We so desperately avoid looking at the truth square on, much less saying it aloud, because it’s uncomfortable for us to go about our days in relative luxury while people next door to us are dying for lack of shelter. Civic pride can lose its shine when reality is allowed a place at the table. I find it unspeakably hard to walk past someone whose life would be improved, noticeably, by the amount of spare change I could probably find on the floor of my car. But we manage, those of us who are lucky enough, to walk on by. We live with pronounced class difference in a nation that was founded on the ideal of classlessness, and we do it by believing in a comforting mythology of genesis that is as basic to our nation as the flag and the pledge of allegiance.

Barbara Kingsolver
“Household Words” in Small Wonder