Sunday, February 9, 2014

Facebook and A Sad Thing With Some Hope

Over the past several years, since I joined Facebook I have come into contact with a very eclectic crowd.  There is Michael, the horror film fanatic, Jared the Wiccan, Larry "the Faery" who writes here, Santana and his mother Sharron (whose heart is 10 times too big), Eden and Lisa who have both been homeless (and show the damage it does), Charles who I had referenced in some of the Psychology papers (imagine that) and a host of other people from the certifiably insane to the very sane with people of all stripes and colors in between.  Along the way, I met people like Susan, and Rino who provide interesting insights into different aspects of life.  Finally there is Lea, who I met well before the existence of Facebook, but has been one of my longest held friends.

I would not change meeting these people, good or bad, for anything in the world.  But one thing I realize as I sit back and look at all the people I have met online is that we all have our back stories.  I have found that the majority of people I speak with and call friend have similar experiences as I do.  Sharron and Santana constantly tried to help the homeless.  I have been there a few times in my life, so it is natural that Eden, Lisa and I share a common background.  Charles and I through our study of human behavior.  Jared, Lea and Larry with our shared experiences of persecution at the hands of Christians, just because we are not with them.  Which is doubly ironic given Jared and Larry being ordained Ministers (Christian), as I am a Rabbi (Jewish), and we all three have questioned the Almighty.  Facebook is good in that it allows us to meet people we would not otherwise encounter, form bonds, and while I know Jared personally (we were neighbors for several years as it turned out), every person I listed here is on my bucket list to meet in person at some point.

Today though, I want to talk about something that has been going through the circles of people I know on Facebook.  There is a war on the homeless, not a war against homelessness.  Places like Florida have enacted laws that prevent the homeless from covering themselves to gain some measure of protection from the elements.  Now, some of you might say they can go to a shelter, but lets be honest, shelters fill up quickly, which leaves you, as someone who is homeless, very few options.  It always amazes me that some segments of our population look down on the homeless with contempt, and that is wrong.  We cannot look down on someone without properly knowing their situation, even then when we do it is very telling about who we are as people.  But this is yet another war on by the conservative party, made up of God fearing types of people.

The war on the homeless, it goes with the war on the poor, the war on the gays, the war on women, the war against any who are not like them.  They create laws to torment and potentially harm the homeless, and if you aren't in Florida or another place that has laws against covering ones self to protect from the elements, it is still winter there, it is still becoming abnormally cold there, and it is a reflection of our policies and our will. 

Even if we do not want to be in a war, we are all in this war.  Every street, every corner, every shelter/church/home, every car is the front line in this battle.  And the people who want to see an end to poverty, homelessness, and all the other things that is wrong here are loosing ground.  Sure, we are seeing a change for the better in gay rights, but look at what they had to do.  They banded together in a group so large, so powerful that they have managed to get attention, and this is the lesson for each and every one of us, to form a coalition of people, from various groups, and fight to prevent laws, create the change we want.

Until we put the minority in its place, things will continue to get worse, and people will still try to change it for the better, but we will loose ground because we are not vocal enough, we are not willing to go stand in the streets with others of like mind and scream at people who will listen.  How many homeless people will go march in a Homeless Person's Parade?  I would, I think Eden and Lisa would, Larry and Jared would, but how many of you would don hobos clothing, and walk with us down Pennsylvania Ave, to the Congress?