Saturday, October 24, 2020
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and journalist Sheryl WuDunn sought out stories of the so-called personal failures of the working poor. Most of the stories are from Kristof’s hometown in rural Oregon, where one in four of his peers have died from substance abuse, suicide, accidents, or treatable medical issues. The resulting book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, is a companion piece to the works of Michael Sandel and Pete Buttigieg. It speaks of the self-hatred of those who tried but failed to keep afloat and who have bought into the lie perpetrated by elites that failure is their fault and not the fault of a system that is stacked against them. Kristof and WuDunn highlight programs that help and that could potentially scale. As they point out, this is no longer an issue of Republicans or Democrats. It’s all of us. Arun Rath, host of GBH’s All Things Considered, will lead the discussion.