Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeless Hearts by Alison Ross

The homeless are treated with abysmal inhumanity in all corners of so-called civilization. Even those who profess to progressive attitudes or those who have endured hardship tend to thumb their noses - congested with antipathy - at others who have the miserable misfortunate of being without shelter.

Do we have to conduct Homelessness 101 for assholes to apprehend that it's a toxic recipe of diminishing job opportunities and lack of affordable housing that results in homelessness? Compounded by the very real incidences of mental illness (genetically or environmentally acquired) and being caught up in the endlessly spiraling cyclone of poverty? Or do assholes just not want to listen, despite the increasing probability that one of their ilk will end up sans home one day too, because austerity measures that cut back on resources and services, such as unemployment benefits and healthcare funds, brought to you by the Demonic Duo of Demublicans, are impoverishing us ALL. 

It's no cozy coincidence that when Reagan began his brutal slashing of welfare programs and other such "entitlements,” homelessness began to escalate. Reagan's "smaller government" ideology colluded with the corrosive corporate mentality which favored outsourcing jobs to areas with lower wages and fewer tax restrictions. So, not only did job opportunities flee to other countries, but unemployment benefits diminished, leaving low-income people literally in the cold.

And Democratic presidents like Clinton only continued that legacy of inhumanity with his own version of welfare reform, pandering to the plutocrats. And of course Obama does nothing to reverse any of the economic devastation, and in fact, under him, black poverty has only blossomed. Oh, the travesty/irony. MLK is spinning frenetically and furiously in his grave.

Ours is a country founded on lies and scaffolded with more lies and abuse toward anyone who is not white, male and affluent. While blacks and Latinos languish in roach-riddled projects or under bridges, the "pale patriarchy" acquires ever more McMansions while mocking the very people they render destitute.

And the middle class and even lower middle classes fall right into their tired trap by similarly denigrating and shaming the poor and homeless, blissfully blind to the fact that it could be THEM or one of their LOVED ONES living in alleyways, doorways, or by freeways. 

For most of us are closerthanthis to being homeless ourselves, since any of us could lose our jobs, and many of us do not necessarily have multiple months' worth of savings. After all, unemployment benefits will hardly cover our monthly expenses, and jobs are far from plentiful owing to the aforementioned factors of outsourcing and tax sheltering. 

Unless we are super-wealthy, we are not secure in this callous country, and yet some of us continue to maliciously mock the old man begging on the corner, or the ragged-looking "hobo" sheltering in cardboard boxes on hard concrete or in donated tents next to boisterous, dangerous highways.

How have we allowed ourselves to obliterate a crucial component of our constitution as humans - that of compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers? Why would we want to make fun of someone who has to sleep in his own urine for lack of access to a proper toilet, or bleed all over herself for lack of feminine hygiene products? Why would we want to act so cruelly toward someone whose belly is constantly hollow for want of food?

The very idea stymies and disheartens.

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