Message to Anchorage’s Homeless: The stiffs do give a damn whether you live or die! They hope you will die!
It’s not just that “Sidewalk” Sullivan is anti-homeless---it’s the pure glee he displayed when he found out that pesky sidewalk protester, John Martin, was not only a lowly homeless person but also a genuine, registered sex-offender. It’s about the only emotion ever registered by Anchorage’s rather pompous mayoral figurehead---the pure pleasure displayed when he found out that Martin was even lower on the social scale than previously calculated. All this made it easy for the Mayor-for-all-who-are-worthy to dismiss this patently obvious “unworthy”---already barely qualifying to make Hizzoner’s subhuman rating system.
I note that Julia O’Malley finds homeless pest, John Martin, to be a “distraction” and not much of a “cause”---a guy who “had sex with his teenage foster daughter when he was in his 20s, and went to jail” (“Martin distracts; Mayor could do more,” Anchorage Daily News, print edition, August 7, 2011).
Okay, Martin is not a stellar citizen but he has served his time. The question is, what kind of a mayor finds a homeless man sitting on a city sidewalk, gets him thrown into jail, and seems to take so much pleasure from it?
I suppose it is important---seeing as how Mayor Dan wants to make it illegal---to decide whether or not sitting on a public sidewalk constitutes some form of free speech. I lean toward a yes vote on that one---especially given the fact that money is now, officially, a form of free speech. However, the more immediate issue to me is how Anchorage wound up with such a petty guy for a mayor. I mean, Mayor Sullivan is like Tom Fink without the charisma or the sense of humor. More worried about property taxes than people and not doing a good job with either. Not so much fiscally conservative as just plain cheap, stuffy and stolid---with streak of mean.
Mayor Dan’s crusade against the homosexual gay rights thing already showed his true colors---but the gays have a lobby so he couldn’t really “come out” all the way, even though he and Pastor Prevo’s “red shirts” quelled the gay invasion. The gays vote, pay taxes, shower and, presumably, smell swell. The homeless, however---now there is a group we can all dump on with impunity, right? And the homeless don’t vote, right?
But hizzonor apparently miscalculated when he showed his inordinate delight at the plight of one uppity untouchable. Come to find out that Anchorage might have some humane Human residents still in residence. Anchorage, as it was when I lived there decades ago, is still somewhat humane. So how did Anchorage wind up with a stiff like Sullivan?
HOW DEMOCRACY LEADS TO DICTATORSHIP -
Unfortunately, the Humanes in Anchorage tend not to vote. Anchorage citizens got the mayor they deserved---turnout for the election was just under 28 percent of voters. And we can pretty much figure out that only the most solid of citizens voted for this most stolid of mayors instead of a more likeable representative of the Human race like Eric Croft---who would not, if nothing else, stoop so low as to take such pleasure at kicking a homeless man into the gutter. This election had property-owners written all over it. The landlorded aristocracy. The bumpkins of businesses who want downtown sidewalks kept clear of riff-raff so the paying customers don‘t get scared away. Keep them anywhere but keep them out of sight. No, keep them nowhere. Roust them. Harass them and ridicule all who would even stoop to thinking about helping these untouchables. Anchortown: City With A Heart! Where the mayoral receiving line has a sheep dip to run the scruffy ones through so their emanations don’t wrinkle hizzonor’s prissy proboscis.
TO TOUCH AN UNTOUCHABLE -
“To solve homeless problem, take some into your house” (Letters to the editor, Anchorage Daily News, August 6th 2011 (print edition)).
“I am sick to death of all the bleeding hearts and liberal blowhards attacking the mayor and conservatives over the homeless issue…” says letter-writer, Ben Waschke of Anchorage… “If you all have such big hearts, it's time to put your home where your mouth is and adopt a homeless person or family. Just bring one into your home rather than shoving the burden on the rest of us who have our own problems to worry about. You're all a bunch of hypocrites; the solution is sitting in your spare bedroom or futon or back yard.
What's the matter? Are they too stinky? Untrustworthy? Too many bad habits? What's your excuse? Where's your sense of human decency?
Considering our current events, the homeless are the least of my problems so I refuse to pay any more taxes for more services for the dead weight of our society. Begging is the world's second oldest profession and it's not going away no matter how many more programs you force me to pay for. So I say put up or shut up.”
Go get ‘em, Ben! You got me pegged! I wouldn’t want John Martin living next door to me…never mind camping out on my property...or, god forbid, living in my cabin. Those with power or authority or social or material position over others---however meager or mighty the degree of superiority---don’t want things to change. [Am I a “conservative” now?]
And here I thought this was a conflict between the bleeding heart Christian do-gooders and the up-tight business interests. But according to Mr. Waschke it’s just another one of those liberal-conservative things. And his brand of “conservatives” apparently keep their Christian/humanitarian impulses well-sequestered.
