Friday, December 08, 2006

Since Breakfast I have Low Food Security

Although I am not personally acquainted with Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California, I was sufficiently fortunate to register for her updates, and, as a result, I receive regular, if generic, emails from her. However, the one which I received today was focused on a subject which struck a deep and disturbing chord, particularly upsetting during a season of tides of joy and abundance.

Orwell wrote about reducing complex ideas to simple phrases in order to have the least common denominator citizen be able to understand what the state directed was good for him/her. The report from Senator Boxer describes such a simplification, or alteration, in order to be more “precise” and less “obtuse.”

Or so they say:

Dear Friend:

The Department of Agriculture recently announced that it would remove the word “hunger” from reports on the nation’s food supply. Instead, it announced that it would use “low food security” or “very low food security” in its reports. I have written to Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns to express my displeasure over this change.

Officials at the Department of Agriculture report that the change in labels was not a plot to try to disguise or mask hunger in America. Instead, they claim that “hunger” is too amorphous a phrase to describe, in their terms, ''a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation.''

Boxer’s concern is admirable, and as my representative in the senate, appropriate. And the ensuing statistics are beyond comprehension in the richest country in the world:

Last year, the total number of Americans without regular access to food actually decreased by 3 million, but 35 million still lacked adequate food supplies. Hunger is still a serious problem in our nation, and changing the name will not change this fact.

Good for you, and for all of us, Senator Boxer. Someone has to keep tabs on the BS our gutless government wants to keep heaping onto we, the people.

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