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Whose Land?

Whose Land?

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According to Barbara Ehrenreich, the answer to the question, "this land is whose land?" is definitely their — the super rich. The way she sees it (and she's been seeing it through fifteen books), ours is a nation divided, and the haves drop more than nickels and dimes on plastic surgery and "vast dynamic estates," while those at the other end of the spectrum don't have health insurance for their kids. It's familiar territory for Ehrenreich, but there's something to be said for repeating the point, particularly with such cunning:

I need to see vast expanses of water, 360 degree horizons, and mountains piercing the sky-at least for a week or two of the year. According to evolutionary psychologist Nancy Etcoff, we all do, and the need is hard-wired into us... When I was a child, I sang "America the Beautiful" and meant it. I was born in the Rocky Mountains and raised, at various times, on the coasts. The Big Sky, the rolling surf, the jagged, snow-capped, mountains: All this seemed to be my birthright. But now I flinch when I hear Woody Guthrie's line, "This land belongs to you and me." Somehow, I don't think it was meant to be sung by a chorus of hedge fund operators.

That's from her blog, the source for the many essays in her new book, This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation. Where is that divide most visible to you?