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Friday, May 6, 2011


We start out as beginners at everything. The only things babies know is how to breathe, eat, cry, and mess themselves. Everything else is learned behavior. We don’t care about the color of our president or the size of our house. All we want is to be fed and cuddled. I like to write happy stories, but I need to rant because good people aren’t speaking up to rhetoric in the media and in politics, and I’m hearing otherwise intelligent people repeating shocking things. Specifically, I had a disagreement with a friend. Now obviously, I’m going to tell you I was right. It’s my blog, so I get to be Grand Poobah of this virtual world and it’s important to speak against evil, no matter if the evil comes from the voice of a friend.

The topic was school lunches. I think schools should provide healthy lunches for poor kids. My pal thinks that there shouldn’t be any school food at all. Parents should pack lunches, and be punished for bad food choices. (She also thinks parents should be punished if they don’t supervise their children through 6 hours of homework every night.) She asserts feeding children is not the tax payers’ problem because their poverty is the fault of the parents. If parents can’t feed their kids then put the parents in jail and take away the kids. Problem solved.


Some people living comfortable lives don’t feel responsible for the less fortunate. They want to keep all their “hard earned” money, and too bad for everyone else. Take away the social safety nets for anybody unwilling to work as hard as they think they have worked. It’s easier to blame poor people for their problems instead of looking at the decades of political decisions that have led to the miserable lives of people who don’t know how to change their situations.

I want to live in a kind society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Many people think that’s what we’ve got, but how many of them have spent time in the inner city or a trailer park? Sure, every now and then someone rises from the dregs of society and succeeds, but what about the vast majority of kids who never get the chance? Their schools suck, their teenaged parents never got an education to help with homework, Dad is in jail, Mom works 2 jobs, and the kids are so hungry they can’t concentrate on classes. That’s a reality. Not everyone comes from a “good” family. How can anyone look at a hungry child and say “I don’t want to feed you”?

When I was in college, I worked for the Columbus Tenants Union. I went to poverty-stricken neighborhoods and tried to get people to cough up $20 for membership with promises that by banding together, they could change their living situations. I sat on a woman’s couch looking through the car-sized hole in the brick wall of her living room and watched children playing on overfilled dumpsters with rats. The woman had already lived through an Ohio winter with that depressing view. The woman was disabled and on public assistance. What could I tell that woman? What could I tell the children playing in the dumpster? Can my friend understand their reality?

There but by the grace of God, go I. Or my friend. She just doesn’t recognize it. She credits her parents for a good example and herself for working hard without factoring in that she’s attractive, intelligent, and went to good schools. She never had to deal with a hole in her wall with no way to fix it. Is it fair for my friend to say too bad you didn’t choose better parents?

I don’t know how to teach people empathy, but I certainly know Jesus-loving people need shamed into behaving more Jesus-like. What would Jesus do? He’d feed hungry children!! If our society has gotten to a point where it’s socially acceptable to say “let children starve”, we deserve to fail. If good people allow others to make statements like that, we deserve to fail too. Children are more important than what’s in your bank account, and it’s more than school lunches. It’s also important to have social workers to protect children and seniors from abuse, good teachers in schools, and a lot of other programs that the Republicans are trying to cut while the wealthiest segment of the population gets wealthier. Of course it’s important to cut waste in spending, but let’s use sense and stop hurting the most vulnerable people!

Each time a new child enters our lives, we have a new opportunity to see life through their eyes. Kids have an innate sense of right and wrong. We need to go back to the beginning and learn better lessons. Most of all, the “Silent Majority” needs to find our voices and speak up!


  1. very nice illustration!You are right about being beginners at everything too!

  2. though not a Christian myself, I know that he said, "When I was hungry, you gave me food... whatever you do (or do not do) for the least of these you did unto me."
    So I cannot understand those who would say we shouldnt care for the poor, or that they somehow deserve it, and consider themselves religious people. it boggles the mind.
    I think you hit the nail on the head, people who talk like that, are often ignorant of how other's live.
    why dont we cut the budget by getting out of the middle east, now theres a thought i havent heard the republicans mention

    beautiful illustration

  3. Oh I so love your rants Linda, you should get talking to my husband who is totally on your wavelength with this. He despises the well paid here who cheat and dodge their taxes. He always says if no one pays their taxes, there will be no schools, healthcare, road sweepers etc etc etc.He earns us a good living,I consider us very fortunate, although he worked damned hard to get there and still does. Everyone has to play the part they can. I am of the opinion that no one chooses who they are born to, some really do get such a short straw - there but for the grace of God goes everyone! I have always worked as a physio in the NHS, never privately, as I feel that everyone has a right to the same good standard of care, whether they have money or not. I could rant away for ever too but I shall just say...great illustration at the "beginning"! Hope you have a good weekend now that you have got that out of your system!
    Jane x

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Sorry typo on the first comment...

