Dr. Robert H Lewis at Fordham University wrote The Misunderstood Subject which is about how math is perceived by most people.
He makes a great case that math is misunderstood. It's not the formulas, it's not the exact steps, it's the process that's important. He gives several parables to make his point. He gives a good overview of how training and education differ.
What he doesn't do is continue the argument. He doesn't show what mathematics can do. Oh he talks briefly about computers but he only gives a technical example.
To my mind the essay is half complete. Give me the rest. Show me how the process of mathematics can help. Show me how it's applied. Show me how it helps. Then we won't just be defending the need for math education. Then we could be inspiring people to learn math.