He was sitting at a bus stop where no bus was coming. It was after midnight and I was on the last leg of my 5 mile power walk. He was white, under 30, and on a cold night, wearing nothing but a thin white shirt and life’s desperation. “Ian, my life is fucked!” he said in resigned desolation as I passed him. I didn’t hear anything else. I was moving too fast. But I didn’t need anything else. His life is replicated a million times and more over, every night in streets across America. “My life is….”. As I walked that late night I observed the growing number of homeless… at bus stops, on long closed store piazzas, in bushes, in corners and crevices, in the front of churches that offer some sanctuary, wandering the streets alone or in heterosexual pairings sometimes black and white, some with backpacks… the only possessions they have and not even much of their dignity left with them.Some are drunks, ex-drunks, drug abusers, ex-drug abusers. All are unemployed, most likely unemployable. Some are mad, insane if that’s a more PC word. The one thing they have in common, is the aimlessness, moving about with a sense of going nowhere. Waiting for the night to pass in some semblance of sleep on a cold ground… not looking for the morning to bring new challenges for surviving.These are the people we don’t look at, we don’t want to look at, roll up our windows and forgo eye contact.The ironic thing is that some of those people were doing the very same thing just a few months ago, but are now reflecting how fast things change. From home to homeless in 60 seconds or in oneextra syllable. People are being made homeless at a tremendous rate across America. But there is now a difference. Many have bachelor degrees that can no longer help them.They have lost jobs, spouses, relatives, sources of income and support. Some have lost their children to Child Services. Many have lost hope.They are America’s fastest growing sector, yet they are not on the agenda of the president, or houses of congress of the United States. They are expendable, a statistic that few are doing anything about, while most just wish them away.***Recently, a tea-party supporter, harangued me into debating him (it must be a sign on my forehead). His topic, health care and the spending for it, creating according to him, massive deficits. When I pointed out that his lordship George Bush had bankrupted the country through tax cuts within weeks of taking the throne, he replied that tax cuts can’t bankrupt the country. Then he proceeded to tell me to go learn economics. Of course, I terminated the conversation. Idiot.But for others who might sometime face this, this thinking is obviously and severely cretinous. Government has to have monies to cover expenditures such infrastructure, defense, police and social services. Taxes are government income. When you cut taxes, you cut income and expenditures cannot be covered. When that happens as is happening now, then a whole lot of services get cut. Staff gets cut which adds to the society’s problems. And as is usual, cuts generally start with, and affect the poor most.Another point ‘tea-partyers’ are prone to make, is the stimulus, showing again that they both lack the commonsense to understand what the stimulus is, and that they are just following the ‘No-sayers’ party line.The stimulus is really nothing more than targeted tax cuts. Instead of giving every large corporation a tax cut, the government simply gave a few endangered ones, stimulus money.What the no-sayers (nega-doers) also fail to say, is that much or most of the stimulus money is in the form of loans… they must be repaid. And they have other terms to go with them.There is a perceived failure with the stimulus (loans) to the financial sector, because Bernanke and Bush decided that there should be no real terms, concessions or rules governing these loans, except you borrow it, you pay it back. The intent was to get the banks to free up loans to stimulate the economy. Instead the banks used the money for selfish, purposes. You could say un-American purposes, but it is very American to put yourself first and screw the country.***Most politicians including Obama believe in polls even though they all know how deceitful and manipulative polls are.I got a telephone poll from someone purporting to be Reagan’s son. He asked if I am pro-life and of course I am. But whose life am I for? The context wasn’t presented. In the abortion debate context, I in general, support choice.So when I answered the next question with a ‘yes’, “Do I support the use of health care funds for abortion?”, someone is going to be confused. So I skewed the poll.Another question was, “Do I want my taxes remaining the same or cut?”. No fool I, so the answer is ‘yes’. Again, no context. If the question was “Do I want my taxes raised for a better America?”, I would also say ‘yes’.Now, the sponsors of this poll will say that 90% of Americans are pro-life, giving the impression that those polled were against abortion… not true.They will also use the poll to say that 99% of all polled do not want their taxes raised, which without a context, is a false assumption. Other questions were asked as to whether I believe that ‘marriage should only be between a man and a woman’(no), if I was a democrat (no), or a republican (no). The thing is I answered all the questions truthfully, but I must be confusing the pollsters. Whose fault? Theirs. The bottom-line, never believe in polls.***A recent edition of Newsweek heralded the Iraq elections with “Victory at last: the emergence of a democratic Iraq”. Hello! As Obama once said, ‘they just don’t get it’.What is missing in most western thinking, particularly in American thinking, is the long term. Most non-westerners think in the long term. Iraq is a mess and will be for some time.But let’s look at what should be the most obvious. The majority of the Iraqi leadership is Shi’ite. Under Saddam, it was the minority Sunnis that ruled. Good move getting the majority back in power… well, except for a coupla things. Saddam’s Iraq kept a sort of balance in the mid-east. Now, the Shi’ties control both Iran and its new protege Iraq. Thanks George, wish you were here.Most times these guys don’t believe in the false borders drawn up by Britain and other imperial powers. So in lieu of anything else, religion is their mainstay. To have both countries side by side under one religion is actually trouble.Secondly, the election, like that in Afghanistan, is not free, fair, or free from fear. Some 500 candidates, mainly Sunnis, have been banned from running because of alleged past associations with Saddam’s Baath party. This eliminates some of the best Iraqi politicians.A court decision had overturned the ban, but the ban was re-introduced, and thus it is clear that Shi’ite Maliki will be returned to power. This means greater marginalization of Sunni’s. All this was done under US permissions . If any other country held elections under these conditions, the US would certainly cry ‘foul’.***Lost in the hysteria created by the Iran vs western countries nuclear standoff, is that there are in fact a great deal of western hypocrisy surrounding nuclear plants in the mid east. Egypt has two small nuclear reactors and is seeking larger power-producing plants. The US is providing financing and training for nuclear plants in Jordan. The United Arab Emirates is on its way to building nuclear plants. Israel and Syria recently announced plans to build power-producing plants. Israel, it is estimated, has over 200 nuclear weapons.And in the “Law? What law?” category, India, which is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, developed nuclear power and weapons with the assistance of western nations including the United States.***People in Jamaica are more and more coming to understand that the administration of Bruce Golding isn’t the 2nd coming of Christ. Some say that people get the government they deserve, but the truth is that Jamaicans don’t deserve either this administration or the previous. What to do?
About the author
Writer, photographer, artist. Have been doing all three for some time. More about myself and my art can be found at http://www.louisdavisart.com, and http://www.broward.org/arts/publications/cq/2008/winter08/cq_winter08.htm