I have a question.
When Ronald Reagan ran for President against Jimmy Carter, I remember the Carter campaign came out and said that when Reagan was Governor of California, he had closed all the state mental institutions and that there were now hundreds if not thousands of crazy people roaming the streets with no where to live bothering ordinary people. How low can this man go to show his ineptitude, I thought about the former President from Georgia?
Sure enough less than 4 years later, I was entering the World Trade Center from the south side at night to catch the Path train to Jersey where before it was always clean and empty, I noticed there were men lying on the ground stretched out and getting comfortable from the revolving doors through the lobby and all the way to the escalators that lead you down to the lower levels. Once again, my assumptions had been proven wrong.
Well many years later, after Senior’s, “1000 Points of Light,” Clintons “I feel your pain,” and Junior’s,” mission accomplished,” people are still sleeping in the street and begging for change at an ever increasing rate it seems.
Apparently, there are said to be 3 types of homeless person. The 1st one is one who dresses neatly, cleanly and you could never tell that they were homeless unless someone told you. You’ll probably find them sitting at the library during the day or the train station reading and or trying to figure out a way to make some change. The 2nd is the type is the one who will wear an overcoat in the summer and six layers underneath that. Or they will walk about not realizing that their privates are being exposed and being aired out so that you can smell them from about a half a block away. They will scream at you unintelligently making noises and guttural utterances no one can recognize. And the 3rd, will fall somewhere in between the other 2, the type who will ask you for change.
The 3rd type was the one that approached me the other night outside of Rita’s Water Ice. In the above picture, he was the one in the yellow asking everyone for change. The picture doesn’t really show the dirt that he was covered in or the pathetic way that he held himself as he went from person to person begging. I didn’t want to take advantage of his situation especially since I only gave him 50 cents and then only after seeing him for a second time that evening and asking him a silly question.
Close up, I noticed how young he was and how reasonably good looking he was and I wondered how he could have gotten himself into this mess. I could have thought the “there but for the grace of God,” line, but that’s something that anyone would have to worry about in my case. Yes I appreciate life but not that much. I’m the type who you would find floating down the river or lying splat on the side of the sidewalk next to a 10 storey building before I could accept that way of life. I’m not that strong. I’m not built that way.
Anyway, I wondered why the taxes I pay, or anybody pays can buy bullets and bombs and salaries for Halliburton, but not cover the costs for the homeless. Also, why after all these years, the sight of people sleeping in the streets or having them ask for your change has become acceptable and even normal in our major cities. When will all of this change?
That is my question.
And I bet you thought this was going to be about Obama.