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Mean People Still Suck

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Once when I had been brought up short by lurid graffiti freshly scratched on a new bathhouse on Cape Hatteras, an old, sand-blasted woman came up behind me, looked for a minute, shook her head and sighed, "How kin people be so mean?"

As Congress cut food stamps and debated extending unemployment insurance, I found myself shaking my head, repeating that mantra.

Did every last one of those heartless, shrugging, ditto-fountainheads read Ayn Rand? Did no one read Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree to them as children? Is it too much to hope that a less mean book might become the formative meta-text for the next generation's ideology?

I admit I have never read a smidgen of the Harry Potter books. I would have been a hopeless Muggle in the Hogwarts School. But the Potter oeuvre must have more heart than any Paul-Ryan-Ayn-Rand-Paul combo.

Other than the Bible, which has been covered, what books would you suggest to would-be politicos for a more compassionate ideology?