I am pretty sure when my career as a bleeding heart began (by bleeding heart, I refer more to my sense of empathy than my politics). I have a vague memory of seeing commercials for aid to third world countries as a child (CARE? was that the name of the organization?) and gathering up my piggy bank change telling my parents I wanted to give it to "the poors".
I have thought a lot about the poors lately. I spent the morning with some of them last week at the State unemployment office while my dad tested. The atmosphere was one of forced cheeriness (The walls are painted pink! The posters tell you to believe in yourself!! I don't think it works!!) that directly contrasted to the sort of sad shuffle of the clients looking for work. It was a rude shift for me, coming from school world where I look everyone in the eye and smiled to this office where I listened to clients call job prospect after job prospect and didn't want to make eye contact. I watched a little girl buying up cokes from the machine and not drinking them, just carrying them around. She was helping her mother translate the forms into English. I still smiled, it seemed the very least I could do.
I am rewatching Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days on FX right now (and thanks, FX for playing it twice, back to back) and am reminded of the people I saw last week. Tonight, Spurlock and his fiancee tried to live on minimum wage for a month. My stomach sank and rose with them as the balance of the coffee can in their kitchen rose and fell. I am watching it again for the bright spots.
The couple happen on a church run "free store" for people on hard times. I teared up as the man working gave them dishes and coats and furniture, telling them ,"There's enough to go around for everyone, we just don't share it well enough. We help share. It's a welcome gift."
I doubt that next weeks' episode featuring the guy on hormone therapy will elicit the same emotional response from me, but I'm watching anyway.