Evidently, Katherine Kersten had nothing to write about today. So she went on and on about a 10-year-old who has one arm. It has the ever-present conservative message of triumph over adversity and belief that a sunny disposition will get you anywhere you want to go in life.
Of course, as a cynical blogger, optimism does not always come easily to me so it shouldn't be surprising that I find something askew in Kersten's writing. Her message is certainly fine: On those days when you feel like you have one hand tied behind your back and you just don't think you can go on, remember this little boy who is able to do so much. The story is uplifting, inspiring, and has a message that ought to be told.
What I find amiss in Kersten's article, though, is not really her fault (unless she did it intentionally, which I will probably never know). It's written in the same tone as a career politician speaking about this or that impoverished family who managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, fight off their troubles, and work really really hard to eke out a middle class existence. It's a tone that is casually dismissive of the millions who suffer from poverty, from discrimination, from society's willingness to cast off that which is outside the norm, and reflects the image of America as filled with rugged individuals. If you are unable to pay your bills, or if you file for bankruptcy, or if you can't afford healthcare, then that means that you are lazy, that you are not smart with money, that if you just work a little harder you'll find a break. In reality, however, a little extra work won't always yield a break, and poverty can't just be willed away. It takes a dedicated effort on everyone's part - poor, middle class, and rich - to achieve that dream.
Read the article about the boy with one arm. Maybe I'm looking too far into this. Maybe I'm trying to make a point that's not really there. Nevertheless, it doesn't change the truth.