The path that pilgrims once cut, through rugged landscapes and across great rivers, has been paved over. The men who pounded the stakes and laid the railroads across the plains are now just dust, watching Amtrak trains roll over the tracks they once built. The homesteads that once provided organic produce have been replaced by long lines of people waiting for their stamps so they can buy junk food.
Hearts of independence have eroded away to systems of collective dependence, as the comforts of life make it all too easy. For so many, the path is already laid out – what they eat, learn and put in their medicine cabinet is all handed down to them. And for some reason, the depression and disconnect is worse than ever. It can be seen in the eyes of some people, walking in lines with nothing to produce, nothing to explore, nothing to live for.
The earthly connection of Native American tribes with the land has given way to distanced relationships of craned over necks and glazed over eyes, consumed by social media. As the cameras watch and calculate everyone's next move, somewhere, where the herd thins, someone is still planting their food and reaping the harvest of their own doing.
When a free man is removed from his innate purpose of working to provide for his own keep, his eyes glaze over, like a lion's eyes do, when relegated to the confines of a zoo cage. Maybe all the conveniences handed out so easily are not so good for the spirit of the human being. There's something soulfully fulfilling when one provides independently and can freely share the fruits of one's labor however one wishes.
America's socialist experiment of the 1913 income tax has suppressed man's freedom to provide independently and share the fruits as he wishes. For this, Americans have slowly accepted entitlement programs which are slowly stripping the American soul of its passions and freedoms. A program such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can be a valuable method to help people who honestly have no other way to feed themselves. However, this program is increasingly being used irresponsibly, and is enabling a dependence mindset. According to December 2015 statistics, the number of Americans in the food stamp program has hit nearly 50 million. Where has the independent spirit of America gone? Where has it fled?
For 56 straight months, there have been over 45 million Americans receiving food stamps in order to eat. Participation in the SNAP program has increased by more than 1,470 percent since 1969, according to USDA data. In December 2015, the average monthly benefit of recipients was $256.51, but the total cost to taxpayers now exceeds $5.73 billion.
Americans are no longer predominantly fishers, hunters, gardeners, foragers and entrepreneurs. These statistics show that self sufficiency is dying, as more people rely on corporate government structures to pump out processed junk food just to eat.
It's the dependency, the "rich-owe-me" mindset which is plaguing people, stealing their drive and determination. Now, more people than ever before have no choice but to eat the foods they've been allowed to purchase with their stamps. This in turn allows recipients to keep more money in their pockets for things like cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.
What if these programs taught people how to produce more of their own food? This new mindset would serve people better over time, instead of encouraging them to depend on free things always being there.
Worried that the unsustainable program could run out of money altogether, lawmakers in Congress are working on implementing new work requirements for Americans to receive food stamps. This is a step in the right direction, and even better would be a food growing/food sharing program that helped people reconnect with healthy foods that prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Most of the products that food stamps buy only fuel people's health woes. Reconnecting capable people with growing natural foods and organic growing practices could liberate the health of their physical bodies, while restoring the vitality of their spirit.
By adding new productivity requirements and food growing education to food stamp programs, Americans could get back on track with the right mindset, and start blazing new trails that truly lead people out of poverty and health suppression.