This Week's Poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking!
Like all Americans, we believe in the promise of the American Dream. You know what that means: work hard, be smart and play the lottery. Hey, in this country of inflationary inequality, gerrymandering, hanging chads and corporations that are people too, my friend -- the lottery seems to us like the last bastion of true democracy! It doesn't matter how poor or how uneducated: everybody has an equal chance of losing!
Of course, it turns out that some democracy-hating Republicans may want to change all that. In North Carolina, a new law being proposed by Paul Stam (R-Grinchville) would make it illegal to sell a lottery ticket to anyone on welfare or in bankruptcy. "We're giving them welfare to help them live," says Stam, "and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities."
We can't help pointing out a few things. First, how are those ticket vendors supposed to figure out who is on welfare or in bankruptcy? (Maybe Jan Brewer, the infamous "papers, please" governor of Arizona, is faxing over some suggestions?)
Second, aren't most Republicans against giving the poor that welfare money in the first place? When they buy lottery tickets, they're handing the money directly back to the government. You'd think that would thrill conservatives! And it's not even called a tax!
Lastly -- and here's the one that galls us most -- is that statement by Rep. Stam: the poor should be using welfare money for only "the barest of necessities." What could be more of a necessity than hope?
Sure, you'll probably lose, but -- like celebrity or fashion magazines -- a lottery ticket gives the working poor just a little taste of what it would be like to be filthy rich and finally get to spit in the eye of Sam Walton. (And, unlike those dream the impossible dream magazines like Architectural Digest, Yachting and Eating Well, the lottery at least holds out the sliver of a chance that you might actually win.) Who do Republicans think they are, taking away that hope, however small, from anyone? And who do they think should be playing the lottery? Mitt Romney?
Sheesh. So we already knew that the modern GOP isn't much in favor of actual democracy -- the all-men-are-created-equal kind. But we never imagined they'd try to take it this far.
So that brings us to a question. Republicans, Grinch-like, don't want to let the poor play the lottery, taking even that away from them. So, if they won't give them hope, we're asking you: What will they give them?
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