We’re coming up on Thanksgiving, a Yankee Holiday that gets lost somewhere between the first three months of Christmas before Halloween and the two months of Christmas that come after it. It’s a holiday devoted to festivities; a time to get together with families, to drink, be merry, and, if you’re from Michigan like I am, joke about the Lions losing against the Packers because it’s tradition.
The big thing about Thanksgiving, however, is food. Food is on everyone’s mind this time of the year, including Stephan Colbert’s; the comedy central host devoted a whole section on last night’s episode of The Colbert Report to it — specifically, to food stamps, and how Republican cuts to food stamps force poor Americans to eat expired and damaged food.
Colbert began by noting that, in a land where food is supposedly plentiful and obesity is an epidemic, “more than one in seven households experienced food insecurity” in 2012, which basically means that “don’t know where their next meal will come from.”
Colbert can empathize: “I totally understand — just last night, I couldn’t decide whether to order Italian or Chinese. So I know what it’s like out there.”
He noted that he supports the “$800 million cut to the food stamp program that Congress passed this year,” but isn’t a “monster” — he wouldn’t “want any legitimately hungry person to starve. My heart goes out to society’s truly underprivileged — your lovable shoeshine boys, your photogenic waifs, your pie-crazed hobos.”
He then informed the audience that’s why he was so delighted “to learn about a trend that’s turning one man’s trash into another man’s edible trash.”
As far as I can tell, he’s not talking about McDonald’s, either.
Colbert then ran a clip from the Today show, detailing “salvage stores” that specialize in “selling expired food at greatly reduced prices.” The Today show clip explained that “Seventy-five percent of the items sold here have ‘Best By’ or ‘Sell By’ dates that have already expired. Damaged, dented, dated or discounted products that grocery stores won’t sell — letting consumers get kuh-razy discounts.”
Colbert then tipped his hat, as do I:
Yes. kuh-razy discounts, so poor families can get suh-bsistence nutrition. That’s why I’m giving a tip of my hat to salvage stores, for showing the least we can do for the hungry is less than any of us thought.
Sure, it may seem sad to eat products that are expired or damaged, but this is America, folks, where if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll eventually earn the dignity of an intact box of Triscuits.
And don’t think of it as eating discarded food. Those Spaghetti-Os are just being served al dente. They’re perfectly, probably, safe. So you’re welcome America’s hungry, because this is as good as it’s going to get — we just voted in the people who want more cuts.
To these guys, expired prunes aren’t a questionable food product — it’s their voter base.
So here we are: for millions of Americans, the American dream is merely surviving to the next pay check while eating expired bread. Remember, in a Soviet-style republic, it’s the government feeding you expired bread. In a capitalist one, it’s the Free Market©.
But we’ve still got a ways to go before we’re as bad some nations in Africa, so nobody panic. We need to wait until we’re at least on the same level as Ethiopia before we start doing anything, because that’s how the Libertarian race to the bottom works.
You can watch the segment below: