Grace Not Shed on Poor
This government isn’t interested in recognizing the human worth of homeless, unemployed people living in poverty.
Published: August 29, 2012
I found Dave Custer’s Homelesscide (“Panhandle Tales,” Aug. 15) informative with the circumstances he endured when he was too clean to be homeless. As an Afrocentric feminist, I am deeply disturbed by the growing number of homeless people in Baltimore City and County. I believe city and county officials do not care about the homeless people in our areas of Maryland. Politicians see homeless people as disposable people who should just die anyway. The homeless are perceived as “human waste.”
I am living under the poverty line, and there are many hidden people living in senior housing who are one step away from being homeless. Many people where I live do not have transportation they can depend on to get groceries or visit the doctor. They live on food from a vending machine, as I have myself.
What makes me upset is that neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney are talking about poverty in America, but both seem to want to keep our military forces fired up with money to create or maintain wars that are none of our business. Still, I plan to vote for President Obama in November because he wants to cut some parts of the military budget, which should save poor, failing schools.
Race matters in America. Poverty does not matter in America to rich folks. Custer writes, “You’ll never know until you take that first step of simply acknowledging our shared humanity.”
Many know the Bible verse, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:4). That verse is the shared humanity that is constantly being ignored.
We are now in an apartheid America that is working its way to genociding people in poverty (removing medicine). The government officials and politicians know that shaming people living in poverty is not working. This government is not interested in recognizing the human worth of homeless, unemployed people living in poverty.
When I was young I sang “America, America, God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” Now I am an old, black woman living in poverty who can’t outrun a bullet. The words are a lie.
But I’m still here, and shaming me in my poverty cannot hurt me. Whenever I can, I’m going to give money to the homeless. What a homeless person does with the money is up to God to resolve.
Larnell Custis Butler
Just a short and sweet response to Medina Krause (“Black and White Card Redux,” The Mail, Aug. 15).
It’s good to hear someone of color agree with my views. I am a 35-year-old white male. When I wrote in (“Black and White Card,” The Mail, Aug. 8), all I was basically pointing out is that racism has always and will always have a part in society. It’s something even (OMG!) white people deal with too. Live your life and be happy with who you are.
You know I swore a sacred oath on the grave of Ernesto “Che” Kovacs that I was not going to write another letter to the City Paper until October! Well, temptation has got the best of me! I must admit my critics were mighty lame (“Silence Not Golden,” Mail, Aug. 22). One pissed and moaned about the length of the letter. The other found two minor spelling errors. Tough toenails to you both.
I must take issue with my supporter! The day your letter appeared in the City Paper, the office of the Los Angeles Answer Coalition was trashed and ripped off. Observers say even though there was a large amount of cash in open sight, only the computers and data storage materials were taken. They took so much that observers say these thieves must have used a truck.
Now dear Dave. You are a pragmatist! Theoretical discussion and political analysis are key. I would suggest you read What is to Be Done? by V. I. Lenin, before you bemoan public polemics. There, he talks about the need to repudiate economism, or holding up “bread and butter” issues, as the key way to organizing people. As children of the ’60s, we never seriously took up study. That’s because of the mistakes of the old left who used study as a club to beat down our enthusiasm for change rather than a guide to change it. Had we studied more we would not have made the serious errors we made. People who called themselves Marxist-Leninists would not have supported the Shah of Iran. People who called themselves revolutionaries would not have opposed the Boston busing school desegration plan. The new communist movement in Chile would not have been so damned homophobic! The democratically elected socialist government would not have set themselves up for a coup. If we took political study seriously the movements for change today would be stronger. Marshall Eddie Conway might be a free man instead of a jailed icon only remembered on his birthday!
Now, Max, you just don’t get it. I suggest you read Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky by Lenin. There, he talks about how the revolutionary does not concern themselves with their petty corner of the world, but how to aid the liberation struggles of all of humanity. Once again the importance of theory in both of your letters you only talk about how the war adversely affects the people of this country and Maryland in particular! In the ’60s, we opposed the war because it was killing innocent people and thwarting a revolutionary movement! There is no revolutionary opposing us in the Middle East—but innocent people are being killed! Yes, we should fight for all issues. Yes, the struggle for justice takes on many fronts. No, this is not a revolutionary situation. But we must not water down our politics to get lots of folks. I look forward to continuing this debate on Sept. 20th at the Homewood Friends Meeting House, 3107 N. Charles St. at 8 P.M.