In this promotional poster for “American Winter,” you see single mom Jeannette and her son Gunner, a Portland, Oregon family profiled in the documentary film. After Jeannette suddenly loses her husband, and Gunner his father, they end up homeless.
For those of us who feel securely middle class, the idea that a family would retrieve water from a bucket in the backyard, or that parents would go without food so that their children could eat, is unthinkable. That might be a reality for “other people,” maybe in other countries, separated from us by the insulation and distance provided by money. Unfortunately, many members of our community know what it is to live with reminders of the American Dream and signs of affluence all around, yet feel that they are living in a separate America. In this America, hunger is normal, poverty is real, and joblessness feels permanent. Perry Firth reflects on this reality, portrayed in the documentary film "American Winter," in this latest post in our Culture Watch blog series.