Sept 26, 2019
After reading the news, I find Trump’s recent comments regarding America’s homeless particularly appalling, scary and dangerous. According to Trump the homeless are “living on our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes.” “How the hell can we get these people off the streets?” he was also reported to have asked by a senior administration official. (Wash. Post)
Trump’s involvement in the homeless crises on any level can only bring more dysfunction and heartbreak to this already most marginalized and helpless and practically invisible segment of our society. The last thing these sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers from our families need now under what are ever-worsening conditions is for Trump, a known sower of lies and hate to stir up trouble with his rhetoric or even more dangerously his ideas of solutions.
The majority of our homeless population are people who are dealing with multiple problems and challenges which are magnified by an uncaring and dysfunctional government that has been hindered from any meaningful response by budget cuts and conflicting political agendas.
Poverty is, of course, the glaring problem that creates homelessness but this is accentuated in many cases by drug and alcohol addictions, untreated mental health complications, the disintegration of families and a society more concerned with personal gain than the overall health of the community.
Trump, far from being anyone capable of bringing help to this crises has done instead, about everything possible to exacerbate the problem with his glorification of the self-centered life to his divisive and abusive rhetoric to his tax cuts for the hyper-wealthy, his dismantling of what was passing as a health care solution, his cuts to mental health programs, his attacks on education, cuts to HUD and cuts to food assistance programs. His trade wars are creating a rise in the cost of living and economic insecurity in our rural areas while minimum wages remain stagnant and workers’ rights diminish with the break-up of the power of unions.
As for the solution that the Trump administration has floated, the idea of creating camps on unused Federal Aviation Administration sites is absolutely terrifying. We have all seen with horror mounting the kind of care and compassion that Trump delivers at his camps. Those border camps where cruelty is the point are every example we might need of the kind of treatment our homeless friends and families can expect should they be doubly unfortunate enough to experience them. It’s clear from present examples that any camp built or maintained by this administration would be sure to emphasize containment and punishment over anything in the way or nature of humane rehabilitation efforts or programs designed to educate or train those involved.
The sad truth is that Americas homeless are a particularly vulnerable group and an easy target for the Trump administrations love of destructive and cruel policies. The homeless are homeless for many social and economic reasons but it must be acknowledged by us all that the finale point of homelessness came when all else, all personal ties and bonds to the family and the greater society failed, homelessness is not just an economic problem. Homeless people have tapped out of all but the most fundamental resources and their very survival is at the mercy of a handful of charitable organizations, individuals and the few crumbs that come to them from the government.
To say that the homeless would be missed should they disappear from our streets and cities is quite a stretch when they are for the most part already invisible except for when they appear long enough to disturb our sensibilities as they beg for change or sleep in the streets and doorways of our cities and towns.
If we have not cared about or for the homeless up to this point, it’s time we started, if not out of compassion for them then at least for the sake of our own health and security.
Fascism is a creeping monster, a parasite, it grows like a disease, starting as an irritation it begins to devour and kill everything in its way. Rounding up homeless people to place in government camps is pure fascism.
It’s bad enough that we are allowing the migrant camps to continue with the documented abuse we know is being suffered by those interred in them. The migrant camps have some popular support however because of people’s ideas of border security, though with proper education they would find that there is much more to the migrant issue than many Americans are currently able to understand.
Rounding up homeless people is slightly different.
With the migrants seeking asylum, there was a precedent for incarceration with laws that though debatable do exist. With the homeless, there are no laws directly targeting them, when picked-up it’s generally for something like public intoxication or trespassing. Trump though, with his republican enablers, have been known to pass, re-interpret or ignore laws in whatever way or direction that advances their program.
If we have not before, it’s with strong advice, that I say that we begin to pay attention to this latest outrage and become involved with and tied into the fate of our homeless population. With the corruption and abuse of law that we have already seen from this administration, with the stripping of constitutional rights and protections under the Bush and Obama administrations, with the accelerating injustice and division we are seeing in our economics, it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine finding someone close to you or even maybe finding yourself falling through the gaps in our currently very unforgiving system.
Without the safety nets we once might have depended on and with the draw of the private-prison industry supported by a fascist-leaning government, it’s not that hard to imagine a, shall we say, worst case scenario if Trump and his administration continue to assert themselves with their horrific solutions into the problem of homelessness in the United States.