Let's Talk Poverty in the Debate

Tomorrow night is the first presidential debate. It will undoubtedly be an important moment in the campaign for the highest office in the land. But whose lives will it be important to?

Certainly, there will be a lot for pundits to discuss and dissect. They will analyze phrases and statements and will compare them to polling data and focus groups in swing states. Super PACs will record gaffes by either candidate, ready to turn them into multi-million dollar commercial buys.

But, as a person of faith, what I want to know is: how will the words that are said and the positions that are staked out affect the 46 million people in our country living in poverty? What does it mean for the hardworking families who can't put food on the table? Or the 1 in 5 children for whom poverty is an everyday reality and opportunity seems to be an illusion?

Tonight is the world premiere of a film that puts those questions front and center. The Line is a new documentary film from Emmy award-winning writer and producer, Linda Midgett. It tells the stories of real people struggling to make ends meet but still falling below the poverty line. These are stories far too common in our country today and should be a central topic of this debate.

You can be a part of the premiere event tonight by tuning in at 8 p.m. EDT for the full film and a panel discussion at www.thelinemovie.com. You can submit questions for our panel throughout the event by tweeting @Sojourners.

The movie was made with a simple goal in mind: to create a starting point for our country to talk about poverty. Help make that conversation happen. Join us tonight at 8 p.m. EDT. And then be sure to ask all the candidates in this election what they plan on doing to tackle poverty in our country today. Tweet @newshour to ask the candidates to #TalkPoverty in Wednesday's debate.

This new film from Sojourners was created in partnership with World Vision and supported by Oxfam America, Bread for the World and the Christian Community Development Association with generous contributions from the MacArthur Foundation and the Annie E Casey Foundation.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.