AMERICA’S HOMELESS UNTOUCHABLES! THEY ALSO SERVE…
Mr. Waschke is wrong---the homeless are not “dead weight of our society.” The untouchable homeless serve the useful societal function of conferring feelings of utmost superiority upon the stiffs in our midst. And not just a social and material sense of superiority over the unwashed, but also a snootiness over those who would even dare advocate treating the “least of these” as a form of Human being. It’s a win-win for the stiffs! The homeless are America’s untouchables. They exist so tough-guy conservatives (apparently) can assert their superiority not only over the homeless, but also over those weenie liberal (apparently) bleeding hearts who, at least, make a stab at some sympathy.
The homeless satisfy both the bloody stiffs and the bleeding hearts---both get pleasure out of other people’s pain. The homeless mean Schadenfreude for all! The difference being that the stiffs get their jollies by kicking the very lowest when they are down---while the bleeding hearts attempt to lessen the burden upon the untouchable homeless and thereby elevate themselves another rung on the ladder of saintliness and salvation.
It’s hard to tell sometimes why people do good things for other people. I am reminded of the Dalai Lama, who says that compassion is selfish in the sense it is in one’s self-interest because it makes one feel good. Every time I do a good deed I get a surge of self-righteousness---but I don‘t particularly like it.
Whatever. Helping the homeless makes the bleeding hearts feel morally and spiritually pure. But to be a true bleeding heart would be to recognize the pure Human spirit of the homeless person as being the same as that within one’s own self.
Anyway, the homeless are a moral test for us all. It must be tough being Christian because people like John Martin are to be viewed as Jesus in disguise, right? If I were a “real” Christian I would be tempted to go all “Mother Theresa” with this homeless thing.
THE BOTTOM LINE OF THE BOTTOM RUNG -
Julia O’Malley does offer up the only sensible and most economical solution to get the most out of Ben Waschke’s “…taxes for more services for the dead weight of our society.”
As Mr. Waschke also has done, I am “…considering our current events…” What I come up with, among other things, is “the economy!” We’ve all heard about it by now---need I say more? There is a good chance that the economy means more homeless persons to come. And since this is just another problem that is bound to get worse, the bloody stiffs better figure out some way to make a quick buck off of it. And, according to Julia, it turns out they can! The cheapest solution turns out to be getting these homeless types off the streets and into some sort of individual shelters---like cheap apartments. “Modest” housing as O’Malley calls it. The savings come when our emergency and emergency medical services are not constantly overburdened with, well, emergencies.
Sure, the stiffs will begrudge the untouchables getting these “freebies”---but if they can clamp their superior noses shut it turns out to be cheaper to help the homeless to the extent of providing them with some sort of housing rather than having them slosh back and forth across the city like the detritus and debris in the wake of a tidal wave. Hell, while saving us taxpayers the extra money once used to handle constant emergencies, you bloody stiffs can even masquerade as humanitarians while collecting the rent from us taxpayers!
HISTORY NEVER REPEATS ITSELF…NOT EXACTLY ANYWAY…
Or, we can restrict ambulance and emergency medical services only to the “self worthy.” That’s a possibility and I ain’t kiddin’ either. This country seems to be contemplating the way of the sheep dip or the cyanide bath. These latest mayoral antics from Anchorage remind me of the burgomaster of a pre-World War II German municipality in the soon-to-be defunct Weimar Republic. You know, the totally dysfunctional political system; the toady politicians; the rise of fascism (corporatism) with the growing influence of rich industrialists; the inflation; the sick economy; the racial and class hatreds… “Dead weight”…”homeless camp“...”death camp…” Each phrase just sort of morphs right into the other.
“Unthinkable,“ you say! Hah! America is now kissy-face with all kinds of “unthinkables.” The stench of self-righteousness and the stink of fearfulness is commingled and no deodorant can cover it up. America already murders innocents-for-oil (although not very successfully) and routinely robs the poor to pay the rich. We have already committed torture; we already have secret prisons; we have already contracted for “detention centers” of unspecified purpose; we already do targeted assassinations by assassination squads; and now, the favorite means of warfare of our President Obama, murder by robotic drones and remotely-controlled missiles, has escalated to the point of madness. I detect no great outcry over any of it! And, since being poor is already tantamount to being criminal, why not round up the homeless and make them disappear to keep the sidewalks clear.
We are a system contemplating its own collapse. And, judging by our political willingness to destroy the economy and the country just to get rid of some unwanted politician or policy or party or point-of-view, death camps could well be in our future…except they will be called “Worthiness Centers.”
For the time being, at least, let’s give the homeless a legitimate address---with access to showers---just for dignity (ours and theirs). For a sense of identity so they can at least think about becoming citizens worthy of prostrating themselves before Mayor Dan.
- Rudy Wittshirk