I haven't written here in a bit.
There is a lot of negativity in the news. More and more, all the time. I just read an article on Invisible People about how private prisons are funding and lobbying pushes to criminalize homelessness. They become slaves in prison.
Don't buy into the centrist rhetoric, “they made their choices” bs. If they ask you if you'd rather do 5 years behind bars or 2 in a farm, what are you supposed to say? That's not much of a choice, if you ask me! I hear this from people here in the midwest all the time when I'm speaking to them about issues of homelessness. There's a lot of working-class people who've never had to really scrape by on the streets or truly rely on the kindness of others who seem to have strong opinions about those that do. It's tricky to navigate this, because these people have projected a light onto these people that's inaccurate whilst simultaneously training themselves to not feel empathy for the groups in question.
I myself, have experienced hunger during homelessness. I can't tell you just with words what it feels like when you know you won't eat anytime in the next 48 hours, and that nobody is coming to help you. Every human being deserves three hearty meals a day, there's more than enough resources for all of us, period. There's no need for anybody to have to starve. Don't buy into the rhetoric. “Earn a living?” That's the most evil phrase I've ever heard. Earning a living implies that the default state is deserving to die. I have a nearly 3-month-old daughter at home. My wife and I love her dearly. Sometimes, I rock her while she's sleeping, and I just think about the future for her. I think about bosses telling her to come in on her off days, about all the evil she'll have to endure in this world, about the hustle-culture she'll be thrust into and the indoctrination she'll hear from her own schools.
Listen, at the end of the day, I worship Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. He brought me through alcoholism, He brought me out of homelessness, He underpins my beautiful family, and He is there for me. I am called by His word to act as a minister in my behavior and in all that I do in this world. I am not meant to call for violence, for disruption, for revenge, even for justice!
I try my best to let myself correspond with these beliefs. I hope that people who really know me, see that I am touched and moved and am given power in the name of Christ. I hope they can see that I am trying to care for the least among us.
Even still, there has to be a line. I am intensely fearful about the next decade in America. I see very strong predictors of regression, both financially and socially, as people are polarized further and further into their pitiful mind-camps. More and more politicians are calling for violence against their opposition. This is incredibly toxic behavior and mark my words, the knock-on effects of this will be absolutely brutal in this country. How long before conservatives look at someone like me, who wants to take care of poor people regardless of circumstances, and see me as a target for violence?
I am readying myself. I am exercising more and more, lately. I want to be able to run 7-8mi at a moment’s notice, to carry a grown adult several miles if needed, and if possible, lift up 1.5x my bodyweight. It's like that saying goes, “Pray for peace, prepare for war.” Well, now is the time to be preparing. I am working overtime a lot. I am gathering up financial resources as well as physical ones. However which way the war against the homeless is waged, I will be there fighting for them. They will not make slaves of the poor without opposition.
I am not sure how to fix America. I don't know if America can be easily fixed. The people of this country have a long and storied tradition about not dealing with significant societal problems until it's dire and widespread. I suspect that homelessness will only even begin to be addressed at the proper level of concern once ¼ or more of the population becomes homeless. It's coming. All the private housing is being bought up and rented back out. The rich grow richer while slowly tightening the financial nooses around all of our necks. The prices of groceries is going up, the price of gas is going up, all the while the average person is making less and less money from working. Wages aren't keeping up. Nobody should NEED to work more than 30~ish hours a week. Back in the 1980s, there were theories that we'd be working ten hours or less each week by now, because robots would take care of all the crappy jobs. It's worked out the wrong way. The robots aren't replacing us because in subduing the human population by inundating the average person with a burden requiring 40-50+ hrs/wk of labor they've automated something much more important than labor: political participation. Are you going to work a 12-hr shift and then go sit in a council meeting for 2-4 hrs after work? Are you going to work six days a week for 3-4 months straight and then use one of your days off to go vote? Keeping in mind that your day off would typically be spent shopping for groceries, taking care of your household, doing laundry, spending some time with your family, etc. There's no time left for any of that. There's no time left for anything except working, which is the thing that benefits the elite class the most in the first place.
A universal basic income could rapidly fix some of the most drastic situations of income inequality, but it's not a panacea on its own. Universal healthcare would rapidly benefit at least ¾ of the people in this country be healthier and would have tremendous knock-on effects economically as healthy people want to do more, travel more, spend more, etc, but it's not a panacea on its own. Taxing the rich and imposing strict, disciplined regulations on huge corporations to keep tax dollars from leaving the country to offshore accounts would make an astronomical difference in terms of available tax budget, but it's not a panacea on its own.
The pattern is obvious, right? There are multiple problems in multiple areas that need to be addressed and repaired to lift up the people of America. They need to be handled fairly cohesively because of the interdependent nature of each of these problems as they relate to the everyday lives of 99% of Americans. In order to enact such a series of coordinated legislative refactoring pushes, there would need to be strongly organized voters willing to participate in the political process in every step of the way. Not just voting but being at meetings. Not just being at meetings but taking off work for protests and demonstrations. Not just taking time off work but picketing the elites at their homes and hiding places. Not just picketing the elites but using the strength of their communities to lift the poorest people up in situ, where they are.
Time will tell whether we fix all this or become a giant slave camp run by corporations and the disaffected elites who point out that a vocal minority of people supported the feudalizing of America all the way down. The people who point and sneer at the homeless today are likely to be the strongest advocates for a better way of doing things once the elites rip their lives in half and they become homeless themselves. Show compassion to them, and to everyone, lest you make enemies out of potential friends.