Saturday, November 10, 2007

My brief 5 minutes of fame

A Flickr buddy alerted me that this photo appeared briefly as an illustration of a article on homeless veterans. Got the alert when I woke up, on a morning when I just happened to be paying attention... and I caught it in time to go to the website and download the page. It disappeared later in the morning. I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. So... thanks Danny B.

I don't read the Huffington Post much lately, but it's not for the reason you might think--I just think that their web design is too cluttered and "noisy." Though Arianna Huffington is a fav of mine. I'll always remember shooting off a supportive email to her after she posted an editorial in 2003 questioning the Bush administration's rationale for proposing to invade Iraq. I think that, like, several hundred of us were opposed to the invasion back then, and voicing one's opposition then was fairly courageous.

About the homeless, my perspective is more nuanced. It is simply not part of our current American social contract to provide fully for those who are unable to provide for themselves... at least, it's not federal policy. (My daytime job is in this field.) Is this wrong? Is this right? Those of us who have dealt with poverty and homelessness on the front lines realize that homelessness is caused by factors more complex than a simple lack of money or, in fact, a lack of mental wellness. America has become a more brutal society in the past decade. Our citizens disregard our economic laws at their own peril. Perhaps they haven't noticed, but there's no safety net anymore. I know it. The homeless know it. Do the rest of us?

Anyway, this is one of my favorite photos. The original photo was taken with my cheap cameraphone... The next day, I brought a better camera to work, and I found the same cardboard sign still in the parking lot, a bit worse for wear. It had been driven over a few times, but it was still there. I have no idea who once held the sign... if he was, indeed, a veteran, or whether this was his particular hustle. I don't know if he ever got any food, a job, or even if he's still alive.

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