Some 46 million Americans live in poverty. – U.S. Census Bureau, 2011.
That is the third highest poverty rate among developed nations, ahead only of Turkey and Mexico. – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The quotes above are from the documentary, The Line. The film focuses on one of the things of apparent little to no interest to presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican parties, and a lot of We the Electorate: poverty. That’s so “yesterday,” so unappealing, so un-sexy, so much more difficult to get campaign cheers and media interest.
From The Line website:
Poverty in America —
It’s not what you think.
The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. Across America, millions are struggling every day to make it above The Line.
Today we learned of a very slight, “anemic” (a term I heard and read in numerous places) improvement in unemployment. As always, the numbers do not reflect the actual unemployment rate since they do not include those who no longer show up on such “official” lists. And the numbers do not show the widespread under-employment, the millions who have found work or kept a job at lower pay rates. For more context, we also need to consider how many people are working for little to no “benefits.” And those who lost their only or largest “investment” in the foreclosure fraud, which continues but is about as interesting to the media and public in general as are poverty rates.
About The Line:
From Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, The Line is a groundbreaking documentary chronicling the new face of poverty in America. As Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis puts it, ‘more and more of our friends are in poverty … through no fault of their own, and they are slipping below the poverty level.’
In the Chicago suburbs, a single dad was laid off from his bank and is now a regular at the local food pantry, trying to make it by with three kids.
On Chicago’s west side, deep poverty creates a culture of violence and hopelessness.
On the Gulf Coast, a fisherman struggles post-BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina because environmental crises mean the loss of his livelihood.
In North Carolina, we see that hard work and determination don’t always mean success.
What does this mean for the future of our country? How do real-life stories change the narrative about poverty?
What can we do about it?
Maybe, at the very least, we can add our voices to those talking about this: 46 million Americans live in poverty, the third highest poverty rate among developed nations. You’d think it would be difficult to ignore 46 million people. Well, no, actually you wouldn’t, especially not in a presidential election year.