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Lesser of Two Evils

More thoughts and musings from a former homeless mother on the world around her in the present day.

Society hasn't failed to surprise me this week.

Again. I've read so much on the news lately that I may just take a hiatus from watching or reading news for a few days. Whether it will matter much later on I don't know. But, it did exhaust me to read about so much "hate," mud slinging, and just overall general violence lately that it took the story about a cat that was stabbed this week. The death of this poor animal brought tears to my eyes. Who could do such a senseless act of violence against a living creature that never did anything to them?

Then my brain went into overload. I simply get exhausted from information overload after a while. Literally depresses me. I withdraw into myself. People. Humans in general are very cruel towards each other. Seems like there is no more compassion left on this earth anymore. We have politicians on tv slinging mud back and forth at each other. To the point where it becomes worse than school yard antics. But, these are grown adults. All for the sake of grabbing people's attention toward them, their cause(s) and mission to be this highly coveted position in politics. People digging up dirt on each other. Scandal. Any little issue from thumping their fellow high school student on the head in highschool to what's in their tax records. 

Comes out as a battle for reputation. And, these are people we're supposed to look up to as leaders in our cities, towns, and states. In our country as a whole. Who has more money. More status. More friends. What tax bracket they are in. Who they associate with. It's all a bunch of grandstanding as far as I'm concerned. It seems so greedy. The almighty dollar. None of that stuff is really going to matter in the end. Because, they will simply tell you what you want to hear in order to achieve what they want. It's human nature to make promises you can't keep. Human nature to treat each other with disregard and disrespect. The more powerful you are the richer you are?

Gives you clout and status to do and say just about anything. Without argument from your constituents. From the very citizens who voted you into a trusted position to oversee their lives and how they live it daily. Perhaps we all forgot that it's simply law of man. Not law of God, to ridicule, persecute, and judge each other. If you don't believe in the same Christian God that I do then obviously apply that rule to whatever religion/faith you practice. 

I spent the week reading about politics. About elections. About how different city/state governments operate. The news itself is a great piece of information every day. When you can't get it from a book just turn on your TV. I got to the point where I withdrew into my favorite stress relief. Music. Not just any type of music either. Ozzy Osbourne. Metallica. Alice Cooper. Zack Wylde. Slash. Yes I am Christian. But, I'm also not claiming perfection as a human either.

So whether or not I sit in judgment of society makes absolutely no difference to me at all. Usually when one finger is pointing at someone there are two pointing right back. Or, however that mantra goes. I make no claims to perfection. I live my life right by God and only answer to Him for judgement. I also judge no one else either. I'm not qualified. None of us on this planet are. 

But, yet I see a lot of it going on. Daily. In the newspapers. On TV news. Driving down the street to the store. The city's response to the homeless population over the last several months? In my opinion is judgmental, inhumane, and unjust. Period.

It's disrespectful towards basic human values. It's contradictory towards their own religious beliefs. It's immoral. It's wrong. Put it in whatever context you might want to. But, the bottom line of it is? Our homeless population are being treated like criminals. Like vermin. Like "non-essential humans."

So, the answer?

Let's get rid of them. Post haste. However we need to. Let's enact ordinances that punish them for doing something "wrong". Like what exactly? Like being poor? Like losing their jobs because business's close down? Go bankrupt? Or, have been outsourced to foreign countries? Let's punish the hungry children whose parent's obviously should have had some foresight into the future to prevent them from going broke. From being poor. From being homeless. Let us FORCE them to do as we say. But, Lord forbid, as we do. 

Let's be reasonable for a minute OK? Do you think that the homeless drunk on the street was ALWAYS a homeless, hopeless, drunk? How about the homeless drug addict? How about the poor, the homeless children and families? Do you think they were ALWAYS that way? Absolutely NOT! They got that way somehow. For some reason beyond their own control. I was homeless. Could I have prevented it? In hindsight? I doubt I could have. No matter what I tried or did. The bottom line of it was in the end? Can I get out of it? And, how do I do that? I'm pretty sure I'll hear a whole list of ways it could have been avoided. As well as a whole list of methods to get out of it, too. 

But?

Do you know from personal experience that they would work? Do you have personal experience with the shelters in this county? Do you think handing me a list of ideas and resources helps much when those resources are already at capacity and maxed out? Or, unavailable. Because?

