By Alan J. Yeck

It’s been a bit tough trying to write this week. So much information coming at us and so many emotions in the mix that it’s been hard to bring my thoughts to clarity. Then I saw a picture today and in it I found a few moments of focus. It was a picture of a short hose coming from a fire hydrant, attached to a larger PVC pipe with a dozen drinking taps on it. It’s a fresh water station on the streets of San Francisco for the homeless. There is not a better example of the biggest problem we face today in the United Sates but if you think I’m saying ‘homelessness’ is our biggest problem, you’re wrong. Our biggest problem, and it didn’t start with this administration but I promise you it will continue with the next, is how we address all of our problems- we treat the symptoms and not the causes. The problem isn’t providing drinking water to the homeless, it’s the homeless! Instead of addressing the causes of homelessness, e.g., mental health, affordable housing, life sustaining wages, education, etc., we hook up a hose to a device that is supposed to be used to put out structural fires and call it a day. The world leader in innovation does it again. The COVID-19 equivalent would be to never develop a vaccine and just treat the symptoms with Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu. “Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.” That should do it.

Meanwhile, on any given night in our country, more than 500,000 people go homeless every night, 40 million of us are living in poverty, 21 million are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, 10 million women and men are physically abused by their partners, with 700,000 children abused and neglected yearly  (the actual number is much higher because so many go unreported). And what is our mainstream solution? Our judicial system which ensures the extremely profitable prison system has a never-ending supply of customers.  We have 2.3 million people in 110 federal prisons, 1,833 state prisons, 3,134 local jails, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 218 immigration detention facilities (immigration is another problem where only the symptoms have been addressed), 80 Indian Country jails, state psychiatric hospitals, and military prisons. Prison is the largest treatment for mental health in the U.S. What I mean is that where so many Americans need mental health treatment (the root causes of incarceration, homelessness, drug abuse…) instead of making sure they can receive that, we treat the symptoms and sent them to prison where they are beaten, raped, abused and come out more likely to commit greater crimes than before they went in. Prison is like the ITT Tech of criminal instruction. It’s not good but we’re paying for it anyway. 

Those are just an example of some of the many troubles we need to deal with, head on. How do we address them, by finding the root causes or only treating symptoms? These are national issues that affect all of us therefore it is the responsibility of our government and elected officials to implement policies to make the positive changes. But they don’t do they? Why? 1) Follow the money. Always, follow the money. 2) Keep the people asleep. A person in California was asked, “why do you think there are so many homeless people here?” Her response was, “because we have nice weather.” That’s right, homelessness exists there because the weather is nice. OMFG! 1 and 2 working together are hard to beat, but not impossible. 

How do you feel the government systems we’ve been using are working for us? All of them, blue and red, are accountable for what the United States is today. All of them. Until we remove corporate and lobbying influences (the money) and expand the two-party system, the corruption will only continue. And the worst part? Me, you, and your sister too have allowed it. It is time for us to wake up from our social coma. Demand from those whom you vote for that they support this and if they don’t, then know they are why all of the above continues. They are why the capital was attacked, they are why democracy is dying, and they all make money from it. Vote for the person that agrees to make these changes in our system and restore democracy to the people. If they don’t, don’t vote for them.  Yes, it is just that simple. 

Be well and keep up the peaceful fight.