The sane agree: homelessness is equally sad and disgusting and the factors responsible vary (mental illness, substance abuse, natural disaster, divorce, loss of job/income, prison etc).
Reasonable commuters are made understandably irritable towards the textbook homeless when they occupy subway cars with their rotting flesh during rush hour. In this instance, these unfortunate humans are seen as nothing more than a blight that needs to be sterilized.
But as with all tangible issues, homelessness must be discussed to better solve the problem, as tolerating it means ignoring it, and ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.
California’s Bay Area has seen a pathetic decline due to homelessness. As a student in Berkley for the past two years, my brother describes the homeless problem as, “…horrendous. At first I thought the policy permitting vagrancy was progressive (protecting protests), but now I just think it’s total negligence of a population that need mental and health care.”
California’s Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) has intended to “transform the mental health system with the intention of expanding services” by “levying a 1% tax on personal income above $1 million.” Yet there has not been much improvement.
In a controversial open letter to San Francisco’s mayor and police chief, entrepreneur Justin Keller voiced his, “concern and outrage over the increasing homeless and drug problem that the city is faced with. I’ve been living in SF for over three years, and without a doubt it is the worst it has ever been. Every day, on my way to, and from work, I see people sprawled across the sidewalk, tent cities, human feces, and the faces of addiction. The city is becoming a shanty town … Worst of all, it is unsafe.”
One’s personal safety: a sound concern.
For some, Keller controversially states, “I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day. I want my parents when they come visit to have a great experience, and enjoy this special place.”
When the homeless are constantly moaning and suffering in plain sight a person with compassion and all five senses reaches a breaking point and takes any stab at action. What sane person wants to see the suffering of others?
Eliminating homelessness means locating shelter for the homeless, which, therefore, benefits them. Keller’s disgust motivated his selfish desire to find a solution to remove the homeless from his view, and by going public with his complaint, he put the onus onto the city of San Francisco. After all, curbing homelessness is their responsibility.
Yet The Guardian is setting a standard for mainstreaming regressive think pieces on basic issues like health and safety.
Julia Carrie Wong is not a fair reporter; she is an ideologue with a platform. Her response to Keller’s letter is juvenile recrimination. She would rather deflect discussion of the issue because she disapproves of his use of the term ‘riff raff’ as being hurtful to the feelings of this compromised group she is morally defending.
Calling it a “cultural altercation” (who edits this stuff? being homeless is an economic condition, not a culture) she believes “the next stage of the tech bro homeless rant cycle” is for Keller to apologize and then delete his post. (Sane people speak up and are bullied into apologizing so often Wong calls it a cycle.)
To do right by Wong, Keller must silence his observation, and then apologize for making it.
As a taxpaying voter and a reasonable citizen Keller does not offer a “magic solution”. Instead, he says “Money and political pressure can make change. So it is time to start making progress, or we as citizens will make a change in leadership and elect new officials who can.”
But because Keller used the term ‘riff raff’ to describe human garbage, his moderate position cannot be discussed practically by Wong’s ideological standards until his word choice is revised.
Keller even attributes spikes in homelessness to gentrification, one of the results of San Francisco’s booming tech industry. This is an easy liberal argument to make in favor of regulating rent. But Wong cannot even use the ammo that Keller has provided for her argument because of the offensive word ‘riff raff.’
Because Wong doesn’t use her platform to engage in discussion of the homeless issue, her column is meaningless. The comments section of her piece serve as an echo chamber for her bias; they demonize Keller for expressing concern for the safety of his family.
Judging by the content of her article, Wong is deluded by her ideology, to the point where she cannot have a discussion. This bias will lead to alienation, and ironically, undiagnosed mental illness. Hopefully, funding will be restored for this influx of millenial instability.
Wong is articulate, and therefore, doomed. Mental instability does not discriminate based on intelligence. Her moral high ground, to defend those less fortunate, has some good in its core, but her ego, coupled with her willingness to burn dissenting worldviews, is self destructive. In time she will find herself alienated from the the moderate majority, tortured by her paranoid delusions.
Wong is not alone. Leftist ideologues demonstrate disturbing behavior that needs to be addressed as the mental illness it is.
Journalist Milo Yiannopoulos’s Dangerous Faggot Tour has been constantly interrupted by mentally ill feminist protesters. Like homelessness, the factors responsible for the protester’s delusions vary by individual, but they manifest in destructive ways. This behavior should be punished to discourage future students from engaging in these disruptive protest of ideas. Instead, these “protesters” are catered to, and not held accountable, or treated for their actions.
Avoiding cognitive dissonance in this dramatic form of institutionalized terror is a slippery slope. Everyone in the United States still has a right to free speech.
A religious zealot preaching his religion on the street with microphone in hand is obnoxious but legal. A college educated, feminist fanatic screaming and wiping blood on their face during a public speech is frightening (and useless) but legal. The difference is in their methods. The feminist protest is meant to be frightening, as this modern feminist movement has succumbed to terror tactics to prove their ideology’s message, which appears as insanity to onlookers.
As varied as the individuals are the outcomes for ignoring any sign of mental illness. Lawmakers want teachers trained to spot mental illness in students. To do this properly, teachers must identify, discipline and counsel dangerous behavior on college campuses as well as in high schools. Evading a school shooting should not be the only goal either, as awful as they are, they are a rare occurrence. More emphasis must be placed on any disruptive, ideologically driven behavior.
But insanity will not be addressed properly as long as youthful, radical ideology is it’s disguise/excuse.