...with a sprinkling of the rich on top.
Reading some of the discussions about Social Security and Medicare and other
forms of assistance, it occurs to me that we're seeing one of the
dangerous side effects of the rhetorical reliance on invocations of
That is, our national mental landscape now consists of rich people and middle-class people, with a few vague others in the background - voices that we never hear, lives we never see, unless we are among them. Given that, it's hard to advocate for programs that address actual poverty and want, since that's outside the experience of the groups who are not struggling in those ways.
A very simple example: the number of times I've had to explain to family and friends why obtaining medical care is not a simple and straightforward thing for us. And those explanations still are met with bafflement: you're sick, why wouldn't you see a doctor? You have insurance; of course it will cover what you need. The idea that insurance doesn't cover everything, or that you can't easily afford the costs of what it doesn't cover (let alone understanding that the cost of self-insuring is itself quite expensive) is so foreign to their own experience that any explanations to the contrary don't register. It's worse than speaking a foreign language; it's speaking apparent nonsense.
And I can't think the national reluctance to acknowledge the existence of actual people dealing with the challenges of poverty - as opposed to stereotyped caricatures of "the poor" - helps with this.