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Reply #17: a continuum, maybe? [View All]

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. a continuum, maybe?
Maybe in some ways we are all "homeless." Those who are fairly secure and well off and have a roof over their heads - does that mean they are not homeless?

If the bank owns your home, and you are trapped in a job to make the payments, you are homeless.

If where you live is subject to the whims of some corporate management, you are homeless.

If your house is merely an investment, you are homeless.

If your house is situated in a sterile and lifeless neighborhood with no community, you are homeless.

If the system that provides you with security dictates that many are left in pain and want, you are homeless.

If you struggle to pay your utilities, you are homeless.

If you are one medical emergency, or a couple of paychecks away from serious trouble, you are homeless.

If your children have no neighborhood suitable for play, and you are required to provide for every moment of their activities and learning, shuffling them from event to event, you are homeless.

We are spiritually, culturally, and socially homeless. We all live by the grace if the welthy and powerful few, and only so long as we comoly and are of service to those in power. Our "home" grows smaller and smaller and less and less secure.

Very, very few people in this country are free from all of those types of spiritual and cultural homelessness. Almost everyone in the country feels an emptiness and isolation and the omnipresent fear o falling off the edge, and many make up for the emptiness - their spiritual homelessness - with a complex and comprehensive set of "think positive" and self-improvement regimens and past times, and a set of nyhts and prejudices about "success" and "winners" and the way the world works. That is then projected as "helping" or charity onto others - "you will feel better about yourself if you get some exercise." For an educated and comfortable suburban person working in an office - or those striving for that - what else do they have to obsess over and fill their time with? But is has no universal application, and in fact carries with it the prejudices of privilege and status, the very prejudices that are the root cause of our political ineptitude and impotence and the resultant social problems of human suffering and deprivation.

For too many activists, "needy" and "homeless" means "not living the suburban upscale professional life," or not conforming, not fitting in. Jogging, for example, may or may not "help the homeless" but it certainly does socialize people to a certain set of expectations and standards. Jogging is part of a particular mindset, a particular obsession with self-improvement and self-actualization, and that leads us to think of all social problems in the terminology and standards of self-actualization and various models for "success." Many people do not want to actualize themselves, and the whole concept is only available or relevant to a relatively few privileged people. People who fit the mold of this happy "successful" suburban ideal are continually presented to us by the mass media as "standard" and "normal" and we are likely to forget that we are only seeing a lifestyle that is being lived by 10% or at most 20% of the population. Many cannot live that life, many do now want to live that life. Forcing people into that gentrified and shallow and materialistic approach to life as the "solution" to "their problems" can be more of a cruelty than a charity.

"A house is not a home."

"Man does not live by bread alone."
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