So-called “Rocky Mountain Homelessness” is a sort of modern day response to the “Rocky Mountain High”–a song that, rightfully, depicts the beauty of Colorado. What is interesting to me is that the poor, particularly the homeless, often don’t see beauty, goodness or purity around them. They live in the dirtiest, meanest, most run-down areas. Often the great beauty that surrounds them remains unseen, unknown–a luxury available only to the rich. The beauty of nature, once free and available to all of us, is increasingly becoming available only to a wealthy few.
As one of my friends used to say, typically, poor people live in the worst neighborhoods, interact with the worst people, have the worst landlords, the worst jobs, the worst bosses. When you’re poor, often you’re exposed to the worst of everything. You see ugliness, ugliness in people, ugliness in the abandoned and broken-down buildings, ugliness in the broken-down people surrounding you. The old saying, “We were poor but happy” seems only to apply to those who are no longer poor, who are remembering a time in the past, a time they are rose-coloring and sugarcoating because, while money may not buy happiness, a certain amount of money is needed (in our capitalist, money-worshipping society) in order to be happy.
No supermarket clerk is going to give you your groceries for free because you are a nice person who just can’t find a job. No landlord will let you stay for free because he feels sorry for you. Even your friends will desert you and label you a “loser” when you have no money.
And it’s pretty hard to be “happy” when your stomach hurts, you’re starving, thirsty and shivering in the cold because you can’t pay your heating bill. In fact, people have a tendency to get very self-centered and cruel when deprived of their basic human needs. (That’s part of the reason why there’s so much crime in poor neighborhoods, friend.)
Money rocks America’s world. Rock on, America.
How much can you afford to breathe fresh air? To drink fresh, clean water? To hug a tree?