There is no shortage of anecdotes in which the Newark Mayor Cory Booker uses his Twitter account to adopt the role of the small town, civic-minded mayor with a heart as large as the vision he has for his city. One week heâ€™s offering to show up to shovel an elderly personâ€™s driveway, the next defying orders to save his neighbors from a burning building.
Now, he and a Twitter follower will participate in a food stamp challenge designed to bring attention to the plight of families on public assistance.
It started with this tweet: â€śAn imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.â€ť Booker began to field criticism that he was trying to redistribute wealth; instead, Booker reframed the issue, saying that if government invested in social institutions, it could build wealth by reducing the amount spent on expensive reactionary programs like police and prisons.
When a follower said that nutrition was not the responsibility of government, the tenor of the debate changed. “Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?” Booker wrote. The respondent, whose Twitter handle is @MWadeNC agreed.
University of Bridgeportâ€™s community service organization offered to referee the contest: Itâ€™s holding its own UB SNAP Food Challenge. The rules require that participants, â€ś”Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, briefings, or other events where food is served.”
Bookerâ€™s hands-on approach isnâ€™t everyoneâ€™s cup of tea, and folks werenâ€™t exactly shy about voicing their opinion. Said one tweet, â€śSeeing people who clearly can afford food, yet pretend that they cannot is ridiculous.â€ť