Over on Offsprung, an educated, responsible mom tells her first-hand account of taking her children to the soup kitchen. It's powerful and heartbreaking, and it puts a recognizable face on the "working poor."
I can't make the turn right here, segue into a slick dismissal of the Bush Administration, or make a brilliant paragraph declaring my support for Obama in '08. I can't because the moment you walk into a soup kitchen to eat dinner, the time you acknowledge, publicly--which is why the soup kitchen is so much more difficult than the food bank--that you cannot provide food for yourself or your children, is the moment any ability you may have to believe in the politics of this country is forever altered. I know why poor people have historically low voter turnout rates. If you vote, you acknowledge that you believe in the system. And to believe in the system when you're at the very bottom, when you've watched the chrome and ink-black SUVs drive by while you're packing your own beater with dried beans and lentils, to believe at that point is fucking painful. You either say the system works and you've earned your place, or you concede that there is something wrong and there might not be any way to fix it.
There's no safety net, kids. You're on your own.