    I dealt with a hole in the wall, a leak in the roof that was later blown away. No one can lift you up and hold you steady unless, you pick yourself up and stand up. At least try. I don't accept these situations as excuses for instituting a socialist agenda. I have lived under a dictatorship, socialism and martial law. No one can save anybody who is not willing to stand up for and by himseld or herself. Even you die trying, at least you tried. I know many friends who became martyrs for democracy. Redistribution of wealth made what Philippines is today, a wretched, third world country.

    However, your art is always divine. Such beautiful illustration.

  6. I applaud the Grand Poobah rant! You are right on Linda. You go girl! AND...nice illustration!

  7. Hello Linda, nice illustration for Mother's Day! Thank goodness for our moms who looked out for us beginners!
    Can't wait to see what might be on your mind for Father's Day! ;o)
    Have a lovely week! :o)

  8. Hey Linda, so delicate with such a lovely restricted tonal range - and that's just the illustration!

    The delicate suits the subject eh? And I like h ow you work in the extended metaphor in the text. Hah, there are so many quotable quotes in their. Their but for the grace of God goes I. Or my friend. So true. When I am feeling like life is crap, well I just gotta look at the guy wheeling himself past on his wheelchair in the shopping centre and know my life is good

    thanks for the crits too
    I am working on them and will post the end result

    PS Ces, of course I am politically correct :) Heh.

  9. The true value of a society is how it treats their poor and needy. Some would say if you can't raise a child, don't have them. But these people are just so out of touch with reality. To stop the cycle of poverty is to help these kids so they can learn, and grow, and contribute at a higher level. It starts with food. Kids can't learn when they're hungry.

    Great post, bud. Glad to see you, your earnest words and wonderful illustration upon my return home this Friday.

  10. Thanks for all the comments! I’m glad I’m not alone. (Group hug)

    Great quote Amanda. I was thinking about the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus fed everyone with fish and bread. I’m all for ending wars to save money too. That would help out even more children.

    Jane, I wish the US had health care like you’ve got. The arguments about it have been fierce, with a lot of disinformation about it here. Give your hubby a kiss. We need more people like him!

    Michele, I had to laugh at the thought of Father’s Day. I’ll have to think up something special :)

    Andrew, good for you to count your blessings when you see the guy in the wheelchair. Too many people look away and don’t consider that they could be the ones that have to deal with something like that. I’m looking forward to seeing your finished project.

    Rand, great points!

    Ces, it seems to me that you’re a thoughtful and caring person, so I can’t imagine that you’re saying we should let children starve. Everyone alive has been helped by someone or we would’ve died in the crib. You have written about how wonderful your family was to you. What about the kids who don’t have that blessing? Who don’t get to attend school or get abused at home? To be clear, I didn’t say that people shouldn’t try to help themselves. I am a self-made woman, as much as it’s possible to be self-made. If I had money, I wouldn’t have worked in the slums to get through college. On the other hand, I also had a lot of help in the teachers, friends, and others who gave me the knowledge and emotional support I needed to believe I could go to college in the first place. The woman with the hole in her wall was in her 50s and semi-paralyzed from a degenerative disease. Are we just supposed to say she should crawl out of her wheelchair and find a job to feed herself because there are some other people who abuse the system? Some people need our help.

    I wasn’t discussing redistribution of wealth, but since you raised it, I’ll partially agree with you. We are in a state of redistribution, but that redistribution is the rich getting wealthier, and the poor poorer. The wealthy are paying less taxes now than they did decades ago. The top businesses recently reported that they made an 83% increase in profits. Many people are laid off, the remaining employees work harder, our jobs have moved overseas. The wealthy are bankrupting our country out of greed. They don’t even pay taxes, or worse, get tax credits which is the same thing as paying them to treat us this badly.

  11. Oh, I am not going to use your blog as a platform for this discussion because it can go on but I want to point to your statement:

    "The wealthy are bankrupting our country out of greed. They don’t even pay taxes, or worse, get tax credits which is the same thing as paying them to treat us this badly."

    First who do you call "rich" According to taxation code, a family earning $250,00 is rich. On the contrary, the rich pay the BULK of our taxes. Do you know that half of the people in this country don't pay taxes yet 59% receive government aid?

  12. very very well said, linda. and a beautiful piece. :-)

  13. I like how you tied in the mother bird feeding her young with the political issue or human issue of feeding the poor. I wish Jesus was here to solve our problems. That's is for sure.

