Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Note on the Deserving and Undeserving in America

Florida's citrus industry is in steep decline, especially the grapefruit growers. Pests, diseases, and a decline in grapefruit consumption have caused production to fall from 41 million boxes in 2000 to 16 million this year. So citrus growers have, of course, turned to the government for help:
“We employ a lot of people, and then there are the old guard, who have lived in Florida for generations — people you want to help,” said Doug C. Bournique, executive vice president and general manager of the Indian River Citrus League, which oversees the narrow, grapefruit-rich district stretching 200 miles from Daytona Beach to West Palm Beach. “For a while we were screaming and screaming and got no love, and now everybody wants to help.”
Got that? The growers are real Americans, working the same land for generations, and having done so much to help the country they now want the country's help back. The contrast would seem to be recent immigrants who haven't yet paid their dues, or shiftless people whose families have been scrounging around on charity and welfare for decades.

I know I am reading a lot into a throwaway line from a lobbyist, but I think this is a sentiment with powerful resonance for Americans -- and Frenchmen and perhaps lots of others. The people who somehow make up the core or backbone of a society, who have been around for centuries and have a special place in its identity, are deserving of government help in a way that others are not.

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