Over the last few weeks, we observed both the Democratic and Republican conventions. It was easy to absorb the difference between the two parties. One was dedicated to fighting for the middle-class and poor of this country, the other for millionaires and billionaires.
The Census numbers paint a picture of continuing high rates of poverty, government programs that provide an essential safety net, a major decline in middle class living standards, and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor that is undermining our economic recovery.
The culture of poverty, i.e., the environment, institutions, individual behaviors, policies and practices of poverty in the U.S., have affected those who experience poverty as well as those who are observers to its conditions.
In an ideal world, families, churches, and volunteer organizations -- exemplifying the idea that we Americans take care of our own without relying on government -- would be the safety net. But this isn't an ideal world.
Because of the recession, the number of people living in poverty has never been higher. It's easy to be overwhelmed by these statistics. But today -- the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty -- gives me hope.
Most of us know that there are countless downsides to being poor, but as far as the day-to-day reality of what that actually means for people living in poverty, many of us are vague on the details and prefer to remain that way.