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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/19/10

Homeless in the Land of Milk and Honey

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Land of Milk and Honey, Sally Burton

America was once called the Land of Milk and Honey.   It was so named for the prosperity and promise associated with the opportunity that was once available to anyone who, when willing to work, could acquire a piece of the America Dream.   Today, the story is much different.   Hard work seems to mean little in our current system where the elite control the money and the associated greed so intrinsic their self service, has robbed good, hard working Americans of their right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

After a lifetime of effort in the chase for their piece of the pie, some Americans are finding themselves out in the cold, having lost their jobs and their dreams in the aftermath of the Great Recession.   Some have fallen victim to not only Wall Street's suspect derivative trading and over speculation in a system that could not support such monetary betting, but to a banking system that manipulated loan rates when looked to and trusted by home buyers for professional guidance.  

Many of these unfortunate people are quickly finding themselves added to the homeless numbers of America.   Many are trying to survive the current economic depression by seeking federal assistance but have found, much to their dismay, that government programs, one of their only rays of hope during their time of tribulation, are being taken by the same group of people who assisted in their demise: Congress.

Those responsible for the economic plunge are trying to phase out social systems that provide those who are suffering a lifeline in the ocean of betrayal they are drowning in.   Even worse, it seems to not matter to those surviving the current economic disaster.   The "Haves" are scrambling to protect their own by supporting a political bureaucracy  that has abandoned the "Have Nots".   Like prisoners protecting their plate of food, these people are surrendering conscience for three squares and a warm cot of their own.  

In light of the actions taken or inaction in some cases, by our governmental representatives, those from rural and suburban areas have had no choice but to abandon their townships and move toward the cities in search of shelter and whatever government aide remains.   They have migrated en masse to the urban centers of this nation in search of the remnants of their National security but in place of the Golden Lamp, they have only found iron bars and cold, impersonal streets.   In lieu of allowing the preservation of their survival, Cities are beginning to enact anti-homeless initiatives to drive them back to where they came while those responsible for this treachery receive record bonuses and wallow in ill-gotten gains.

St. Petersburg , Florida is a prime example of such inhuman approaches.   The City has enacted new laws toward the criminalization of the homeless.   A report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless, tells much about the current war on these unfortunates:

"Since early 2007, St. Petersburg has passed 6 new ordinances that target homeless people. These include ordinances that outlaw panhandling throughout most of downtown, prohibit the storage of personal belongings on public property, and make it unlawful to sleep outside at various locations.


In January 2007, the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender announced that he would no longer represent indigent people arrested for violating municipal ordinances to protest what he called excessive arrests of homeless individuals by the City of St. Petersburg. According to numbers compiled by the public defender's office, the vast majority of people booked into the Pinellas County Jail on municipal ordinances were homeless individuals from St. Petersburg."

This is not the only American City to turn its back on those in need.   Across America, the suffrage of economic victimhood is being called to the forefront as the newest criminal act.   Many Laws have been put into place to make illegal, people living in the streets thereby dissuading them from coming to their cities at all.

Both sides of the Congressional Aisle have argued the semantics of the mortgage crisis and the current economic strife but the blame for the downfall of this once great nation means nothing when one is huddled beneath a dirty blanket trying to survive the cold or going hungry.   The homeless only know they their basic American rights have been denied.   Adding insult to injury, those Congressional representatives, who were put into office to ensure the continuation of our American system, are trying to take even more from them.

Many on the right have argued that the US has become a nanny state.   They expound upon the belief that we must no longer allow the expenditure of "American" money to go to those who will not help themselves first.   This may have been a valid approach in strong economic times of yesteryear when work was plentiful and the American Dream was alive but now, in the shadow of Bush Era gluttony and growing Tea Party faux-Patriotic oligarchy, it stands as a slap in the face of hard working Americans waking to the American nightmare.  

Some on the Left, voted into office by an American public that needed to be protected, are making deals to further empower the elite in order to acquire their own earmarks and campaign contributor benefits. They too, seem to have lost sight of what America used to stand for.  

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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
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