Thoughts on poverty and homelessness in the U.S.A.


I am the underdog, the worthless scum you spat upon yesterday.

I am the bum, the loser, the one you smell from a mile away.

I am the one you scoffed at, the one you threw a penny at while I was crying in the pouring rain.

I am an angel sent by Heaven to find out who YOU really are.  That’s right, I’m the stranger you invited into your house and gave solace to before you realized I was no ordinary human being.  (Genesis 18:3-10)

I am the one Christian Fundamentalists will one day regret.  For “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.  Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten… Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields…cries out against you…” (James 5:1-6)  Oh yeah, those fundamentalists are in big trouble, BIG trouble.

What is a bag lady?  A bum?  A worthless, unbathed, unlady-like moocher?

Or perhaps just another human, just like you and I.  Perhaps she breathes, eats, sleeps, gets sick, throws up and pees, just like you, I, Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, and all the rest of ’em.  Perhaps deep down inside that torn and tattered image lies a mind, a soul, a thoughtful, inquisitive, introspective consciousness that appears worthless under the worst of circumstances, but under the best of circumstances…

under the best of circumstances…

could be the next angel…

if only she’d had the chance, or rather the money.

For it takes money to go to college, to obtain an education, to take care of one’s mental and physical health, to afford healthy, nutritious food, to live in safe, clean surroundings, to study physics, acting, music, writing, or just about anything at all.  In the United States of America, it takes money–and a lot of it–to do just about anything.

And few Americans are stopping to ask the question:  When we degrade our human resources, what human potential have we lost?  Great doctors and healers?  Great politicians and leaders?   Great scientists and innovators? Or maybe the best music we’ll never hear in our entire lives?

The next time you see a homeless person, ask yourself, who was this person as a child?  And whom could she have become, if only…

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