Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everybody were treated the same way homeless people are. When I first heard about faith-based initiatives thats what it sounded like to mewe were going to arrange to do all government business through churches the way the missions do the soup kitchens.
That could be pretty enlightening for the general public. Thats something I could support.
For example, suppose whenever anybody wanted a fishing license, they had to go to a local church and sit through a half hour sermon to the effect that if they weren't such sinners they would be the CEOs of corporations and have figured out how to have fish flown in to them. That might be enlightening.
What if they ran Medicare like they run the mission down the street? Say youre on Social Security, youre old, you have cancer, and you need pain-killer. The government sends you to a mission, you have to show up at the door no later than 4:30, the sermon starts at 4:35, NO LATE-COMERS, we don't care how much pain you're in, this is Christ's time, you'll get your pain-killer when it's your turn, and while you're waiting you'll find a hymnal at your seat. You don't have to sing to the Lord, but if you had let Jesus in your heart years ago you never would have landed here. Look at the pain you're in, it's proof you hate God in your heart. Oh, yes, and if you expect to come back for more FREE pain-killer you'd better spend an hour sweeping the vestibule, whether it needs it or not.
What if everybody's grandparents got treated that way when they needed help? That might be enlightening.
Why stop at spreading the soup kitchen experience around? Lets think of some more ways that everybody else can share in the homeless experience!
Here in Seattle, homeless people who have tents arent allowed to set them up anywhere, because such living arrangements are unsafe, according to the government. They arent even allowed to sleep in tents on private land with the owners permission. Can we think of a way to share that experience with everyone?
Well, I couldnt think of anything, but Fairfax County, Virginia, found a way.
People in the government of Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., have apparently decided that they dont have enough homeless people. Too many people are living in the houses of Fairfax County. They have decided its time to put a stop to all that.
They are trying to get a law passed to prohibit anyone from sleeping anywhere except in a bedroom. As of this writing, it appears that the Virginia Legislature would allow such an ordinance to be put into effect, according to an article in the Washington Post.
You see, poor people have been driving down property values (gee, what a shame, that housing should cost less) in Fairfax by letting too many people live with them in their apartments and houses. When your neighbors put enough friends and relatives in every living room and every kitchen and hallway and they all have Hondas and Sonys, you know, pretty soon youre having to park all the way out in New Jersey and listening to sixteen kinds of salsa at once all hours of the day and night, if you know what I mean.
Thats right, someone just might think that the purpose of the law might have something to do with ethnic interests involving immigrant populations. But its sponsors deny that they are targeting minorities. They say they are preserving parking spaces and peace and quiet.
Why cant we do something like that here in Seattle? Lets have a law that prohibits people from sleeping on their own living room couches. Well tell them its for their own good. That might be enlightening.
Adventures in Poetry Columns
© Dr. Wes Browning's
The Great Speckled Bird Columns on Homelessness