I just read a very interesting comment thread and article on the homeless (and hobos, but I consider both people).
In this article (and the comments) you will find an example of several things:
1. How classist we are as a society in this country. Immediately (in fact the very first comment), the comments devolved into a “they are leeching off of society” theme. Then, the “us versus them” broke out … that is, the homeless versus the non-homeless.
Fuck people, these are human beings we are talking about here! What if you were in the same situation that put these people into a homeless situation?
It’s easy for you to say “Oh, I wouldn’t use state programs or facilities, or others stuff, because I wouldn’t leech … blah, blah blah…” right now, because it hasn’t happened to you yet.
That’s complete bullshit, you would do whatever you needed to survive on the streets, and then you wouldn’t call it leeching. These people are human for crying out loud. Have some compassion.
2. How judgmental we are. Just because people aren’t living like you do, doesn’t mean their way is “wrong.” It’s simply different. Not every person subscribes to the “societal code of living.” And that’s okay, after all, we’re human, not cogs in the societal machine.
3. We have a limited view of the world. Everyone falls into this category, no one can see everything. An example from the comments are the folks wondering how the homeless pay for a cell phone. The answer is, there are a LOT more ways to make money than simply going to a job you hate.
When I had a job, I asked someone who made their money in these different ways “How can you stand NOT knowing how much you will make each week / month / or year?”
He replied … “How can YOU stand knowing how much you make? Isn’t that restrictive?”
Alternative viewpoint indeed, and the conversation that led me down the path of different ways of making money.
If a person chooses to stay homeless, here’s a novel thought…
They probably aren’t choosing to stay homeless. And even if they genuinely are choosing to stay homeless, or are what society calls “professional bums” … so what?
Let them move about the cabin in the way they want to, and you choose the way you want to.
And for those people who choose to live in this manner, sometimes called vagabonds, it’s their choice. Let them, it’s a different way of living that you don’t understand or are not used to. If you do understand it, but chose not to live this way … that’s your choice.
This country, hell, this world can be a pretty fucked up place, so different people navigate it in different ways.
That’s just how it is.
Instead of looking at this situation with blinders on, open your mind, relax a little.
Instead of thinking about this alternative way of living as “leeching,” or thinking about these people as somehow lower than you on some imaginary societal “ladder,” perhaps you could view it in the frame of a much bigger picture…
We’re all human, and without structure or “society” this planet would simply be all of us, roaming around (or living) freely … all of us would be homeless.
Perhaps then we could all see ourselves differently.