Wednesday, October 22, 2008

THE WORKING HOMELESS – Must They Bail Out the Fat Cats While Impaled In Sharpened Fangs?


It' s like the burdens of the entire WORLD always fall on the shoulders of the middle class until the middle class are submerged into their own subliminal, impoverished graves; deserted and forgotten to rot in the bitterness of broken dreams. Where's the democracy it that?! Did you, or I, or (dare I say), "Joe the Plumber," have any say in the $700 billion bailout for the Fat Farts leeching this economy dry?
Yesterday, as I took my morning constitutional in my beautiful, tree-lined residential (by day; Dodge City by night) Bed-Stuy hood, I watched as a man in his silver years huffed down Malcolm-X Boulevard pedaling an old rusty two-wheeler with a rickety, overstuffed shopping cart full of bags, hitched to the back of the fossil. All I could do was stare as I pondered to myself, "There rides Cadillac Mac of the 70's, reduced to Shopping Cart Bart. Ah mean, Dayum! It's bad enough Sun is biking it -- 'Homz' can't even get a bike upgrade?"
While the powers-that-be argue, "That's progress," I'm asking, "OH! Is that how progress is being defined now?" In my book, it's a tragedy and a shame. And it's not going to get better -- only worse for the multitudes of men and women zombying through the streets, aimless, devastated and still in shock, due to their lengthy unemployment or undremployment bouts, resulting in shakedowns of entire neighborhoods in the name of capitalism.

It's no wonder our kids are running rampant. The entire country is in a state of shock and awe from the financial assaults that have been inflicted upon the poor and middle class. And rather than provide help for parents all over this nation in need of a helping hand; some counseling -- some dollars, a hug or a pat on the back for doing the very best they can, backs are turned as vulnerable families; many with just one parent present, are left to fend for themselves. And what if they drop the ball? What if something unthinkable happens? Right away the parent or guardian is hauled off to jail or persecuted as a negligent or bad parent.

The human parenting instinct can only help a parent so far. Hence, I implore those of you who do not have kids not to be so quick to cast stones, because raising kids is one of most difficult occupations in life, yet a vital responsibility FOR US ALL. WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WELLBEING AND TEACHING OF OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH -- not just the parents; not just the schoolteachers. Our future, maintaining our status as the most powerful nation on earth, depends on the healthy physical, mental, educational, spiritual and emotional development of our children. Granted, there are some sick animals out here who betray the trust of the innocent in harmful and disturbing ways. But most parents sincerely love their children, yet, could really use some help and support and a lot of encouragement and kindness.

I am blessed to be able to boast how well my two beautiful daughters fared. But it did not come without emotional scars and a price, and had it not been for the kindness and compassion of my friends (God bless the Cooks who taught me the TRUE meaning of "It takes a Village, and my brother, Joseph" many, many years ago), family (God bless the Cooks and my brother, Joseph), AND STRANGERS, it may have been an outcome quite the contrary.

But, what happens to families in dire need? Who's bailing THEM out?!!! Who's bailing those children out? To place the burdens of some greedy money gouging aristocrats on the backs of our children is sinful.

And don't get me started on those "greater than thous" who choose naivety to conveniently take the position that homelessness is a punishment for slackers and lazy people. DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT! There are thousands of homeless people in New York City shelters who work full time jobs, but still cannot bring "home" enough money to pay these astronomical rents or to clean up their credit in order to even hope for a chance. WHEN IS IT ENOUGH?!! How much more must come off the backs of the middle class who clearly are the backbone and foundation of this country, based on the fact that consumer spending -- OUR DOLLARS -- accounts for more than 2/3 of the American economy?

While researching the web, I came across this article from a mother with three kids who thought getting a job and working hard and diligently would put her life in order. (The big American LIE that too many people don't realize until they're pushin' up daisies) :

The following is a true account of a working homeless woman in Vermont, by Michelle Kennedy, Author of “Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America: My Story.”

Michelle writes:

"If there is one fact you should take away from this issue paper,
it is that homelessness is closer to you or to anyone else than you
might imagine.

My own spiral into homelessness did not begin with drug use, alcohol
abuse or any of the other issues we, as a society, often believe “cause”
homelessness. In fact, it was my education and my former station in life
as a middle-class mom that eventually led me to rock bottom.
How was that possible? It’s pretty simple, really. I believed that, after
leaving a bad marriage and finally having the courage to pack up
my children — aged 4, 3 and 1 at the time — finding a job was the
only barrier to happiness. I believed that once I found a “good” job,
everything else would fall into place.

That’s not quite what happened. I found the job just fine, but somewhere
in my formerly middle-class mind, I believed a good job equaled a decent
place to live. I was wrong. Finding a good job just meant I didn’t qualify
for help. So, while I worked my tail off working for tips in a restaurant,
making a decent $10 an hour, my children had to sleep in my car;
because I didn’t qualify for child care assistance. Or housing assistance.
Or food stamps.

So my kids and I lived in a car, lucky that it wasn’t winter, lucky we weren’t
in a dangerous city. I didn’t have a shelter to go to. I didn’t have someone
advocating for me — showing me the “ropes” of poverty, if you will.
I wish someone had. It would have saved my children and I a lot of pain
during the months we lived in my Subaru station wagon.

I have discovered my own experience was not unique, that thousands
of people have been there, just like me. So as you read this paper,
keep in mind there are a lot of families out there living on the edge of
homelessness, and many have already fallen over that edge. Keep in mind
you may meet some of them working at a restaurant, a store, or perhaps a day-care center. And keep in mind it doesn’t have to be that way."

Michelle Kennedy is the author of “Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in
America: My Story,” published by Viking, 2005. She lives with her family in Chelsea, Vermont.

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"Speaking Truth To Empower"