  14. Nice illustration!

    This is a very good write up. There are many that need public assistance because of circumstances that they were born into and need help to get out of, or because of some other type of misfortune. Yet many abuse the system that we tax payers fund, and there needs to be a more vigilant system in place to get the "bad guys", and...that means more tax payer dollars. I guess that's another write up.

    PS: I am glad the school offers lunches, that I pay full price for. It offers free and low cost lunches to those in need. There are days I don't feel like or have nothing to pack, and I am grateful to have this option. They raise the rate of lunch by 10 cents every year so I have had a continual cost increase yearly. One child likes to buy all the time, the other likes to pack all the time. Either way with grocery costs I never catch a break :) Let's not even get into gas prices!

  15. Thanks everybody!

    Sharon, I’ve got to think if Jesus were here he’d start throwing more money changers out of the temple?

    Ces, the subject I raised was school lunches. Are you really saying that we should let children starve? It seems we are replaying the fall of the French monarchy when Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake” because she didn’t understand the people’s desperation and hunger. I’m sure Louis XVI thought he was just as entitled to his wealth as wealthy people today.

    “59% receive government aid” is misleading. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258), the breakdown of the budget is:
    20% Defense & Security
    20% Social Security
    21% Medicare, Medicaid, & CHIP
    14% Safety Net Programs (which is a catchall that includes everything through SS benefits, unemployment insurance, as well as assistance programs)
    6% Interest on National Debt
    The remaining portion of the budget is divided between veteran’s benefits, schools, transportation, research, etc.

    I think we can afford to feed children. We don’t need to agree on all of the Rep/Dem differences, and we won’t, but let’s keep our eyes on the things that truly matter. Hungry children is inexcusable in one of the richest countries of the world.

    Mary Lou, I totally agree. We should be vigilant about catching the “bad guys” who abuse the system, but we should also help the people who need help. I thought you’d jump on my pal’s comment that parents should do 6 hours of homework every night with their kids!

  16. Oh yeah I forget that point!! Oh well that too is another day. Must do some art now :)

  17. Fabulous post! First, your artwork is wonderful, love the attention to detail... And your rant is just splendid. I've done the hungry days not being able to focus to learn, yet I also experienced a state which helped to teach and train and place a parent in a better job, thereby lifting our family out of difficult times. So I understand both situations well.

    What I don't understand with people like your friend, is with the economy over the last few years, and the massive numbers of people working very secure well-paid positions... losing their jobs, losing their homes when it takes months-years to secure comparable employment, how can anyone say it has to do with ones hard efforts. These people did all that she has done, and continue to diligently search to find positions, how can you not feed their hungry children? How can you not feed any child who is hungry?

  18. Thank you Reflections!!! You said that beautifully!

  19. Hey Linda! I like the contrast between your sweet lovable birdies (I did bird too...great minds think alike) and your rant! Jesus said that when we feed one of the hungry... we are feeding Him. Paul said "if your enemy is humgry feed him." Well children certainly are not our enemy. Let's make sure are kid's are not going hungry. Great illo and post Linda!

  20. Thanks Jack! Great quotes. Maybe we'll get all these kids fed eventually? None of the world's problems are their fault. I'll look forward to seeing your bird, but at the moment I'm just taking a break from painting. Walls. Plain boring walls. Birds are much more fun :)

  21. "If parents can’t feed their kids then put the parents in jail and take away the kids. Problem solved." Hahaha Does she realize that taking away the kids and more jails means more taxpayer dollars and social programs? Personally, I think school lunches are great, as long as they are healthy. I see too may chicken fingers and pizza on the menu. For some, school lunch is the only real meal of the day. And healthy food means better attention and greater capacity for learning. I'm all for the kids.

    As for the rich getting richer and not paying taxes, well that stings. My husband used to earn a very good living, and it was demoralizing watching about 40% of his income go to taxes. The top 1% pay over 25% of the nation's taxes, while the lowest 20% pay less than 1%. I'm a Democrat and I think social programs are necessary, but I also believe it's a far more complicated issue than can be fixed with mere tax laws.

    Okay, that aside.... Your drawing is gorgeous! I love the softness of the pencil. It gives the image a very tender quality. Beautiful!

  22. I don't know what else you want from "government" as far as feeding the children. The majority of school district budgets go to administrative expenses, salaries of superintendents, teachers and associated service providers. Very little goes to actual teaching. As for school lunches, they cost $1.00 yes, one dollar here in Texas and for indigent students they cost $.50 yes, fifty cents in HS and $.25, twenty five cents in grade school. By the way, the majority of "indigent" students are illegal immigrants, so we are not really feeding Americans, unless you think America should feed the world which it is already trying to do through foreign aid, that is if local governments don't steal the funds first. No one goes hungry at school, believe me. If a child has not voucher, they always provide free lunches. I know because I volunteered at my daughter's grade school. Then again this is Texas, where we try to balance the budget, that is, if the Democrats don't demagogue the people into believing that Republicans want to starve the children and kill the women. I don't think we will ever agree because in your eyes, I am already an insensitive, uncaring person. I am so used to being accused of being morally inferior just because I am conservative.

