I was listening to an interview on NPR with the president of the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative thinktank), who said:
You know, one of the things that I ask when I’m in front of audiences is to do a little thought experiment: What would happen if all of the poor people in America just disappeared? Would you know it if all the poor people in America suddenly disappeared? I daresay that most people listening to us today wouldn’t even know about it immediately. They have no emotional or moral connection to them. … We’ve gotten incredibly good at helping poor people. We could be better, of course. But we’ve gotten terrible at needing people.
And then Jill and I were watching John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO Now, where he briefly turned the discussion away from politics:
I know the world is a bleak place right now. So we wanted to leave you with a happy story. And it involves Bolivia. [map of South America appears, with a country highlighted as Bolivia] A country you think about so little you don’t even realize that’s not Bolivia, that’s Columbia, except it isn’t, that’s Venezuela [map updates], THAT is Columbia [map updates again], except it isn’t, that’s Bolivia, which is the one we were looking for in the first place. Which one’s Columbia? There is simply no way to know.
I feel sad and ashamed that even though the world is so small these days, I still don’t know very many people in it.