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Sarah Erickson, Grand Forks, Published October 05 2013

Letter: Criticism of Cramer crosses line

‘Disgusting pig.” “Evil.” “Heartless.” “Filthy man.” “Worthless.”

Those are just a few of the derogatory names Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has been called on his Facebook page following his vote for cutting $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

Before addressing the name-callers, I would like to first reiterate the premise behind Cramer’s decision to vote in favor of the $39 billion in SNAP program cuts.

The bill holds President Barack Obama accountable to enforcing food stamp reforms signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It says, primarily, that if you are able-bodied, 18-50 years old and have no children, then you should either have a job, be actively looking for a job or volunteering in order to receive food stamps.

The second part of Cramer’s position is to close a loophole that allowed individuals to receive food stamps without taking income into consideration. He cites this loophole as the means by which millionaires and lottery winners could receive food stamps.

Imagine that! The audacity of actually asking Obama to enforce the law so a program designed for the needy cannot be abused by the greedy! And this warrants filthy slander and demeaning name-calling by critics?

Cramer did not vote to deprive the individuals who legitimately need food stamps from receiving help. Rather, he voted to make sure food stamps remain available for those who need them – not continue to allow others to take advantage of the system.

My opinion about the actual cause of all the foul remarks to Cramer is not the purpose for this commentary. Rather, the blatant ugliness critics use to express their disapproval is something I think needs to be addressed.

I greatly appreciate living in a country where citizens are encouraged to exercise their freedom of speech and elected officials are responsible for representing their constituents. However, this childish name-calling is rude, ridiculous and, quite frankly, disgusting. Profanities are the weapon of the witless, and I’ve always been told it’s better to say nothing at all than to demonstrate ignorance with a vulgar word.

Regardless of your stance on the way Cramer voted, I would hope opponents can be decent enough to quit with the filthy swearing and name-calling and instead articulate their opinions in a civil and educated manner.

I applaud Cramer for taking the stance. Food stamps are a great resource to help those who qualify. However, like anything else, there are people who misuse the system and require lawmakers to pull the reins back in. I’m grateful for a representative who sees that misuse and is taking steps to rectify it. More than anything, I stand behind him for taking such harsh and unnecessary criticism without stooping to the levels of some of his constituents.