We are one people in this country and sometimes we seem to forget that. We may not like our neighbors for whatever reason, but if a tornado were to tear through your street and destroy all the homes you would have an immediate kinship with those people.
Your immediate situation would eliminate all those things that you didn't like about them, and you would depend on them as they would depend on you. I was once in a hailstorm with golf ball to tennis ball-sized hail. When the storm hit, all of the neighbors who we never spoke with and who never spoke to us were busy leading their own lives. As the skies darkened and the tornado siren began to wail we all hunkered down in our individual houses.
I could hear a roaring sound coming as the trees bent and swayed violently. I've been in tornado before and felt certain that I was about to be in another one. I put my wife and child in the bathtub as I went back to look out the door. I saw first one and then two more hailstones hit the lawn and then an explosion of hailstones was upon us. The roaring sound that I had heard was the sound of thousands of hailstones hitting the ground and everything in their path.
The couple across the street had been building a garage and was one week away from installing the shingles. My first ever new car, which I'd owned for less than three months, had taken on the appearance of a silver golf ball. As the weeks passed and our cars and roofs were repaired and garages completed and gardens replanted, we returned to our normal existence. Yet now we spoke often and it was never the same as it was before the storm.
We are in an economic emergency in this country. For thirty odd years the incomes and fortunes of working people have been in a steep and steady decline. At the same time the incomes for the top ten percent of Americans has been rising to ridiculous heights. Not since the gilded age has the disparity between rich and poor been so great. The media, true to its masters, apologizes away the disparities.
No, of course not. He earns more in two years than the entire hourly staff of Walmart, but he's a regular guy. He earned $124 million but he's not gauche about it. What a nice guy.
NPR, recently published this story: Homeless but Enjoying Hawaii on $3 A Day
"At the Sumner Homeless Men's Shelter in downtown Honolulu -- less than a mile from Honolulu Harbor, where luxury cruise ships are docked -- shelter operations assistant Alfred Ho'opi'i tells guests to line up for their lunch. 'The majority of people that I can see here are from the mainland,' he says. 'You have your locals, but not too many.'
"The meal is chopped beef steak with vegetables, mashed potatoes, bread, a fresh apple and cake. Ho'opi'i and his volunteers serve from 750 to 900 meals a day at the three shelters operated by the nonprofit Institute for Human Services.
"The shelters' resident population has increased 10 percent in the past year, and one-third of all the guests -- 1,300 annually -- come from out of state."
Well, let's start with the numbers that don't jibe. A majority of the people cannot be one-third. But let's not let facts stand in the way of a good narrative.
"Gary Phillips purchased a $400 airline ticket to Hawaii three months ago. He was homeless in San Diego for years, but is now earning cash from Hawaii's 5-cent redemption program for plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
"'I recycle here,' he says. 'I make money doing that.' Some days, over $40, he says.
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