The city took them out of existence. Our own city quit funding an essential resource. Blame them. Not the homeless population. 

I laugh at the consultant, Dr. Robert Marbut, whom was hired to "consult" for the city on our homeless issues and just how to "resolve" these issues. He was homeless for how long? A whole 24 hours. Big deal. Yes, I said it. Big deal. It irritates me at the ignorance people have on the subject of being homeless. If you haven't walked a mile in their shoes? You have absolutely no idea at all what it's like. A whole 24 hours being homeless? Piece of cake. Now try living like that for a year. With your child(ren) and/or wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend.

Then get back to me on how that experience was for you, ok?

I spent this week thinking about a challenge I am about to take on. I plan on following through with a healthy, good competition for Seat #1 on the Clearwater City Council. The Mayor's job. I want his job. I wanted it the first time I heard about all these inhumane ordinances he was bringing to the table in our city. At first it was said by me that I wanted his job, out of frustration. Now? I'm determined. He got the job because he ran unopposed in the election. Makes no difference to me what his qualifications or societal status was prior to that either.

He didn't have to work for it. I'm willing to work for the position. 

If this sounds like an open challenge even though the election is still two years away?

It's because, it is. I'm starting now. In the present. Putting myself out there way ahead of the battle. Because that's what elections are right? Battles to prove who is better than the next guy? Usually the one with the least money and status? Gets stomped on by the bigger guy. I have methods for that. I don't have money to "buy" myself into anything. I will, as a woman? Do what I have to and what I must to make sure I'm doing things the honest way.

No smoke and mirrors. No false promises. No mud slinging. No scandals. No dirt digging. And, personally? I'm not phased one bit by anyone slinging mud at me either. Anyone that knows me? Knows I'm not swayed one bit. It bounces right off of me. And, it scares people when they wonder why I am not reacting. 

The primary reason would be that I'm a strong woman. Been there. Done that. Lived it. Still talking about it. Learned from it. Been knocked down. I get right back up. I usually tune out mud slinging towards myself. I can stand up for myself and speak my mind. I stand firm and steady.

I cannot stand lack of compassion for human life. I cannot stand disrespect toward your fellow human being. I cannot stand watching others being judged unfairly because of their standing in society and lack of economics. I cannot stand people who blatantly abuse their position of power to punish our homeless population.

I can comfortably say this without fear of retribution or punishment because the Constitution protects me. Affords me that right. I exercise it. Daily. 

So, this week I've absorbed about enough about politics and politicians than I could possibly stomach. My heart and brain in overload. In pain. Headaches and heart aches. I decided to take a retreat within myself to think about all of this. I turned on some Ozzy Osbourne. Lit a candle. Made a cup of tea. In my mobile home. With my two children. And a 12 yr old car. Thinking about how is it I can possibly convince people, when the election is announced to begin? That I can handle such a job being the Mayor of a city? What could I say? What could I do? What signs or campaign slogans could I come up with? Where could I show up to show the people of this city that they can trust me? That they can have confidence in me?

I decided that I don't have to go out of my way to prove myself to anyone in this city. I have decided that I'm going to handle it the same way I handle everything else. 

Watch me step up to the plate. Watch me out and about. In your city. My city.

Driving my 12-year old car, with Ozzy Osbourne blaring and me singing along with it. Watch me when I step out in jeans, tshirt, and flip flops. Watch me in 4-inch heels, make-up and a dress. Watch me as I sit in church on Sunday. Thanking God with a very grateful heart for making me so strong. For allowing me one more day on this earth. For my children. My boyfriend. My family. My friends. 

And, while I'm being judged and scoffed at because I'm not the most perfect human on this planet?

Probably might want to stop and consider something first?

We're not qualified to judge each other. Period. That includes the present Mayor and his City Council. I'm ashamed that they would take things this far for the sake of appearances in our City. Fully ashamed. I'm going to step out and simply be myself. Because, there's no one else I could possibly be?

But, myself. 

I can't possibly change anything until I step up to the plate and challenge to change it. If it means taking the ordinances all the way to the top court to challenge it? I will. If it means I keep screaming from the roof tops of this city of how wrong all these ordinances are? I shall. If it means placing signs of opposition on the back of my 12 yr old car to catch and keep the attention on the matter? 

