janitors in the school for the price of one janitor. Smugly, he proclaimed; “those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out."

Let’s examine his line of thinking. The average salary for public school janitors across the nation is approximately $24,529.00 annually. So, to use Newt’s example, the city of New York should fire a public school janitor, and replace him/her with 30 poor students that would earn, individually, almost $818.00 annually. Gingrich never stated what would happen to the “fired” janitor or the future economic viability of that individual/family. Gingrich’s assumption that $818.00 annually would teach a poor child to appreciate the benefits of staying in school and gain a respect for hard work and perceive that hard work is the path to the American Dream, is simply ludicrous, especially in New York City. How many hours a day would those children be required to work? What about their homework? When their peers begin to tease and torment them, how is $818.00 annually going to protect them from ridicule and shame?

The crowd at the debate last night was composed primarily with Southern whites that loudly booed Juan Williams after he asked Gingrich if his comments were "intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities." Gingrich responded by stating; "First of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. Now, I know among the politically correct you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable." What is uncomfortable for most conservatives to admit, especially in the South, is that welfare and the Food Stamp Program has always represented unnecessary liberal government programs used solely to support poor African Americans, other minorities, and immigrants. Gingrich’s statement and the audience failed to acknowledge the glaring facts that the majority of people on welfare and the working poor who receive food stamp assistance are white. One of Gingrich’s bald-faced lies is that Obama is responsible for the rise in Food Stamp recipients. The economy had tanked under GW Bush and Obama inherited the economic mess from the previous administration. Gingrich prefers to cleave to half-truths because he is only interested in being the man in the Oval Office. This is the same man who is known for government shutdowns in 1995 because he refused to compromise with Bill Clinton on budget cuts. Sound familiar?

What Americans need from their elected officials and those desiring to be elected is simple: the plain, unvarnished truth. Most of us know that there are real problems with how our government officials conduct our business. The majority of people in Congress, and that includes Newt, are rich and all have access to very wealthy people who are more than happy to donate to their campaigns. These donations come with a price tag that rarely benefits the average American. Clearly, the candidates are out of touch with average Americans. The working poor in this country work very, very hard and many work more than two, some three jobs, in an attempt to just stay afloat. Americans are not lazy and no one wants to depend on the government dole. Living on welfare is not panacea, regardless of what political candidates try to convey.

Rick Santorum believes that Americans can still be successful and achieve the American Dream as long as they possess a high school diploma. And what does Santorum say to the tens of thousand of unemployed college graduates? Mitt Romney, the apparent chosen one, loves to say that President Obama wants turn our democracy into socialism. Last time I checked, Americans, that is, those with jobs, work more hours than their European counterparts and have fewer benefits in the form of paid vacations and a functioning national healthcare. New Gingrich wants more Steve Jobs. The reality is, Steve Jobs, like other American executives, created a unique, very successful empire using foreign labor. There isn’t, and hasn’t been an Apple factory located anywhere in the United States. And yet, New Gingrich, a man who says he wants to help the poor get jobs, praises a man who built his fortune using cheap foreign labor while charging first world prices for his products.

Americans, regardless of race, can no longer trust government or expect corporations to provide jobs. There is absolutely no motivation for corporations to hire Americans when they are not penalized for moving their operations to foreign countries to cut labor costs. Corporations already enjoy incredible tax break and many very successful corporations never pay taxes. As long as the average American continues to believe that the rich should receive special privilege because one day, he too will be rich, is the kind of thinking that will destroy our democracy. It’s time for us to demand the truth from government from mega corporations that have abandoned American workers, and it’s way past the time for us to become educated about the system that no longer ensures the American Dream.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
allenels is based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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