I just finished reading Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Evicted. A sociology professor by trade, Desmond has written in plain-spoken, jargon free, ideology free prose, the most powerful and convincing book on the need to destroy poverty in this country.
According to Desmond, the means to destroy poverty are easily at our disposal, but the vast majority of Americans do not hold their elected leaders from both political parties accountable to do so. Never forget, the Democrats who controlled Congress and had a Democrat in the White House for two years post pandemic, could not raise the federal minimum wage in the aftermath of all the lip service about honoring our brave front line workers who kept us going. Biden didn’t even fight for it. He did fight for tax breaks to corporations to enact green energy projects.
And people in this country still for a little over $7 an hour.
I urge everyone reading this post to read Poverty, By America. It’s not very long. It will educate you in frank, measured tones and make you a potent weapon in effort to defeat American poverty. Reading it also might make you want to become one of those dreamers who devise bold plans to kill poverty and fight evictions and raise wages in one locale, one community, where they live.
I once had such an idea to save a rural RV park populated with mostly elderly and poor MAGA men and women, save them from the looming gentrification of RV parks that is happening all across the nation and leading to massive displacement and elderly mobile refugees.
But I didn’t get into the game like I knew I should have. Everyone was telling me to do it, but they didn’t do anything either. It was up to me to lead, and I failed.
I still hope to do that one day. It feels like pulling something off such as saving poor, socialism-dependent MAGA RV folks from double digit rent increases is a lot more important and concrete than writing a book about an issue related to poverty. But then again, Desmond wrote an American nonfiction masterpiece of reportage, social history, sociology, economics, public policy, and I know it’s going to work its way into people’s hearts and minds and inspire action, not merely charity, but real action. It did mine.