It’s great to hear a candidate -anyone in politics, in fact, speaking of the poor, of those below poverty level. Yes, I’m definitely for folks who work at WalMart to get raises (and respect and credit when they excel on the job). “Middle Class” has been addressed by folks I admire (thanks, Sen. Sanders!), only to infer that they are “Commies!”. Get real, fellow Americans!
I grew up not far from either Presidential candidate. The first “poor” person I met was shortly after moving from Westchester Co. NY to Fairfield Co. CT. She lived at the kind of shabby house at the end of the street, didn’t speak very well, I frankly don’t remember her dressing habits. We became friends. I’m not sure if she had other friends. As snotty as this may sound to some, I may have befriended her because I was raised to show respect and interest in all people. So I was no longer in the land of which fork to use, but transported into simpler things, a warm family, some troubles clearly having to do with low parental income and nothing requiring me to be anything other than myself.
I’ve got a Bachelor’s, took breaks in my college education to experience my first “real job” at 19 at a Community Action Agency in Ohio, titled “Planner/Developer”. The other job was as a fundraiser for a cultural agency in San Antonio TX. My first project was to not only write possible donors, but also to set up a call list. (Was that already happening in 1981?)
Finally, from meeting Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall when Pound Ridge Elementary School went on its 5th grade trip to VA and D.C. and being taken by folks marching and singing “We Shall Overcome”, my view of “the poor” and “poverty” began naturally & without judgement.
The last half of my life has been in the South and what an education it continues to be. I am below the poverty level and am disabled. There was no “Christmas” (as in, lighting the candles, passing gifts,singing carols…) last year. Instead our dog got some special treats and new collar and we went for a long ride in the car. We sang some carols (doggie joined), discussed the Reason for the season. Very different, but fun and memorable. I can’t afford the movie I always saw on weekends. Surely no trip to Broadway to take in a matinee from the third row. No restaurants — period. New clothes/trends? No and haven’t the foggiest. Fortunately, I’m good with a budget. I don’t focus on what I miss doing or having or experiencing. That’s a waste of time and what would be the point? I chuckle when I realize that a woman is looking at my outfit as though my passport surely ran out. I’m single and know many people who aren’t make less than I, which is astounding. I hear the shame, often followed by anger. We have poor people in America and they are no less valuable — or interesting, by the way — than other citizens. How odd, how silly, how unAmerican to configure a population without the poor. Thank you, Hillary Clinton for understanding that and, more important, acting on it.