“Just remember that what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not happening,” said the President of the United States this week to a group of veterans. It was a statement eerily reminiscent of the quote from George Orwell’s 1984, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” It was also yet another example of gaslighting, a term derived from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play “Gas Light” that’s used to describe efforts to manipulate someone’s perception of reality. It’s, of course, a term with which more and more of us are becoming familiar as of late since we seem to be getting a consistently unhealthy dose of gaslighting under the current Administration. Recently, the White House Council of Economic Advisers published a report that essentially declared poverty in this country a thing of the past. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the ins and outs of this latest gaslighting special with Rebecca Vallas, the vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. Vallas explains what’s at the root of the report, who it really targets and why it should be concerning to all of us.
Futurists, environmentalists and planners alike generally believe that humans living in more densely populated areas has benefits for the earth – city-living is just a much more efficient use of the planet’s resources. But cities also expose a society’s inequality. Some of the world’s wealthiest cities are plagued by abundant homelessness and have deep pockets of persistent poverty. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Rafael Mandelman, a local San Francisco politician who has seen homelessness up close. Mandelman tells his story of growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness and homelessness and how, despite the odds, he made his way through an Ivy League education and helped lift his mother out of her dire situation. Now an advocate for homeless rights, Mandelman walks us through the simultaneous explosion of homelessness and high-paying tech jobs in his hometown, sets forth some of his ideas for solving the crisis, and gives examples of cities that have been able to tackle this problem in an ethical, compassionate, and effective manner.