An article in the Greenville (SC) News revealed that Andre Bauer, the current lieutenant governor of South Carolina and the Republican candidate for governor to replace the notorious Mark Sanford, has solved the problem of poverty. It is, perhaps, not as immediate as Jonathan Swift's modest proposal to stew them for dinner; but over time it will achieve the same intent. Bauer said that poor children should be allowed to starve to death.
Where did he get this idea? From his sainted grandmother. Here's part of the text of his speech, as reported by Nathaniel Cary:
"'My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better,' Bauer said."
Wow. Do PETA and the Humane Society know that he favors starvation of stray animals? Do the voters of South Carolina know he's a cruel and arrogant man?
On his own personal blog on his own personal website, he clarifies what he said in Fountain Inn:
"At the same time, I feel strongly that we can and should help our neighbors who are truly needy. In fact, I’ve spent much of my last seven years helping those in need… traveling the state to help provide blankets, shoes, food and health care to those who need it most. However, there’s a big difference between being truly needy and truly lazy."
This man is running in South Carolina, notorious for its religiosity. He must not be reading his Bible to good purpose. Jesus didn't say, "Feed my truly needy sheep." He said, "Feed my sheep." Letting children starve? Letting animals starve? Nope. I've actually read that book several times, in several translations, and nowhere does it suggest such actions.
What's left to be said?
That balance is important, and Bauer has nicely balanced the kind American response to the earthquake in Haiti. (Side note: It's American children he thinks should be allowed to starve, not Haitian children.)
That the nineteenth century South Carolinian politician whose name escapes me was a genius when he said, "Poor South Carolina. Too small to be a republic, too big to be an asylum."
That local newspapers are as vital to American society now as they were in Ben Franklin's day.
That Andre Bauer just slammed the door to his political future on his own ass.
If you'd like to let the lieutenant governor know how you feel, e-mail him at andre @ andreabauer dot com.