The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto - Tavis Smiley, Cornel West Finally finished this book, and I certainly was moved. At the end of the day, I do have some mixed feelings about the book. This is not due to the content. It is just that it is the kind of book that the choir will pretty much pick up, nod in agreement, and then move on, and the clueless will just completely miss. I get the feeling that the people who really should be reading this book will either miss it or ignore it. After all, pointing out that poverty exists and calling out those actually responsible for it is just not done in polite company. Smiley and West are saying a lot that needs to be said, but how many out there will listen? More importantly, how many of those who listen will be moved to substantial action? That is my question. Having said that, this book is a must-read. The book is a follow-up of the authors' 2011 Poverty Tour, a tour that went to 18 cities in the U.S. to highlight issues of poverty. The book combines personal stories, commentary, historical overviews and statistics to show how poverty is not just a significant issue in the U.S. It is a national security threat, not to mention a shame upon the nation since it is something that can be solved, but Americans as a whole choose not to solve it. It is not a new problem. What is new is that white suburbanites, who always saw themselves as solid middle class are suddenly falling into poverty. That is what makes the news now, but poverty has been around long before the recent Recession. At any rate, there is an opportunity for substantial change, but it is going to take a lot of will, courage, and compassion. This is what the authors argue. Unlike other books, the authors also offer a full plan for a solution that is worth a look, and one that politicians, if they actually cared for their constituents, could work toward implementing. I took some notes, so I will probably do a longer write-up of the book in my blog, but I wanted to jot down some thoughts here and to note that I did finish it. Now, don't just sit there. Go find and read this book.