(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“Morally speaking, the social safety net acknowledges that we are accountable to one another. It originated from our recognition that the vulnerable and the poor are not alien populations; they are us, in certain times and sometimes unforeseen circumstances.”
So, what happened? Why did a bipartisan agreement for this safety net that existed before FDR radically change with Newt Gingrich’s 1994 attempt to pass his “Contract with America”? Why don’t conservatives see this as also making economic sense?
And a big question for me personally: Why don’t these “religious” politicians see that accessible healthcare, that saves millions of lives, is the most a pro-life issue there is?
Rosa L. De Lauro, who has spent her twenty-six years in the U.S. House of Representatives fighting for the majority of Americans, addresses these questions and more in her book, The Least Among Us.
In addition to being both a memoir and a well-needed history lesson from the beginning of the industrial age to the present-day, De Lauro teaches us the nitty- gritty of what goes on in Congress. She provides detail of her legislative successes and failures and problems with being a member of the minority party. We learn about her battles for specific issues such as fair pay, fair trade, a safe food supply, worker’s rights, food and medical care for all and infrastructure investment. We also learn about her heart-breaking battles with her own church.
She tells us the many political lessons that she learned, even having to do with sexism in the Democratic congressional leadership.
For the sake of brevity, I have mentioned these topics in broad terms. However, there are no generalizations in this book. She provides specific reasons and data and gives compelling arguments why social programs do not encourage dependency. She gives us specific “wheeling and dealing” that went on in Congress to pass or kill certain bills.
If you’re still not sure if you want to read this book, at least read the “Conclusion: Ten Policies for an American Twenty-first Century”. That chapter should convince you to start from the beginning.
I realize that our readers reside all over the world and UnderratedReads’ core audience is international. We definitely want to keep it that way.
However, our core values are being tested and the United States as we know it is being threatened. This cannot be ignored. This alone makes The Least Among Us a must-read for all Americans.