Much like my students, Vowell is from rural America -- Oklahoma, in fact -- and got to the university, apparently, as many of my students do, just barely: she went to the the University of Montana, using a combination of scholarships, loans, Pell Grants, and jobs (so do most of my students): her column talks about the difference the Pell grants made.
Here's my favorite -- well, my nearly favorite -- paragraph:
Every now and then when I have time to kill in Midtown, I duck into the Museum of Modern Art to stare at Van Gogh's "Starry Night." I love looking at the picture, but I also love looking back on when and where and how I first saw it -- on a slide in a first-year art history course[....]a course I paid for, in part with a Pell Grant, a program always and as ever championed by "my senator," Ted Kennedy, a program so dear to Barack Obama's heart that increasing the maximum amount of Pell Grants for needy students was the first bill he introduced upon arrival in the United States Senate.
Without the scholarships and the loans and the grants, where would Vowell be?
For those who don't want government to aid its citizens, in other words, what about people like Vowell? Go read her book (or listen to it, even better, because it's great to hear her read): tell me we'd be better off telling people like Vowell to find their own boots and yank on those bootstraps.
Bah. When our society works together, we're all better.