  23. That holier than thou attitude and moral demagoguery gets old very fast. Rather than tackling the problems and honestly dealing with the issues without bankrupting this country, the liberals spout idiotic ideas like Republicans want to kill the women and children. Is the country that stupid?

  24. Politics aside, Ces, the most powerful force in the world is kindness. That said, perhaps we should all relax and find the love. These are hungry kids we're talking about. Just saying.

  25. Lovely, sweet illustration; the caring parent bird bringing a bug to the chicks.
    Then there is your caring text.
    I agree with you that the best thing a school can do is providing very good food that feeds the brain-power of the students. Here is an opportunity to teach students what good food is, to support the local community to buy ecological ingredients and to minimize plastic waste.
    However as a parent I kindly disagree with your remark 'The only things babies know is how to breathe, eat, cry, and mess themselves'. I have seen babies knowing a lot more. There is so much knowledge, it is just that we, adults, have forgotten how to read it. Slowly science tells us more. Babies are amazing in their communication, sensing and knowledge.
    Take care! Paula

  26. Thanks to everyone for their comments. Rand is absolutely right, these are hungry kids we’re talking about. I thought this ought to have been one topic we could all agree upon. As I said in the post, we all need to speak up to the rhetoric that ignores the fact that real people are suffering. I thought Reflections made great points about how people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are struggling to feed their children. I have seen jobs posted that require years of experience and a bachelors degree for $8/hour. How is someone supposed to live on that? There are so many people out of work, someone is likely to take those kinds of jobs and have to compete with others to get them. School lunches in my district are $3. That’s a big chunk out of an $8/hour paycheck.

    Ces, the issue is feeding hungry children. You’ve raised unrelated issues, and I have provided facts in response to them because I don’t want misleading statements to go unchallenged, but this gets to be a wild goose chase. Let’s stick with the topic. Children do go hungry in this country, and I want them fed.

    I completely agree with Bella that there are too many chicken fingers on the menu and with Paula that schools are an opportunity to teach students what good food is. I want all of our children to have the nourishment they need to grow and learn. I’ve also wondered about Paula’s other point about babies. I’ve looked in their eyes and wondered what they could teach us if they could talk?

  27. I love your sweet drawing and I agree hungry children should be fed.

  28. Very beautiful drawing and very true post.
    The children most definitely deserve and need to be taken care of and fed. Thanks for this!

  29. I totally agree. As a part-time teacher, I can tell you that if it weren't for school lunches, some of these kids wouldn't eat. Kids talk about their parents having to choose between rent and groceries, and we even have a program at one school that gives some of them food to carry them over the weekend. The blame falls on a lot of different places, but kids shouldn't go hungry. Period. (And, on a lighter note, I always love a beautiful bird drawing!!)

  30. Thanks everybody! It's the first time I've heard of weekend food for kids Sarah. Maybe it's the leftovers from lunch? Obviously I agree with you, kids shouldn't go hungry. Adults can argue about stuff as much as they want, but leave the kids out of it.

  31. nice and delicate. I find it hard to leave the nest, visually.
    Nice swirls and texture.

  32. Birds are a popular theme for this weeks IF topic. Your image is exquisite!

  33. Very nice, Linda! I like all your subtle values and textures. Birds are so difficult to draw - they never stand still long enough!

  34. I can have a hard time leaving my nest too Richard. Mardi, birds aren't really any more complicated than bunnies once you figure out how to put them together. I think maybe I do better birds than bunnies now that I think of it though. Maybe we all have our own animals to draw? Thanks for all the comments!!

  35. Shhhhhh. We're on the twail of a waskelly wabbit...

  36. Hi Linda! Lovely birds! Reminds me of the baby bald eagles we've been watching on UStream. That poor mama just sat and sat in the gusty wind to shield her babies. What mamas won't do for their kids, eh?

  37. Heisann Linda!
    Beautiful illustration!
    A marvelous speech!
    All children should have their basic needs met... but wealth is not synonym with happiness,for sure! I see many young people coming from rich homes, they suffer a lot!
    Lack of love, lack of care and lack of attention.
    Now I have finished my post,Linda http://viltogvakkert.blogspot.com/2011/05/if-beginners.html
    Have a nice weekend ;:OD)

  38. Beautiful, sensitive drawing, Linda.

  39. Thanks everybody! I have an urge to watch the eagle nesting now :)