Dishonesty, in its various incarnations, is not an admirable trait. But in moments of desperation, a lie can seem like the only option. Anita McLemore, a Mississippi mother of two, faced one of those unfortunate moments when filling out her application for food stamps — and now she’ll pay the price, by spending three years of her life behind bars in federal prison.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up