Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Short, And Not So Simple...

Nope, ain't feeling guilty on this one. Not having it. Not one bit. At all... (some free floating anxiety, maybe).  Photo: S. Banos

I debated taking this photo, I debated posting it even more. Humorous? Mean spirited? Both???

I think one could make equally valid arguments for all the above. One of the things that Right Wingers repeatedly fail to comprehend is that one can understand something without condoning it. Their somewhat limited mindsets seem to short circuit at the consideration that comprehension does not automatically signal approval, that everything is not so clearly black and white in this often grey and murky world. I think that condition can also manifest (in admittedly fewer circumstances) with those on the Left, when you're perceived a traitor to the cause if you do not blindly buy into the whole 'manifesto.'

Obviously, one cannot paint the homeless into one homogeneous group. You have: abused women and runaway minors, the mentally ill, addicts, former military suffering from PTSD, your basic 'ne'er do wells' or criminal element-  not to mention ex cons effectively banned from most employment opportunities by the very history they're desperately trying to escape. And then there are those that hit much closer to home- the ever increasing number of unfortunates who have simply hit hard times and find themselves unemployed, underemployed, friendless and on the streets. And statistics prove that more and more of the latter now include formerly middle class suburban women, children, and adults of both sexes over 50.

Those on the Right tend to see them in one lump sum ("they're homeless because they want to be")- just like gays make a "conscious decision" to become gay, and schizophrenics supposedly choose to become mentally incompetent. 

I certainly don't know what the story is behind the person pictured above. Perhaps he's tried to get a job and change his situation for several years now, without luck or hope, and has now simply given up. Or perhaps he's simply a 'bum' or druggie thoroughly resigned to a life of hustling and playing the streets. I-Don't-Know. 

What I do know is that he does have a certain sense of humor, casually turning the whole discussion on homelessness on its royal side with his flippant in your face sign. And that life, cruel and sometimes funny mother that it can be, turned the joke back on him soon as he let his guard down. A reverse whammy that can't be ignored, and that he (at least in this case) very much set himself up for. 

Personally, I don't see a very optimistic future, then again, there's no way I could go on without some small sense of hope- sustained by the ability to suffer criticism and retain a sense of humor (particularly when at one's own expense)... it's the one thing the 1% can't do.

PS- I guess what I've been actually trying to say all along is- I see a lotta me in that guy. And perhaps, a little of us all...

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