Friday, May 24, 2013
Sonny, I hope you will continue to do articles about homelessness. We need your perspective.
Sonny, thank you for your excellent series of articles on your experiences with homelessness. I believe that it would benefit most of us to see this pervasive problem though the eyes of an articulate person such as yourself who has experienced it firsthand.
I say "benefit most of us" because some, as illustrated by certain comments on your series, seem more inclined to pass simplistic judgment on you and on homeless people in general than they are to open their minds and hearts to your stories, struggles, and pain. I surmise that some coldly assign blame and sanctimoniously preach "personal responsibility" as subconscious defense mechanisms against the precariousness of their own life situations. I suppose it can be comforting when faced with the growing financial uncertainties and tribulations imposed by today's faltering economy to blame the homeless for their plight because it lends reassurance, however false and fleeting, that we can avoid homelessness ourselves come whatever may, when the fact of the matter is that many of us are just one proverbial paycheck away from homelessness or extreme hardship ourselves through no glaring fault of our own.
And even when people fall into homelessness because of "poor choices" and addictive behaviors, what some of their detractors fail to do is seriously ask themselves WHY people make these choices and succumb to these behaviors and then follow these inquiries to their root biological, psychological, and social explanations. Such inquiries are stopped dead in their tracks by reflexive platitudes about "personal responsibility," and empathy for those who struggle mightily to rise above their past mistakes is quashed by banal bromides such as, "You just gotta pull yourself up by your own bootstraps instead of expecting or even asking for decent help from others."
Again, thanks, Sonny, for your articles, and thanks, Tom Armstrong, for calling my attention to them through a recent post in your outstanding "Sacramento Homeless" blog. And, for what it's worth, Sonny, I don't think you have anything to apologize for in any of your responses to comments on your articles. I think you've done a remarkably good job of responding to narrow-minded provocations with civility, clarity, and intelligence. I doubt that many of us would have fared as well.
All the best to you with your job and your life.
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