Below is an actual post that appeared on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ The stated reason for the policy is because ‘The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’ Thus ends today’s lesson in irony #OKGOP

We all know what the GOP thinks of the poor. This smug, self-righteous attitude is even directed toward those who work full time jobs (or more than one) and still cannot make ends meet. It is the kind of calloused, cruel statement that would have sent the late Mother Theresa into a fit of rage, just like moneychangers in the temple drove a meek, mild rabbi from Nazareth to violence.

But, as late author Wilson Rawls wrote, “there is a little good in all evil.”  The overwhelming number of responses to this offensive Facebook page demonstrate that the GOP is busy digging its own grave. One Facebook user replied, “This is a gross opinion to have…there’s a reason your party is becoming less relevant…it is stuff like this.”

Even people identifying themselves as Republicans were outraged. One commenter posted the following response:

This is embarrassing for all Republicans! I love my party and am a conservative, but government programs are there to help those in need! I have a daughter with autism and it is terrible that OK won’t mandate that insurance companies pay for ABA, the government needs to help finance services for special needs kiddos but Oklahoma refuses. Not all government assistance programs are bad including food stamps! It just shows ignorance!

In the meantime, the author of the post (identified only as “Randy”) is backpedaling at a furious rate. Yesterday, the following post appeared:

[The post] was misinterpreted by many. I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention…[it] was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals.

Randy added that the Oklahoma GOP believes “free market principles are the best to stimulate our economic development rather than government subsidies.” What Randy? Like the government subsidies that Corporate America gets for outsourcing jobs to sweatshops overseas? Subsidies given to Wal-Mart in the form of public assistance to its employees because one of the richest companies on the Fortune 500 refuses to pay its employees a living wage? Subsidies for the richest, most powerful gas and oil companies get in order to drill on public lands, paying nothing in the way of royalties while they poison the environment and leave the rest of us to clean it up?

Spare us your B.S., Randy. Your Ayn Rand “free market principles” have had thirty years to get it right – and they’ve failed miserably.  But by all means, keep those mean and ignorant comments coming. You’re helping the Progressive cause more than you’ll ever know.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.