Monday, October 31, 2011
It has been the agenda of the GOP since Ronald Reagan's administration to broaden the gap between the rich and poor. This serves the purpose of preventing more people from achieving ultra-wealthy status and separates the Haves from the untouchables, the Have Nots. Be objective. Look for yourself. Read everything whether you agree with it or not, and do so with an open mind. I come from a long line of fiscal conservatives, many of whom have since left the Republican party, as I have. Members of our family were in Henry Hudson's expeditionary party, fought in every war from the Revolutionary war on. We have always been conservatives, but for the last 30 years, and even then it has been a slow exodus from the GOP. But you can't call yourself a fiscal conservative and simultaneously believe that the policies of Reagan, Bush 41, & Bush 43, as well as those of the Do Nothing 112th Congress are conservative. They're not. They have created a welfare state, but not one which helps those in need. They've created a welfare state which has served the ultra-wealthy. Trickle-down economics is a myth, such as it's portrayed. Twenty years worth of conservative administrations hasn't created the jobs they boast. It's all been a lie. As for the Democrats, they're not significantly better, either. It's time to abolish the two-party system and urge other parties into the mix. We also need to enact legislation which will force candidates to accept public campaign funding to remove money from the equation, and we need to ban lobbying completely. When wealthy concerns alone have the ears of lawmakers, individual rights get trampled.
There are 2 problems that could be meshed in order to mitigate each. The first is veteran homelessness. The second is the glut of empty homes, indeed empty neighborhoods. With all the money spent on outreach to homeless vets, it seems that it might be cheaper in some cases to purchase those homes, especially where an entire neighborhood could be purchased so that the vets would be around people with whom they share life-altering experiences. I can envision now-empty neighborhoods filled with veterans and their families (in some areas), with certain homes converted for group living. Veterans are already accustomed to living in barracks, hooches, homeless shelters (in the worst cases), so the transition could be relatively painless. In each neighborhood a central veterans' outreach office could be established in one of the homes with services offered on-site, like transportation to the nearest VA Medical Center, group therapy sessions, transition to permanent living, and so forth. In some cases, this might be permanent housing.
As a veteran, I see my fellow vets on the streets, using, abusing, and basically thrown away once the general public is done with their services. The police rarely know how to respond to veterans and the result is usually jail. That could be prevented with a neighborhood police department that's trained specially to deal with veterans, especially those with conditions like PTSD. It might even be a situation where MP (Military Police) veterans, those who are already accustomed to dealing with their fellow vets, could make the best cops to handle any situations that might occur and prevent troubled vets from from going to jail, incurring a criminal record, and having their problems ignored or left un(der)treated.
I see so much possibility here. Yes, the program would cost a bit to get started, and yes, there would be a cost to run it, but in some situations that might be offset by having the veterans who inhabit the community pay subsidized rent from their veterans compensation or from their wages from private sector jobs. The program could be fine-tuned as it evolves providing that the charter was flexible enough to allow it to progress smartly.
Imagine: An entire neighborhood of veterans surrounded by those they feel comfortable with, by those who don't look down on them, who share the same nightmares. For many veterans, no amount of rehabilitation to reintegration into the general public will suffice to drive away the demons. Let's be proactive, recognize it, and move forward while housing can be purchased at the lowest possible cost.
Friday, October 28, 2011
These protests have been a long time coming. The abuses by the financial and banking sectors, opaque government, secret wars, police intimidation, and political cronyism have all taken their toll on the middle and working classes. Remember the old Bruce Hornsby and the Range line from their 1986 #1 hit, 'The Way It Is'? "The man in the silk suit hurries by, As he catches the poor old lady's eyes, Just for fun he says 'Get a job'". They were onto the crude undercurrent of classism a quarter-century ago.
The real problem is not that the 1% don't see the chasm that exists between their luxuried lives and that of the street poor. The real problem is not that they don't care. The real problem is that they ENJOY the difference. They enjoy knowing that tonight while the two veterans, one from the Vietnam war and one from Iraq or Afghanistan, sleep under a bridge, they'll be home, warm, fed, dry, and secure. It's that delectation that derives from the suffering of others that is the core of the problem. All else is symptom; this is the disease.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I keep hearing and reading people say that the problem with the Occupation is that no one can give them a single reason why they're doing it. But that's the problem right there; there isn't a single reason - there are hundreds of reasons. And yes, it might seem confusing and disorganized at the moment, but as people put their heads together things will get sorted out. The thing about Thinkers, as opposed to the Believers whom Occupation is protesting, is that it's a Big Tent. Far bigger than the Democratic Party. Far bigger than "The Left". We are the 99%, the middle, the left, and even the right. We are us, them, you, I, we, he, she...and even it. So while we communicate with one another and sort ourselves to address all these issues, give us time. Because this isn't just for us, it's for ALL of us. (R.E.M. - 'Welcome To The Occupation' )