I'm not going to start this with some compassion-ridden lines about how I feel about the situation of our homeless population in Clearwater lately.
Instead, I think I will simply write how I feel about how it's being dealt with. I won't yank on heart strings. But, instead give an inside look at what it's like to be homeless in America. It's not an easy life. And, the sad part about this is? It happens everyday. All across America. And, every month? More heartless people come forth to place their form of conformity and dictatorship upon the people in an effort to "deal" with the situation.
I'm not a politician. Nor, am I affiliated with a political party. I never really got all that involved with politics in my lifetime because it's like talking about religion amongst the people. Politics and religion are enough conversation to start any war. In any country. At any given moment. For any given reason. Everything we deal with in today's world? Usually have one or both elements involved. With no clear winners regardless of how hard the battle lines are drawn or fought. So? We remain a blissfully ignorant nation. The blind leading the blind of course. Everyone has an issue. Everyone has a cause to fight for.
Mine? Homelessness. I was once homeless with my son. One day I woke up and my life had changed. Forever. In a downward spiral and nonstop daily battle with the devil. I have never done drugs. I have no addictions whatsoever. Victim of economic times is all. I didn't prepare for Plan B in case Plan A didn't work out. In any event, I won't repeat the whole story because it's already known. We were featured in a human interest story about being homeless in our local newspaper two years ago. I stay actively involved in the continuing stories about our homeless population here in Clearwater/Pinellas County as they continue to fight against the devil himself. Our city leaders of course.
Why do I say this? Because, it's one thing to be homeless. It's another to be unsure of where to turn to next. Or even what to do or HOW to do it with whatever you have to work with to begin with. But, it's another story altogether when you find your own city leaders implementing a dictatorship on HOW you strive for self sufficiency.
First, they went after our local soup kitchen. In a round about kind of half-assed way. With a campaign to discourage public donations TO the soup kitchen. Discouraging the public feeding of the homeless. That caused a public outrage. And, of course they stood down. Not without saying that they will revisit this issue later.
Next our wonderful city dictators? Hired welders to weld shut public park bathroom doors. To turn off water and electricity in public areas. Well well well. Isn't that just Einstein at work now? In an effort to sweep all the "ugly" out of the city and push them to another city? They have in turn? Punished the whole community instead! Take that! Shame on a free country with freedoms for actually living freely!
Now, you can't go potty! You can't have a drink of water. You cannot clean yourself up. You cannot find shelter from a storm or the elements either. Take that! AHA! We win!
In fact dearest dictator city leaders? You lost. You have now created a very disgruntled and unhappy community.
Guess what? Now YOU also cannot use the bathrooms when you go to the park either. You can't refresh your face with cool water if it's hot outside. And, Lord forbid that you would seek shelter because you forgot your umbrella and it's raining. Darn! Blasted rules!
So, let's move forward past that. To the present day. Now it will be illegal to sit, lay down, rest in a public place. Yes you read that right. As is obvious by the article in our local newspaper about future city ordinances against the community. Yes the community! How do you word it in your city ordinances to strictly include JUST the homeless without infringing upon the rights of the community as a whole? It's long been known that our Mayor and City Council have a big big beef with our community's homeless population. Of course they have help with some big gun Texan professor Robert Marbut. They paid him $10,000 plus to come up with some pretty heartless, hateful and just plain MEAN ordinances er RULES for everyone to live by.
I refused to live in St. Petersburg because of how hateful that city has become towards the homeless. So hateful they garnered national attention. I moved to Clearwater because it was calm. It was pleasant. It was humane. I love the people. I love the beaches. I can't name one thing I don't love about this community.
Even while my son and I were homeless on the very streets of Clearwater? I still remained in love with this city. It, along, with the community helping us by the way of CHIP and my church? I had a new regained hope that my son and I would overcome this situation. A year goes by? And, we did.
I vowed to advocate for the homeless and CHIP after we left. CHIP was shut down because of lack of budget to keep it open. Old mayor left. New mayor comes in. He still refuses to reopen CHIP despite the fact that most of our homeless do not meet requirements for the other shelters. Or, the other shelters are full that do accept families and children. Working single people. Instead? Our wonderful Mayor, in light of RNC in Tampa next month? Has gone all gung ho and become a major dictator. Turning our city into one of America's most hateful cities. And, I still live here. I am so ashamed at this point. He has gotten into the practice of criminalizing being poor and homeless. One or the other. It is now going to be a crime. Don't be caught sitting down in our city. You'll be arrested, fined $500 and put in jail for 60 days! Makes no nevermind that you don't have a job to pay $500. But, hey? At least you'll be in a "shelter" with a cot, meals and showers. At the expense of the tax payer to boot! Plus have a real nice mark on your record that will REALLY prevent you from getting a job in a state that already has a less than forgiving attitude towards those who have been in jail or in any type of court action.
That's one way of generating city revenue for sure. It's also another way to cause an uprising of the people to take back their government. It could cause more problems than our wonderful and intelligent city leaders thought about.
As a child my father was a radical Constitutional hard liner. He screamed to whomever would listen about the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. He raised us to strictly adhere our lives to those two very essential elements of being an American. Never let anyone stomp on our rights and freedoms. And, if they did? To fight back! Take a stand! Be the loudest voice. I used to roll my eyes and pray for lightening to strike me as he preached about this everyday. I'm so thankful lightening didn't strike me now.
Because, I have now witnessed a blatant and ignorant trampling of human rights in play over the last 2 years by watching our city leaders daily attack our homeless population. The very devil my father screamed about has reared it's ugly head. And, this time I'm not wishing for lightening to strike me. I am going to be that LOUD voice instead. I am fighting back. I am taking a stand. Even if I'm the only one in this community that does.
I moved to Clearwater because it was the next thing to heaven that I could find. The next thing to peacefulness. I stayed in Clearwater because at one time? It's community helped build my faith in humanity and hope. Now? I'm not so sure about that as I watch a battle between the community and the devil himself to attack simple human rights and liberties by enforcing a dictatorship upon the city.
Is this what the Constitution and our Bill of Rights is about? Don't sit here? Don't sit here between this time and that time? Don't be caught laying down either. Especially during this hour and that hour? Don't be caught wanting to go to the bathroom. Don't be caught breathing I suspect is next. Nothing would surprise me if that were to come about either.
So my question to the community is this:
Do you let the devil take over your human rights and how you treat people with dignity and humanity?
Or do you fight back and take a stand?