Last week, public television ran a documentary on the state of the American economy that was as depressingly heartbreaking as anything we’ve seen in the last ten years. The fact that the two families portrayed in the story live in Milwaukee just made it that more poignant, but really, it could have been any city in America. The facts were simple: despite twenty years of efforts to find family-supporting work, these folks were stuck in a cycle of low wage jobs and no benefits and they were drowning. It was a portrayal of the death of the American Dream.
The documentary ran the same week that Republican in the House of Representative stripped the food stamp program from the farm bill. The robot-like disgust these lawmakers have for programs to help folks in need is heartless. Sadly it reflects a constituency that is either too greedy to care, or too angry or frightened to think straight. But it is not possible to look at the lives of people who are struggling with everything they’ve got to achieve some level of security, some hope, and then look at the response to that hopelessness by our so-called leaders and not ask…what is happening to us as a country?