I tend to be a cynic when it comes to politics, so I was pleasantly surprised to read this article about the Governor of Oregon taking a shopping expedition with a food stamp recipient and attempting to budget a week's worth of groceries on his own with $21 worth of food stamps.
As the article indicates, the gov was kind of clueless in this endeavor. And this is probably normal. Because when I think of politically active people in my own community, they tend to fall into one of two categories: the Docker-and-Izod "comfortably appointed" set, or relatively affluent and politically savvy blue-collar union retirees. These are the "concerned citizens" who have our elected officials' ears; when politicians think of the Average Joe or Jane in their own districts, these are probably the people who come to mind, because they're the folks they see and hear and get regular feedback -- and contributions -- from.
Sure, this excursion into a day in the life of the economic underclass may have been a bit of sound-bitey populist political theater. But I really wouldn't mind more of our politicians regularly taking a day to slum with the people they normally don't see or hear.