Monday, February 27, 2017

Out Of The Hood





And, still some took me in from the streets and fed me and gave me a place to rest, when my own just left me there sitting, not only for days, but for years. I don't want to give you the "victim of circumstance" routine, but there are people who are victims.

I do consider I am largely a product of my decisions, but just as one man cannot lift himself up without the aid of others, neither does one man usually fall down all on his own, unless he's drunk and can't walk.

I probably should not post this, but I'm going to anyway, because I've spent the better part of ten years in poverty. And, though I am not totally sympathetic to all of the impoverished, even having lived it, I am also not a fool especially when it comes to the black experience. It has been said, it's good to have a social safety net, but people are stuck in it. And, I would say, everybody can't be a rock star.

I call it McMansion Capitalism, to distinguish it from a better form where greed is not a great capitalist trait, like bullsh*t seems to be as well. Then, I think to myself it's always been this way. So, I lose my zeal for change, leaving me at this point I just re-read after five years, but I don't know where it comes from.  Only since I've clicked through a link the reminder post has vanished.

It was an entire paragraph on how kings have lamented through time over their rise to power only to find themselves wanting neither poverty nor riches, but to live somewhere in the middle. I don't know what book it came from, but I never read it. It was just the opening statement that caught my attention because it encapsulates my feelings, never having been a king, or truly impoverished; I mean truly impoverished.

Knowing full well that trickle down economics is a myth, we have all agreed on the right and the left to the welfare state, because if true trickle down were to live on it's own without those who pick up the slack in churches and through welfare benefits, our poor would look a lot more like those in starving Ethiopia than they do here.

The real issue involved with black on black crimes, as this piece alludes to, are drugs, which provoke the killings in many cases. Or, has always been the case, killing over a woman, or jealously. I know I'm being one sided in talking about males, but I think the statistics support what I'm saying. The same is true in the modern white community. Crack, and Meth and Ice are turning people of all colors into monsters.

I would never advocate getting rid of beer.  I love beer, but alcoholism is bad enough.  It's particularly bad because it doesn't even make you want to do anything. At least a crack head might want to work, but after they become so hooked that becomes and impossibility. So, the real problem is in substance abuse, and the money that is made from it because there doesn't seem to be any upward mobility. Especially for black folk, that has always been the case.

These days, where I'm from, it seems like the best you can do is $9 per hour for anybody, whatever color. That's a bit of an exaggeration because some make better money than that, but by and large you're lucky if you even get $9 per hour. Basically, prices have far outpaced wages, but that was true before I was born. I remember having a conversation with my grandmother about this very issue when she was telling me what the price of a home was when she was young, and how much money she made.

Prices have far outpaced wages, and that's when the bubble bursts and somebody like Donald Trump is elected by telling everyone he's going to give back what his greed has already taken away, all while blaming it on somebody else, like Mexicans, or brown people in general. Unfortunately, this is also when things can turn to violence and before weaponry had far outpaced the weaponry of the common man, we would have already had a revolution by now. Instead, we get riots and violence in the streets because a violent revolution is not even a a viable option.  Any fool can see that.  We require a revolution of the minds.

So, since we cannot promise everybody they'll grow out of the hood, or out of poverty, then the best we can do is to attack these drugs that are truly turning people into monsters. It's not about raising the minimum wage. It's about healing people, and this is a battle for the soul. Is religion the answer? We have enough religion to make a dyslexic believer in dog sick. But, for those who are affected by this the most, the people who live in the "hoods" we've gotta stop the drugs, which means not make everybody think they need a mansion, and not to Make America Great Again, but to Make America Grateful Again.

We have spent years trying to motivate people by making them feel like losers, one of Trump's favorite words. Our society in general takes pleasure in the misfortune of others. Talk about systemics! But, this truly starts with an attitude of gratitude for what we have here in America. Not only is the leadership ungrateful, but so are the people and we all live like kings.

I'm not saying there aren't problems, but everybody can't be rock star. This mentality is what needs to end. Sure, it's good to dream but how about some realistic goals. Even at $9 per hour, you can afford to get a place of your own. You might not have any money for drugs, but you can pay rent. You might not be able to afford a car, but you can afford bus fare, or a bike. Heck, I'm doing it and I used to make nearly a hundred thousand a year, and that wasn't enough either. It never is unless you have some sense of gratitude that governs your life, and even your desires. We don't need any more religion, but I thank my God I was born in America, even though I've been living on the streets.  I'm not on the streets anymore, and I'm very grateful for that, especially when one particular person had enough faith in me to give me a lift.

I also know it's hard to find work, especially if you feel shunned, but this is when a village has to come together. Turn off the tv, and do what you can to make the world a better place. I'm not saying you should go hug your neighborhood crack dealer today, but that's the first thing we need to be worried with. Whatever it takes to get rid of these kinds of substances it needs to be done. People literally die before your very eyes as you witness their teeth fall out of their mouths and their skin turn to blisters, and sores. And, they're willing to beg, borrow and steal for it, not to mention kill, and it doesn't matter what color they are.

This might stimulate debate, but our issues in this country largely stem from psychological mismanagement of the masses. See, it covers both sides of the coin.

The homeless in Athens, represent less than half of half of one percent of the population. Chew on that for a minute, and yes, I don't think anybody should be homeless, but frontiersmen lived outside for years. Some people simply choose to do it. It has been an uphill battle for me. I grew up largely in the country, but it was at the country club. I am not frontiersman, and I have no desire to live in a tent. That's why I never pitched one, and probably why I got locked up as much as I did because I was an urban dweller. What I also never did is give up, and you will never see me sitting on that bridge across the street from the shelter in the morning, or the afternoon, or at night. That's a matter of personal dignity.
 

I might not ever have a mansion, but I don't care! I just don't ever want to be poor and in America that's a state of mind, which means being born somewhere else than here because I don't see it the same way as others. We can agree on the lack of upward mobility, but as long as there are kings, or wealthy people we will have classes, and I just don't see money going away.

It's not so bad here, and I am grateful to have survived street life, and to have lived it in Athens instead of Chicago, or New York. I know there's a difference, but I've spoken with people from those areas and they have soup kitchens too. It's just they have a lot more street people. I just still believe that so much of it has to do with attitude, and we have created an attitude of greed at the bottom and the top. How do you fix that? Sure would be nice to have a magic wand with that question, but this truly is a matter of the heart and soul.

Certainly, it starts in the schools, and I DO NOT support religion in schools, but the same character building that religion offers can be offered in such a way as to have a positive effect. You just have to frame it in such a way to make people see they gotta stay on their lily pads. And, right now we've got them hopping all over the place.  One more thing... Boot Camp for every eighteen year old might be the greatest mandate ever.  Since we're into mandating some things people have to buy, let's mandate some discipline and breed some manners.

Mahalo

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