Monday, July 4, 2016

Playing the Game, or Not?

When the family of a homeless person does not want to acknowledge their status as homeless, I am made aware of the difference in the way people view this condition.  There is a huge social stigma which needs to be broken down, here.  When a person becomes homeless, it is not that they are to blame whether it is from lack of rent money, inability to get along with spouse or roommate or complicated matters with predatory lenders who suddenly say, “Your home is ours”.  It may seem at first light that you have done something wrong, being without a structure to call home.  Yet we all struggle with the system which somehow gives you a score on your ability to manage finances.  This has essentially nothing to do with who you are, personally, only how you are at jumping through those financial hoops.  There are those among us who have jumped through these for years without success.  As the late Bernie Ward states, “the Capitalistic system has lied to us!”
What we were trying to say with the Occupy movement was that these huge systems are not within our control and they do not have our interests at heart.  It’s like playing a game of hide ‘n seek with friends.  If one person stops, stands in the middle of the room saying, “I don’t want to play anymore’, the game ends, kids hide behind chairs and in closets but it’s not the same game anymore. 
You see, in case you do not recall from high school history, it was Benjamin Franklin who made up this financial system.  Years ago, after the Vietnam war, there were stories of the Penac Agreement.  A lot of leaders of large countries and corporations got together and decided which direction the system should go.  We all saw the pictures of the newsreel of the big Cadillacs and Mercedes driving up to the big hotel entrance with flashbulbs going off.  It was like from Hollywood Academy awards.  The big financial system decided that a certain amount of unemployment was inevitable, and that a certain amount of families should have children and some could go to war or whatever.  We were never privy to their discussions, nor to their negotiations or planned outcomes. These up-e ups decided that at some point we are going to have a certain number of homeless.

Now at the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County, they allocate a certain amount of funding to build a certain amount of structures for people to live in, and with gentrification the city and county want to build big beautiful structures for rich people to live in.  It gives them a bigger profit margin.  The more mundane structures like condos and apartments are not as lucrative.  They tear those down; same idea as “Reunify Downtown”.  The board and council know full-well they are not providing all the shelter we will need.  They are not concerned with you when you get sick, lose your job and cannot pay rent anymore. 

If England voted to opt out of the EU, just because there was unrest in the country, someone was up there making that decision, like it would settle the unrest.  D. Trump was put in the running to make Hilary look good.  Do we want to play in this game?  Some are deciding they don’t.  It feels too much like manipulation.  Some continue to play like it's real.  In the long run, we all know to be a homeless person does not mean you do not matter, it means we are all cogs in a big wheel.  Those who are shelterless hold up the cogs for those of us on Social Security or other social programs, and on up the rung, an honorable courageous position.  So without the homeless, the council and board have nothing to stand on.  Who are really in control now!  

Anita Lafollette

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