Monday, April 25, 2011

How Low Will Republican Politicians Go ?

I have written many times about the wrong-headed and failed economic policies of the Republican Party, and the mean spirit shown by some of their politicians. But every now and then one of these Republican politicians will do something so shockingly mean that it simply takes my breath away. The latest of those is State Senator Bruce Caswell of Michigan.

Senator Caswell (pictured) has decided that foster children and children of the poor don't deserve any new clothes -- not even inexpensive clothing from a discount store. He wants a law that would take the state money set aside to help clothe these children and turn it into a "gift card" (state voucher) that could only be used at a second-hand store like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift stores like them.

I am so aghast at Caswell's proposal that I'm left virtually speechless. So I will give you the words of the great blogger at The Immoral Minority, who probably says it better than I could anyway:

"I almost don't know what to say about this.  I am stunned at this man's complete lack of compassion and empathy for the foster children in his state.

I don't like to talk about what I do for a living, but let me just say that I often work with disadvantaged children, including some in the foster care system, and I know first hand what kind of stigma these kids deal with every single day.

They are ripped from their families, often through no fault of their own, and find themselves bouncing from one foster home to another for years, feeling unwanted and unloved. They can suffer from a crippling lack of self esteem, and find themselves on the outside of EVERY social clique in their school, knowing full well they simply are not like the other children sitting their classrooms.

Why would you make children who already feel like cast offs themselves, walk around in cast off clothing?

Does this sorry excuse for a human being have ANY idea what kind of self esteem boost one of these kids gets from having the opportunity to go to a regular store like Old Navy, or Nordstroms, or even Wal-Mart, and pick the clothes that THEY want to wear? To know that those clothes were purchased JUST for them, and are NOT just something a wealthier kid had no more use for?

Well I have. And I have seen them wear those clothes as often as they can until they have literally grown right out of them. I have seen them crying with concern that their foster parent will not have the money to buy anything so "cool" the next shopping trip. And I have also witnessed the sense of pride they feel as they fold them up carefully and take them to the Salvation Army, so that somebody in a worse situation than they are will have the opportunity to wear the clothes that they took such pride in wearing, and that they took such pains to keep in near perfect condition.

I would suggest that this gentleman go along on a shopping trip with a foster family and see for himself how it can light up a child's face to pick a beautiful dress and know that, unlike most of the things in their lives, it is just for them.  Perhaps it is hard for those of us who can get in our car and buy ourselves a new pair of pants anytime we want, to understand the joy these children feel at such a simple opportunity. But have no doubt that it can do wonders in making them feel special, and loved, and wanted."

I am reminded of the old saying that one can let others think they are stupid or they can open their mouth and remove all doubt. Caswell has removed any doubt of his stupidity and downright meanness. It is one thing to have policies that favor the rich and allow them to corner much of the nation's wealth. It is quite another to single out poor children for humiliation. It is not just ignorant, but shameful. If he had a shred of decency he would resign and never appear in public again after begging for forgiveness, but he seems to be proud of his views -- and that says a lot about him.


  1. give me a break!!!!! Obama is the wolf in sheeps clothing.
    People see it-can't fool us again.
    I want someone who loves America, not trying to destroy it one day at a time.
    Let him crawl back under his rock in 2012.

  2. Anyone who disagrees with you politically doesn't love America? I think you're the one that needs to crawl back under your (racist) rock!

  3. So, what next for foster kids: wearing an arm band identifying them as such OR only allowed to eat leftovers from wealthier schoolmates?

    Is this part of "compassionate conservatism"?

  4. I stumbled on this site, and the title or particularly the second sentence of it "how low will republican politicians go?" caught my attention.
    After reading the basic idea of senator Caswell's proposal, I thought about it, and assumed that what the senator was trying to do was to ensure that the children whom the money is supposed to buy clothes for -actually get cloths. It is not an uncommon problem for foster parents to skim from the money they get for the children they "care" for. I was surprised at the anger that this proposal generated until i realized that it wasn't the basic idea of gift cards that was the problem. It was the second hand retail outlets that Ted McLaughlin objected to. And it is a legitimate objection. The senator didn't think about the possible emotional impact that buying second hand cloths might have on the children.
    However, I don't think that was out of "meanness". You can literally buy three times as much clothing second hand as you can new. Might it be possible that rather than trying to make a statement that because they are poor they only deserve other peoples "cast off" that senator Caswell was trying to ensure that these children got the most bang for their buck? No! ludicrous! He's a republican he can only be wrong headed and malicious. Come on folks, when you don't have a lot of money it makes sense to spend it wiesly. It's called being frugal -and in the long run it is the way to actual wealth -which is not a bad thing for children to learn. That doesn't mean that the kids aren't 'good enough' or 'deserving" to have new cloths. It was just the most obvious way for them to get the most cloths. Was it poorly thought out yes. was it malicious no.
    I know that there are a lot of republicans who are down right corrupt. But the same can be said of democrats. Pettiness, foolishness, and just plan thoughtlessness are found in both parties -on every level of government. But rather than labeling all reps or all dems with a broad brush can't we get a dialogue going? Can't we as inheritors of the great conversation discuss individual actions and the merits or lack there of? -Looking at both sides of the argument, trying to understand where the other person is coming from, before automatically condemning them is the only way to live together. Here is a link to senator Bruce Caswell's websight where he talks about this proposal.

    My origional thought that he just wanted to ensure the kids got cloths seams to be correct. And if you look at what his website says, "Senator Caswell initially proposed issuing a gift card for the clothing allowance for resale (second hand) shops in order to ensure the money would actually go toward purchasing clothing. After a suggestion from a constituent, he plans to draft an amendment to the proposal that would direct the state to work with major retailers"
    So it looks like he was alerted to objections like the ones posted on this blog and is working to fix it. -He doesn't really seam like such a bad guy if he is listening to the people and fixing the problem.
    And now there is one less thing to be angry about. Unless the originator of this post has other legitimate issues with this bill that he didn't publish in the original, it would be intellectually dishonest of mR. McLaughlin to continue being disparaging about sen Bruce Caswell.

    I know that this is just one post on one website, but hopefully its a drop in the bucket to actually having civil duologue. And being logical about coming to conclusions. -hope it wasn't tl;dr


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