It was another morning among many, walking back home from work, entertaining myself by watching as drivers of automobiles routinely violated the traffic rules, all the while ready to turn into road-raging beasts if a solitary bicyclist were to do the same by rolling through a stop sign, when from the shadows emerged a gargantuan 300-pound male pedaling frantically atop a terribly creaky ten-year-old’s bike.
This is the sort of contemporary phenomenon that eludes comprehension, these full-grown adults on kiddie bikes, and yes, I’ve certainly heard the litany of their vagrancy, drug abuse and petty thievery. Some of it may even be true, and deprivation in one of its numerous sanctioned forms surely plays a part, although I insist on thinking it goes deeper.
I believe they’re the dispossessed protesting against the current reign of the fashionistas, or as I’ve termed them previously, the “beautiful” people.
… To me the term “beautiful people” is decidedly pejorative.
It’s inevitably the people who fancy themselves as beautiful, not necessarily in some accepted sense of outwardly physical beauty, but those possessing the right ideas, the right look, the right connections and the right way of viewing their privileged place in the world.
Obviously I reserve the right to heatedly differ with “right” in these contexts, extolling a alternative definition in the process.
As an awkward and ungainly ugly duckling of a book reader, I’ve learned the hard way that trying to fit in with the beautiful people is a fool’s errand. Whenever I’ve tried it, the story has ended badly.
I’m not sure whether these experiences made me into a defiant jaded contrarian or the other way around, but there we are. I’ve become fairly contemptuous of the self-centered milieu of the beautiful people, who know far less about the world than they profess, and who tend to dismiss the “little people” — and this may be one reason why Donald Trump is president, among other things.
There are beautiful people and homeless people, and almost axiomatically, never the twain shall meet. In fact the beautiful people tend to view the homeless people as blotches to be removed, lest property values plunge and visitors come to believe we weren’t taught about deodorant.
To close this post, give it up for this blog’s co-editor, who has a knack for finding the center of the target.
We were out of town when Mayor Gahan lied to and then destroyed a community of homeless people here in New Albany. His personal actions and the usual lack of substantive response from other Democratic officials are deplorable but not at all surprising given their consistent track records of subsidizing the wealthy while seeking to limit or penalize nearly everyone else.
What’s mostly gone unremarked, though, owing to them being wholly unremarkable in this country, are the other lessons again made clear:
1. It’s not just possible but highly probable for working people to be unable to afford a decent place to live.
2. Medical situations to which we are all susceptible make and help keep people homeless every day.
I’m sure, via occasional donations, thoughts and prayers, etc., some of you think you’re offering support for the homeless. The fact is, though, there isn’t a single good and justifiable reason why the factors above need to be true. When we continue to respect and re-elect a leadership class that doesn’t support a living wage and universal health care, we are choosing to make people’s lives look and function like the photos and videos we’ve all seen too much of lately. We are choosing, in the wealthiest empire to ever exist, to set the humanitarian baseline so low that “unsafe, unsanitary” housing camps are accepted as a “natural” consequence of our systemic beliefs and actions.
Year after year, a bulk of the American voting public, regardless of party and desperately clung-to delusional self-images, actively chooses and reinforces numerous forms of poverty and violence. It’s what we electorally say we want and it’s precisely what we get.