Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s Fifth District in Congress. He proudly identifies himself first and foremost as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. With a little help from Karen Hunter (as he notes in the Acknowledgements), he has now written the memoir cum manifesto My Country, ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future. Ellison writes in chapter 9 (“The Politics of Generosity and Inclusion”):
When I graduated from college, I owed $12,000 in student loans. I had a job and received some financial help from my parents. It was a time when tuition was low enough and salaries were high enough that a young person could work her way through college and be able to get a good job.
Working your way through college today is next to impossible. And the enormous debt that many of our young people carry after college makes it all but impossible for them to excel. I grew up in a society where we believed that educating the next generation was a social good. Today’s national policies don’t support this. We practice the politics of scarcity. Instead of sharing so that everyone has enough, we say there’s not enough for everyone, so only a few can have more than everyone else.