In a conservative intolerance one-two punch, Rick Santorum gives it to the poor and the obese in a single tweetable comment. The comment came at an Iowa town hall where he explained his plans to cut the federal food stamp program, should (God forbid) he be elected president.
“If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who say we have a hunger problem?” Santorum asked.
I am so totally fucking serious, y’all. He said that. Where people could hear. The government obviously needs to cut food-stamp funding, because the fatties haven’t yet starved down to a Santorum-approved weight. Seriously.
It’s a spectacular show of ignorance from a man who obviously understands neither poverty nor nutrition, and it’s an example of the classic conservative thinking that unless you’re sitting in a cold, dark one-room apartment and scrounging in dumpsters for food, you’re not actually poor. It’s also an example of classic thinking–not exclusive to the conservative end of the spectrum–that obese people are obese simply because of an overabundance of food.
A man who’s likely never wanted for a meal in his life, Santorum lacks both the frame of reference and the basic empathy to understand the concepts he nonetheless continues to speak about. He isn’t inclined to understand that even if obesity were caused by excessive eating–which it isn’t–and if it really were a “crisis” in and of itself–which it isn’t–it wouldn’t be solved by giving people less money to eat with.
Affordable health care would help people stay healthy. Urban areas where people feel safe leaving their houses, public transportation, and well-maintained sidewalks would help people stay healthy. Making healthy food readily available in low-income areas, rather than continuing to subsidize corn and other nutritionally bankrupt crops, would help people stay healthy. Castigating people for their weight as if it’s a inerrant indicator of physical health doesn’t help people stay healthy. And literally expecting people to go hungry, because obviously obesity arises from untold riches and abundant food, is not just ineffective but full-on beastly cruel.
Poor people are poor because they’re lazy and unworthy. Fat people are fat because they’re lazy pigs. Starve them and deprive them of any form of physical comfort, and they’ll learn the errors of their ways and bootstrap themselves into health and wealth. Once we’re a nation of Oliver Twists, our economy will flourish and peace will reign across the land.