Saturday, July 31, 2004


It’s instructive that our local newsweekly The Inlander published an angry letter to the editor (Amber Custer) about homeless adults which contained the standard conservative cliché, “get a job, go to school”, while in the same issue producing a feature on homeless children which confronted the angry conservative cliché with its answer. Let’s put aside the fact that many working Americans with low paying jobs are homeless under this Republican regime which refuses to raise the minimum wage. As your article demonstrates, out of homeless children arise homeless adults, the damage done long before an American reaches adult status.

Where would drinking, drugging seven to thirteen year olds get these jobs the angry conservative tells them to get? Where would street dwelling children get the clean clothes and the middle-class manners to successfully compete for jobs? Who’s going to hire a drunken ten year old? No American wakes up one day and consciously “chooses” to be homeless. It takes a long history of abuse and failure or a sociopath’s genetic makeup to create the self-destructive psychology with which many adult homeless persons undermine their own best interests.

People who scream about the homeless would better spend their time being grateful that they were born with the genes for a good IQ or helpful parents, or with the genes that make for mental and physical health, with a loving grandparent (like mine) or a school counselor or a middle-class upbringing or an economic status that helped prepare them to hang on when times were tough. Counting their blessings might soften the hardened hearts whose angry jibes only contribute to the indignities already visited upon the homeless. Grateful conservatives might offer a helping hand up rather than a kick in the teeth.

"I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind.
The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building." —Charles Schulz

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