Archived: N.C. Senate Candidate: Food Stamps Are Slavery

By Albert Lin

Yet another politician has resorted to using slavery as a metaphor.

In a videotaped interview with the North Carolina Tea Party from October, Dr. Greg Brannon, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, said that the food-stamp program “enslaves people,” claiming that being at someone’s behest—the government, in this case—is “slavery.”

The interview, which is posted on YouTube, was uncovered by Mother Jones on Tuesday. (Brannon’s commentary on food stamps comes around the 7:00 mark.)

Brannon was responding to a question about his support of the Farm Bill. His entire response was:

“We’re taking our plunder, that’s taken from us as individuals, [giving] it to the government, and the government is now keeping itself in power by giving these goodies away. The answer is the Department of Agriculture should go away at the federal level. And now 80 percent of the Farm Bill was food stamps. That enslaves people. What you want to do, it’s crazy but it’s true, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish. When you’re at the behest of somebody else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic]. That kind of charity does not make people freer.”

Brannon has not been shy about espousing his far-right views. He cites former Senator Jesse Helms as his hero (Helms opposed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act and supported segregation). He wants to “end federal involvement in education” and supports reduced taxes so that parents can home-school their children or send them to “private, religious schools.” And he spoke at an event in October supporting nullification (the premise that states have the right to invalidate federal law) that was cosponsored by the League of the South, a secessionist group.

In a poll by Public Policy Polling released on Tuesday, Brannon was tied for second in the Republican primary behind frontrunner Thom Tillis. The winner of the nomination will challenge incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Oddly, the poll had Brannon two points ahead of Hagan should he win the primary, but it had Tillis only one point ahead of Hagan.

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