1) last week I
introduced you to Richard LeMieux, who wrote a book telling of his descent into
homelessness and the intriguing cast of characters he met in Bremerton,
week I continue with some observations I had after reading his book.
In previous years, some of the unfortunate, but worthy people
the reader meets in Breakfast at
Sally’s, might have been taken care of by generous individuals and groups. You
could say that Mr. LeMieux introduces us to the homeless “cream of the crop.” Many
of the people he describes are not acute addicts, severely mentally ill or
wanted by the police. Some are teenagers with wretched home lives who deserve
to find shelter in a safe environment. Others are individuals who would repay
an offer of room and board with hard work and integrity.
In my mind, they are among the victims of both an
expanding government and changes in social standards. One unintended
consequence of government yardsticks determining poverty and the insidious
nature of entitlements is that of dehumanizing those in need. Instead of being
our neighbors, they are statistics. No distinction is made between those who
are dangers to themselves and others, and those who simply need a loving,
helping hand. A bloated system imposes often-misguided regulations and the fear
of lawsuits. Instead of recognizing that people have both spiritual and
material needs – and that the former is more important than the latter –
government can only treat human beings as sophisticated animals who require a
zookeeper’s care. Government programs often unwittingly exact a great cost,
sometimes greater than the benefits they provide.
Society will always have a broad range of those who,
temporarily or permanently, “can’t make it.” Communities used to feel
responsibility for those among them to whom life dealt an unfortunate hand. However,
many of the “advances” of the past few decades have led to the diminishing of family
and neighborhood cohesiveness. So many people accept complicated environmental
theories that claim that a butterfly flapping its wings in China affects
weather patterns thousands of miles and many years away, but insist that
changing long-held moral guidelines brings no lasting consequences. I disagree.
Increased spending for social causes without repairing the social fabric will
be a losing battle.
Indeed, even though Mr. LeMieux has a horrendous
experience with one pastor and church, his needs and those of his companions
are overwhelmingly filled by churches and faith-driven organizations, such as
the Salvation Army. How can one not be depressed by knowing that the current
administration in Washington seems intent on repressing and harming these
faith-based groups? The Democrat Party’s focus seems to be on forcing traditional
Christians (and Jews) to renounce their beliefs as they relate to abortion and
homosexuality. Growing the economy and helping the poor (in contrast to using
them for political gain) seem unimportant in comparison to completely revamping
American culture and rejecting long-upheld values.
If accepting homosexuality and abortion becomes a litmus
test of being a “good American,” as it already has for being a “good Democrat,”
then faith-based organizations will find their abilities to function curtailed.
In the name of ‘caring’ ‘and ‘compassion,’ organizations that uphold traditional
values will need to be punished, never mind if the recipients of their charity
suffer. I have no doubt that if this plan succeeds the very organizations that
gave Mr. LeMieux and his friends succor will be less effective and strong in
the years ahead. I am sure that many good people will see my thinking as
illogical and over-the-top, but I think that a review of world history makes
Having finished this book, despite the fact that the
author’s life improves, I certainly did not find the joyous resolution that emerges
at the end of (the fictional books) Pride
and Prejudice or Anne of Green Gables.
If you have any optimistic thoughts or if you think my pessimism is overblown,
please do share your ideas in the comment section.
7 thoughts on “Homeless Hopelessness (Part 2)”
I just finished reading BREAKFAST AT SALLY’S after reading your first comments about the book. Thank you, it is probably a book I would never have chosen on my own either. I found it inspiring, and sad, and convicting. How sad that these helpful organizations are being ruled by the “politically correct” people who have been allowed to take possession of the higher offices of this country.
I find your comments totally in agreement with my thoughts as well. The “Age of Entitlement”, as I call it, is producing a nation with no thought of others. Instead of looking out for the little guy, it’s stepping on the little guy to get what one wants. I’m concerned that Christians and Jews alike are not defending their faith, because we’re labeled as haters of those who are not of the Judeo/Christian philosophy. We need to band together in strength to stand up for what we believe. We can’t tolerate any more the erosion of Judeo/Christian values.
Hi Susan, I am seeing more and more that words are a powerful tool in persuasion. If you repeat things often enough, they are believed to be true. The boy scouts “refusal” to allow homosexual (“Gay” as they like to refer…) troop leader is considered a bad thing, even though homosexuality is not the values that the boy scouts desire. I have also noticed that every few months a former famous actor admits his homosexuality and the world is expected to applaud, even though this actor hasn’t appeared in movies in over 25 years. But once upon a time he was famous and therefore this behaviour is considered good. We need to encourage good and proper marriages, healthy family relationship.
Finally! Someone who will stand up and tell the plain and powerful truth. Pessimism? No. Reality? Yes. Truthfully no one wants to acknowledge the unpleasantness of our circumstances because many in our society would like to have their consciences massaged with “Happy Ever After Endings” living in the land of delusion never facing reality. I believe we fail to realize that our actions, intended or not have consequences and carry collateral damage. There is no way you can break the laws of God and think oneself to be exempt from repercussion.
I am amazed, although I should not be, at how insensitive, self-centered, and arrogant people can be toward their fellow neighbor, but as soon as the shoe is on the other foot so to speak, the universe must stand still. Ugh!
I believe we do have an obligation to help our neighbors to a degree but I part ways when the government dictates how my hard earned money should be spent like giving it to people who did not earn it, hence unearned income or Keynesian economics as if leveraging debt or raising the debt ceiling is the answer. We should seek to empower, not indulge. Enabling dysfunctional behavior is debilitating and as long as we look to the government as God, our land will never be healed. As the scripture says in Daniel, only the people who know their God is strong and shall do exploits.
Words fail me to articulate my sadness in playing the weekly Jeremiah-prophet-of-doom in your column. Yet alas, Mrs. Lapin, your pessimism is entirely justified. The New Left pits the poor against the rich, the women against the men, the non-white against the white, the gay against the straight, while dangling the carrots of equality and kindness. But the carrot is made of sour wax. Look at what they give us.
By their fruits shall ye know them. They offer us labyrinthine mazes of governmental regulation that prescribe and proscribe what the individual can accomplish, that define what any organization can and must undertake. In my childhood I keenly remember the disconsolate lament of whiners, “There oughta be a LAW against it!” Well, today there IS or soon will be a law against just about everything. The regulators display a profoundly benighted view of human nature. They obviously don’t hold us up to much. The Government must dictate to us what we must eat, what we must purchase, how much we must contribute, with whom we must socialize, whom we must and must not worship, when we must seek healing and under what terms, and when we must resign, lie down and die.
Like you, however, I still hold out hope. My physician, discussing the triumph of socialized medicine, was recently inspiring. With a smile he assured me: “This is America. Sooner or later the American people will stand up and shout ‘We ain’t gonna take it any more!’” I hear they want to take away our guns. Strike one!
I do not find your pessimism overblown, but I would like to share an optimistic thought for encouragement’s sake. I am finding great hope in the results thus far of a relatively young movement of families who have once again decided to take on the primary responsibility of educating their children. Homeschoolers are not relying on “help” from the government but are a remnant which I believe will change America and the world.
Just this week the Boy Scouts of America are voting whether to allow homosexuals into the organization. The assault on our values continues on and on. It is wearing but we must give up the fight. God will bless and protect his remnant!
Comments are closed.