Elections Have Consequences

The words of Emma Lazarus, "Give me your tired, your poor...", are now truly silent. The United States Supreme Court just ruled (narrowly, 5 to 4) in favor of Trump's policy of using public benefits against those who are applying for permanent residence. It is now lawful for the government to deny a green card application based on the use of public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, and others. With how the Trump administration views immigration, it is not unlikely that reduced or free lunch in public schools or even education itself will likewise be denied to the tired and the poor in the near future. Trump is the president of the United States because of electoral votes and the Supreme Court has tilted to the right because of Trump. Elections have consequences. However, this is sadly just the tip of the iceberg. If these are merely consequences of an election, then all we have to do is to wait for the next election. The bigger problem is that a considerable number of people are actually happy with this ruling and among these people are immigrants from my native country, the Philippines.

Above copied from PBS

It is truly ironic especially when it does not take that much of an effort to find a family who first needed assistance during their first few years here in this country. Yet, we are much more easily convinced by stories of immigrants abusing public benefits. We are much more inclined to believe that this country is losing so much because of immigrants getting food stamps. This is the sad part. We have not only lost compassion, but we have also lost the truth.

First, food stamps do not cost that much. Every dollar spent on food stamps returns $1.71 to the United States economy. In 2018, this government program cost about 65 billion dollars. That is nearly the same yearly price of the war in Afghanistan without the 171% return.

Losing both truth and compassion places a serious obstacle in our quest for equity. That includes equity in education. There is a mindset of zero-sum gain that works against empathy. And another election may not change our current direction. We need to change our minds.


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