This is another of those things we hear about and say, “Well, it’s not my problem. I didn’t make them homeless.” We (meaning The Rag) have frequently ranted about the failure of our humanity. As a society, we no longer have any meaningful empathy for the plight of those less fortunate. We give money to the United Way, and we call it good. Our government’s priorities seem to be war, war, and more war. We need to stop this cycle once and for all time.
San Francisco: Fed-Up With Homelessness? It’s About Time!
by Bobby Bogan‚ Oct. 11‚ 2007
So the people of this city have finally had enough of the homeless problem. Good, it’s about time, and let me say to all of you … “Welcome To the Club.” Because you can rest assured that every homeless advocate in this city is just as tired as you, and all of us are delighted that you finally came on board, even if you are about twenty years too late.
It was about that long ago when advocates for the homeless began asking for your cooperation in addressing this tragedy, but at that time all of you were turning your back on the problem because it wasn’t your community being affected by this crisis. All of you who now see the light and are so ready to begin pointing fingers, most likely at the ones victimized by this mess, must first point the finger at yourselves because you were forewarned at a time when it was a much simpler problem and solutions weren’t very far away. Now, unfortunately, it has developed into a nationwide tragedy, and as usual in this country, the ones who count the most (Joe Public) weren’t there when they were needed the most.
You were all kicked back enjoying the comforts of home and family while the less fortunate Americans were falling through the domestic cracks in this nation left and right. Your contention then at that time was to rely on the government to address the matter. It was their responsibility.
Remember when then President Ronald Reagan refused to acknowledge that there was a homeless problem in America? Ain’t that something.
The media, one of the biggest culprits in this mess, who are now fanning the flames of “can’t stand those homeless people,” had an opportunity to cooperate with us in addressing this mess. Yet they choose to play politics with the matter, wouldn’t print the truth, and kept the issue on the back burner so as to not upset whatever agenda was being fed to the public at that time by whoever was in charge.
Now here they are again with more of their hypocritical comments and attitudes concerning this mess, and once again helping to deceive the minds of this society as to the real nature of the problem, and as usual there are those of us living in denial as to our “social responsibility’ to the less-fortunate, which at one time was the ‘great American Way.’ Remember???
What we all must understand is that “homelessness” is America’s greatest failure, and it is a failure that we all must share as true Americans. It is a by-product of greed, selfishness and neglect that reaches far into the moral fiber of this nation. There are homeless families now, and none of you stood up to complain that children were being victimized by homelessness.
Quality of life issues? Defecating, urinating, and sleeping in your doorway? Homelessness is also dehumanizing, and hopelessness is its closest companion. How can we allow ‘hope’ to get lost in a nation as prosperous as America? Keeping hope alive is the ultimate mission of mankind, especially in America, the richest, most resourceful, and supposedly most compassionate nation on the planet.
Would you believe the number of veterans, those who have fought the wars of this nation to preserve our liberties and freedoms, who are homeless in this nation?
You’re fed up? How do you think they feel? How do you think the homeless mothers feel who have to get their kids ready for school in the back seat of her car, washing there faces in gas station restrooms and Mc Donalds? Don’t you think she is also sick and tired?
How do you think homeless seniors feel, who have worked all their lives, raised families, sent the kids to college, paid into the system and then find themselves living on the street or an S.R.O. because their Social Security check can’t pay the high-ass rent in this city because of the greedy landlords?
Don’t forget about adults with disabilities who sleep in ally-ways in their wheel chairs. You’re tired?
Okay, so now we are all tired at the same time…so where do we go from here tired San Franciscans? But hold on for a minute because the game cant began until all the players are on the field. Wait until the problem reaches the doorsteps of those on Russian Hill, Twin Peaks, The Sunset, etc., then we can start talking to one another about a solution. The bringing together of the class structure of this city will be done when everybody wakes up one day and finds poop on one of their corners and someone sleeping in their doorway.
One thing that Mayor Gavin Newsom has been saying to all of you all along is that San Francisco can solve its own homeless problem, and I sincerely believe that. But we have got to work together to get it done. So keep on getting tired, scream at the top of your voice, get frustrated, and throw tantrums.
When you get finished and come back down to earth, stop by and let’s see what we “ALL” can do to address this problem. Until then, “SHUT UP” cause we already told you that one day this day will come.
Bob Bogan is Executive Director of Seniors Organizing Seniors.