I don't know if I'm out of the woods, but I'm at least at the edge of the forest. I now have my own apartment again, drawing unemployment, and in treatment which should get me working again (I lost a four-year, career-level position in mid-July).
Being "on the street" for the first time since the 70s, when my addiction and mental illness nearly killed me, was an epiphany of the highest order. Never have I experienced such brotherhood, collective support, caring, and sacrifice. I never went without a cigarette or a cup of coffee. Never did I want for an arm around my shoulder or an encouraging word. Never was I without the opportunity to help another struggling human being. Never have I received nor experienced such compassion.
This article brought tears to my eyes and fear to my belly: "America's Collective Delusion Must Endure" by Jason Miller at OpEd News. Excerpts:
Accomplishing a logic-defying feat, the wealthiest nation in the world has "attained" the highest rate of homelessness amongst developed countries. 3.5 million human beings experience homelessness each year in the United States. Almost a million are homeless every night (1).
In the most heavily militarized nation in the history of the human race, 30% of its homeless men are military veterans (2). What happened to "support the troops"? Obviously once military personnel return home, the slogan changes to "good riddance to bad rubbish".
Ready for some "shock and awe" on the home front? According to the National Mental Health Association, "on any given night, 1.2 million children are homeless" in the United States.
And what is one to make of a self-proclaimed Christian nation (overflowing with material resources) that allows such travesties of economic justice to persist?
How can a Christian nation ignore the compassionate teachings of Jesus?
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'"
Yes, it is morally and ethically abhorrent that there are indigent, starving, and homeless human beings in a society of people awash in a sea of wealth.
Yet it gets even uglier...
According to Sixty Minutes, the latest extreme means for teens to alleviate adolescent ennui involves savagely beating the most vulnerable human beings in the United States.
This so-called "bum hunting" has resulted in the murder of at least one homeless person per month for the past 60 consecutive months. Accurate statistics are elusive at best (since few people notice when a homeless person "disappears"). However, the National Coalition for the Homeless determined that 500 of its lost souls have been victims of "bum hunting" since 1999. 180 of them met violent deaths as a result of this appalling blood sport in which the hunters stalk human prey (3).
What could inspire children to commit such depraved, barbarous acts?
Sixty Minutes suggested that a wildly popular DVD series called Bum Fights was the principal catalyst for "bum hunting". Apparently, the producers of Bum Fights paid homeless individuals a pittance (and bribed them with alcohol) to brawl and attempt ridiculous stunts similar to those shown in the Jackass series. Bum Fight movies also involve a character dubbed the "Bum Hunter". In producing Bum Fights, the "Bum Hunter" attacked randomly selected sleeping homeless people, forcibly restrained them, and sealed their mouths with duct tape . . .
A spiritually healthy human being acknowledges their shadow side and integrates it into their being, hence minimizing the shadow's destructive tendencies.
However, when repressed and denied, the shadow side of the human psyche often manifests itself in a variety of violent and malevolent ways. And throughout its history, social, economic, and political forces in the United States have served to nurture the growth of the collective national shadow into a loathsome monstrosity.
What feeds the beast?
Moral superiority has been a critical piece of the argument the United States has used to justify the genocide of the Native Americans, the enslavement of Black Americans, the support of numerous murderous dictators supporting US interests in developing nations, unwavering support for the Palestinian genocide, and the slaughter of millions of civilians in imperial wars waged under the pretext of fighting for freedom and human rights. People in the United States are psychologically conditioned to believe that their nation is the salvation of humanity and to ignore or destroy evidence to the contrary.
Nearly endless streams of propaganda extolling the virtues of the United States enable large numbers of US Americans to support a ruthless empire because they believe it to be a benevolent superpower. Aside from people suffering a serious deficit of conscience, those living in a nearly perpetual state of denial are virtually the only ones capable of pledging their loyalty to a nation with a predacious foreign policy and a morally bankrupt economic system.
How else would one explain the corporate media and the Empire's loyal adherents celebrating Congress' passage of the Military Commissions Act as a "victory"? Even after viewing numerous explicit photos of the blatant torture committed by the United States military at Abu Ghraib, a frightening number of US citizens remain unperturbed by the fact that a man who would be fortunate to flirt with a score of 100 on an IQ test now has the power to define and authorize torture, to imprison virtually anyone as a "terrorist", and to negate Habeas Corpus . . .
Saturated with spiritual perversions...
Employing a bizarre reverse aversion therapy-let's call it saturation therapy-corporate news outlets, the government, Madison Avenue, revisionist historians, television, and Hollywood work in concert to proliferate the spiritual cancers of narcissism, avarice, hubris, materialism, self-absorption, pornography, gluttony, pathological nationalism, obsession with external beauty, and xenophobia.
It is not a leap of logic to conclude that perceived superiority over the rest of humanity, deeply rooted denial, an inculcated devotion to rapacious capitalism, and the spiritual ills resulting from "saturation therapy" combine to form a strong impetus for sociopathic behavior.
Bludgeoning a defenseless human being to death is one such behavior that immediately leaps to mind...
The United States has the financial resources to end homelessness tomorrow through the intelligent use of public money. Instead its decision-makers elect to line the pockets of corporate cronies and war profiteers by pouring $600 billion per year into entities and programs which exist to kill human beings.
By deliberately lavishing obscene sums of public money on the murderous military industrial complex while seriously neglecting programs to attack the root causes of poverty, the ruling elite of the United States are waging an agonizing form of economic genocide against homeless people.
Preserving the delusion
In a society that worships money, material success, youth, and beauty, homeless human beings are anathema on several levels. Ultimately, to preserve the delusion of the American Dream, those caught in the American Nightmare must be eliminated in some fashion . . .
Maybe all of us soon will be "broken rabble". Maybe spiritually we will be better off.
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