I will. 

If it means waiting two years to show just how determined I am to initiate a more human campaign towards our homeless population?

I'm patient. 

Very patient. 

My credit is shot thanks to divorce. I rob Peter to pay Paul. Every month. I use coupons. I shop in thrift stores and can accomplish looking like a million bucks. I eat at home. And, hardly ever eat out. It's a rareity. A free movie on the beach on the weekends? Are so much better than a crowded movie theater and high prices. I can take a dollar and stretch it a whole week. I haven't been to a salon to pay for a hair-do since April of LAST year. I have been utilizing Super Cut's free hair cuts every month. I don't wear $100 make-up. I buy mine at Walmart and Target. I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm saying. 

I'm not a politician. Nor do I plan on learning how to be one either. I've seen enough of just what politics are about recently?

I want to be something more.

Something better.

Something different.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

D Turner August 17, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Ms Johnson, I applaud you for seeking the mayor's job. What would YOU do for the homeless? If you are mayor, how would you help the homeless? What about other city issues? What is your stand on those? If you are going to be taken seriously you will have to do your research and lay out a plan. Otherwise you may be seen as a ranting, crazy woman.
Cyntthia Johnson August 17, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I appreciate the support. Here is a brief few thoughts that have been on my mind lately. I can go into detail later as I have time today. A curfew for teens. We presently do not have one. Idle minds. Idle thoughts? Leads to the influx of violence and delinquency we've seen lately. Let parents be held accountable for the actions of their children if they are to be our future leaders in this city. In our state. In our country. The next ordinance would be identical to the one Atlanta presently has on dress code in public for our teens and adults. Pull your pants up. Wear a belt at the waist. Along with your pants. The way to keep a city at some level of peace is to start with our youth. By being example setting adults in their lives. I will answer more to this later on today when I have time. I appreciate input from the city's residents. What would YOU like to see changed?
GaryFla August 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Well said D Turner. It appears CJ likes to think she is unquestionably qualified to solve the homeless problem, and certainly likes to tell us how her woes, though not self imposed (so she says) make it so. Strange she would rail against teens and sees justification for restricting their lives, but doesn't believe society has a right to restrict homeless lives in any fashion or way. nete
Cyntthia Johnson August 17, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Restricting adults and their movements for no cause other than being "poor" or "homeless" is way different than holding parents accountable for the actions of their children, now, in the present day, to avoid future generations from becoming homeless for outside causes that CAN be controlled from the get go. Society also has an obligation to raise their children in a manner that would also follow and abide by laws and ordinances much later on in life. Otherwise, they, too, become problems of society much later. Is there any difference in holding people accountable for their actions as children or in adults in any other different ways? Yes. So we overlook the mainstream problem of encouraging our youth by turning a blind eye on how they appear to other adults? We enable their behaviors as well. We have more of a problem in this city with delinquent and bored teens than we do with homeless being in your backyard. Or using your public bathrooms. Or being fed in public. Period. We have a problem with enabling youth under the age of 21 in bars and clubs for the sake of revenue. That's not very productive. Encouraging young men and women to participate in clubs and bars where drinking and blatant drug abuse is bound to show up is a good example for future behaviors?
Cyntthia Johnson August 17, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I believe that the approach to the issues of our homeless in this city became more of a problem when the City shut down the ONLY resource that enabled productive behaviors. Such as job searches. Such as hygiene. Such as counseling for addictions. AA meetings for addictions were held in the lobby of CHIPS. The City shut down a resource that was valuable to other resources in our city in the effort to HELP our homeless. Identify the chronic homeless first. Without threat to their well being or effort to survive when they are not bothering anyone. Assess the needs they have. You can only lead a horse to water. But you cannot make them drink. Then identify the families and individuals who are out there, every day, pleading for the community to help them. Everyone has skeletons in their closets. And, everyone deserves help. A second chance to make right their situation. If they have children? What type of community are we when we place their parents in judgement? When we treat their parents as if they were "a problem". And, it's "not your problem" to find them help. It's not just the church's responsibility to help. It's not just the agencies responsibility to help. They are struggling to handle the burden the best way that they can. With whatever they receive from their city and their community. It's also the community's responsibility to keep city budgets and the people who control them? Within the boundaries of our own city social services. To help our own.

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