I was reminded recently of how lucky I am that my personal beliefs are rooted in direct personal experiences rather than bigotry, hatred, hearsay & ignorance. Through the storms of my life I kept an open mind and learned things and lessons so many are not privy of. That’s why I like to tell my stories, so that individuals can take heed of my experiences and learn a few things about life without actually going through hell, but it’s sad to see many refuse to listen and are are driven by hate. I constantly see posts that include insults, lies, bad mouthing and more. It usually makes me more sad than angry, but one post in particular the other day truly upset me.
The post in question relayed the story of a little girl being taught the lesson that all homeless people want and need is basically “all your money”. The post didn’t have an ounce of compassion or solution to this problem, it just taught a little girl to hate the homeless. Nice huh? Is this really What Jesus Would Do? Hate the poor? Really?
It’s amazing how much our society stigmatizes and demonizes the poor, the vulnerable, the homeless. People make fun of it, look at it with disgust. According to the “National Coalition for the Homeless“, more than half a million people are homeless on any given night.
1/5 of them are children.
1/2 of them suffer from a Mental Illness.
1/6 of them suffer from a SEVERE and CHRONIC mental illness. (about 92,000)
1/3 of them are Veterans (about 144,000).
28% of women become homeless because of domestic violence.
Additionally, there are between 1 million and 1.7 million homeless youth who have runaway or have been asked to leave their homes. Within 2-4 years of exiting foster care, 25 percent of foster children experience homelessness.
Lack of affordable housing is a big issue and, unsurprisingly to me, there is a good percentage of homeless people that actually work!
There are, thankfully, good people that try to help the homeless instead of treating them like an eye sore. This shelter gives jobs to the homeless in Texas, this mayor in Albuquerque, NM is doing something similar, and then there’s this teen in San Diego that is helping the homeless get jobs too.
I, for one, would be very happy to support some kind of tax on something in particular to support social services that help the homeless get out of their situation, get the help they need, get medical care etc. I find it interesting how instead there are so many out there that demand tax cuts but then they get upset if problems such as this do not get addressed. Basic math eludes many.
A few years ago I went, by myself, to Turin (Italy) to do some genealogical research. Once I was done I walked through downtown Turin to the train station to get back to Ivrea and I was pleasantly surprised to not encounter a single solitary beggar or homeless person or anything even remotely similar to that anywhere during my long (scenic and beautiful) walk. When I asked my dad where all the homeless in Turin went (as I remember many of them growing up everywhere, most especially at the train station) and he said “oh no, no, no more”…. he explained to me that laws had been passed that any beggar or homeless is picked up by the police and brought to either a hospital or shelter and relatives are found-if any. They realized, in my view, that it makes the city more beautiful and, sadly, we do feel more safe without them. And it’s excellent for them too to get taken care of instead of living in a cardboard box. Why aren’t amazing policies like such adopted here too?
I think “Americans” (and when I say this, I mean US citizens at large) use the word “great” much too much. Politicians use it often. I’ve never witnessed this kind of “Greatness complex” anywhere as much as I have heard it living here. Sadly, to say something is “great”, or we are the “best”, it means there’s no room for improvement and sorry, but that just isn’t the case.
As a country, right now especially, we’re not even to be number 1 at anything and we are treating each other like garbage. I was called “libertard” by what I thought was a great high school friend just because I want health care for my son! Let’s be honest here, we are no better or worse than any of our neighbors, why are we trying to be in a competition? Why can’t we learn from other countries of what we can do to improve on things? Shouldn’t our goal be to make this world a better place to live for everyone?
As I said before, and I will say it again, compassion is not pity. We need to take care of each other. And if you wish for the world to be more loving and compassionate, be more loving and compassionate yourself.
As Michael Jackson profoundly said: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change.”
Love & Light,