162. 4th of July 2008 – The Man part II

Dear Friends:

I recently had someone named Hayden write to me regarding the article I wrote titled “The Man”. Hayden went on to say the following:

Its extreme egocentricity to believe the damaged and unfortunate we see on our streets is any sort of problem just because it makes US feel bad.

One nutbag is no tragedy.

I admit I just sat there and looked at Hayden’s email.

I am a huge believer in the the Declaration of Independence and that “All Men Have Unalienable Rights”. That includes medical treatment and kindness. When the forefathers wrote the DOI, they wrote it for all of its citizens… For every “Nutbag” as Hayden would call them is included.

The Homeless are not treated as equal citizens in this country. We do have a class system of the “have and have nots”. I was passing a park the other day and there was a sign stating “Park Closed from 11pm to 4am”. This park was located in a higher end neighborhood, nice homes, and a lot of donors to charity I would imagine. I am glad all of these people donate, they allow great things to be done with the money they contribute. But wonder why they roll up the sidewalk at 11pm? I do not think it was to deny the local residents use of the park.

In thinking of the man and his mental health made me think of the old song In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans and the line…

Everything you think, do and say is in the pill you took today.

In a society that takes their medications daily, I had to think more about Haydens email. I could not help The Man as I was above and far away. If given proper medication, it is possible The Man might never have caught my attention. I wondered though how many people that passed him though had taken a pill for their depression or other issues prescribed by a doctor to make them feel better.

Recently in Cleveland, Ohio a homeless man was beaten to death, the video showed the local motorists slowed down to watch but no one left their cars to help him. Homeless people are veterans, family members, the mentally ill, child support payers, coworkers, abused women, and maybe even some people that are acquaintances you pass on the street and could not imagine as being homeless. Some are just those that their wages never kept up with inflation. If your boss this year gave you a 30% raise to cover gas and food increases, I applaud you.

The majority of the homeless did not wake up one morning and say, “boy that sidewalk looks comfy!” As a child no one said from their bedrooms with their stuffed animals “I want to be homeless some day”. Mental illness is one pathway into homelessness, but their are more people in this country that have to take a little pill in the morning to face everyday life. The homeless have to face it unmedicated for the the most part. The current statistics say that 49% of the homeless are lower income, where did the other 51% come from?

Hayden, every man, woman and child that does not have a home is a tragedy, not a Nutbag.



2 Responses to “162. 4th of July 2008 – The Man part II”

  1. July 5, 2008 at 9:09 am

    It is a pity that there are so many, who like Hayden, view the homeless through the eyes of prejudice and hatred – views which are based on misconceptions and ignorance of reality.

    Hopefully Hayden will never experience homelessness in his life – but if he does, I wonder how it will make him feel to have someone consider him one the the “nutbags?”

    I’m sure that at his point in his life, he’d be crying out “Foul!” just as quickly and loudly as he is calling the homeless “nutbags.”

  2. July 6, 2008 at 1:58 am

    “One nutjob is no tragedy”
    Well, obviously not to Hayden however this one person represents a brother,friend, or father to someone who does feel that this is a personal tragedy. Furthermore, the very sentiment that Hayden voices is a tragedy to me. When we choose not to reach out and help others ,we separate ourselves from humanity…and when this happens the chance for real change diminishes.
    Most of us will never be able to reach great numbers with humanitarian efforts so even the smallest act of compassion has a real and significant impact on making this world just a little better . I am sure that if Hayden were in need of help he would greatly appreciate the kindness of others.

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