I’m moved by Kathryn Edin’s book and all the comments it inspired. Here’s mine:
Our political system represents the wealthiest of the wealthy. We’re never honestly told, “Here are the leftover crumbs. Fight among yourselves.” Rather, we’re lied to with “Here are the jewels. The best and most worthy among you may achieve them.”
I grew up on the South side of Chicago in the 50s. The first Black family that moved into my neighborhood had their house firebombed. During my teen years in the 60s we moved to the Roseland neighborhood Edin wrote about. The Pullman factory was closed, people living right across from that isolated factory were referred to as lesser-than — as hillbillies. When football games took place at Gately Stadium with Black schools, fights always broke out.
Thinking that one part of humanity was more worthy than another – fighting over crumbs — was just a part of life.
In the 70s, I met an activist fighting against social injustices. She was on my college campus, had pen and sign-up sheet in hand, and I signed up. This new life activity changed my world view from nothing can be done to we’re the ones who have to bring about change.
As others have commented about “$2 a Day”, it’s going to take a lot of us to make that change. Tiani Xochitl Coleman’s comment touched me: “…we need a change of heart, a deepening of our cultural values to help solve the problems of poverty.”
This isn’t just a psychological change. It’s lots of work – team work as the college students referred to – to change our political system. No one should be forced to live on crumbs.
Alice Rydel is a thirty year builder of the All Stars Project and a life long independent.