One delusion common among America's successful people is that they triumphed just because of hard work and intelligence.
Too often, wealthy people born on third base blithely criticize the poor for failing to hit home runs. The advantaged sometimes perceive empathy as a sign of muddle-headed weakness, rather than as a marker of civilization.
In effect, we have a class divide, creating a vastly uneven playing field, and one of its metrics is educational failure.
This crisis in working-class America doesn't get the attention it deserves, perhaps because most of us in the chattering class aren't a part of it.
There are steps that could help, including a higher minimum wage, early childhood programs, and a focus on education as an escalator to opportunity. But the essential starting point is empathy.
Rand Paul said, before a small gathering of the Rotary Club in Shelbyville, KY, "I think the war on drugs has had a disproportionate racial outcome. Three out of four people in prison are black or brown. White people do drugs too, but either they don't get caught or they have better attorneys or they don't live in poverty. It's an inadvertent outcome, and we ought to do something about it. As s Christian, I believe in redemption. I believe in a second chance. I think drugs are bad. I think even marijuana is deleterious. However, a 20-year-old kid who does make this mistake ought to get his right to vote back, ought not to be locked up in jail for 10 or 15 years."