Happy Cinco de Mayo, dear friends… Hoping you celebrate the Mexican Army’s liberation over the French with laughter and safety! Transitioning from a joyous occasion to our current state of affairs… which certainly can be and is joyous oftentimes, but not so joyous for me when do-gooders get arrested for feeding the homeless.
Politics & Police: Something’s got to give — as long as you don’t give to the homeless in some cities!
I’m noticing in my email inbox that Change.org has at least two separate petitions circulating that ask us to support the revocation of the anti-homeless feeding bans. What in the world is this about? This truly must be a joke, right? Someone tell me the wool is being pulled over my eyes… please!
There’s something about helping others that’s incredibly fulfilling –wouldn’t you agree? Without judgement of course, because we all need help within this upside-down world at some time or another …and some of us need a little more help than others, and that’s okay too.
This law for me is right up there with two other non-sensical situations: In Colorado, it’s illegal to warm up your own car and retreat into your warm home for ten minutes in the middle of winter, although medical marijuana is legal at the recreational level!
Secondly, a situation happened to me two summers ago. My daughter and I were at the park and on the way out, I wanted to teach my daughter about giving, feeding, and loving on the ducks. Lo and behold, I was accosted by a couple walking the same path holding hands (how ironic) yelling at me to not the feed the ducks. I was completely shocked by their intensity and adamant insistence. I remember thinking, “Leave us alone. We’ll feed (and give love to) the ducks anytime we want….”
Had this “loving” couple forgotten that animals walked, swam, and flew on this earth long before we came to dwell upon THEIR world. Yes, of course I understand the couple was sore about the duck droppings that they must avoid while walking, and yet that’s the nature of life. If they can’t handle the occasional “park duck-dance,” then how do they manage real stressors in our everyday world?
Another objection, by some people, to giving to those in need deals with the fear that said individuals will abuse the system, and live off welfare, for example. As I stated above, sometimes people need help –that’s what public aid is all about –give it to those of us who need it.
I believe this is where compassion comes in to play. This is where we turn the other cheek and not fight problems with self-righteousness and a “better than” attitude, but rather with love and kind giving. It’s my belief that sooner or later those people who might abuse the system will come around — it’s in their nature, just like it’s in our nature to help.
“Last year the city council of Houston, Texas passed a law making it illegal to feed the homeless within the city without the permission of property owners. Yes, in the land of six-guns, cattle rustling, and Enron, handing a sandwich to a homeless person in a city park or serving a bowl of soup in a rented storefront can earn you a $500 fine…. Last week, Houston police ticketed a homeless man for trying to feed himself by fishing a donut from a trash bin in a public park.” (1)
Although this story was originally published two years ago in March, it clearly has re-surfaced as a priority in 2015 –as more and more human rights issues are brought to the forefront of our societal consciousness. Researching other such stories, there was much attention online given to this issue — and rightly so.
Further, six months ago –and thank Goddess– a Florida judge lifted the ban on feeding the homeless. Go Florida! Before the lift, people were being arrested for “unlawful food sharing.” That is one of the craziest terms I’ve ever heard.
Fortunately, a “90-year-old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott’s lawsuit [successfully challenged] the ordinance. The World War II vet and retired jewelry salesman has been feeding the homeless at the city’s beaches with his group, Love Thy Neighbor, for the last 23 years.” Go Arnold! (2)
Religion: Is the Pope as progressive as he could be?
I must admit, I truly love her style and appreciate her message of the author of this next story, Jessica Valenti, from The Guardian. I find her refreshingly down-to-earth, yet she can get just as bold and fearless with the topics and language she uses — she’s absolutely brilliant, in my humble opinion.
While appreciating the Pope’s support for wage equality between men and women, Ms Valenti makes a distinct point: “True equality for women or wives – even economic equality – is dependent on access to birth control and abortion, which is something I suspect Pope Francis won’t come out in favor of anytime soon. So while it’s nice that one of the world’s preeminent religious leaders believes in fair wages for fair work, the sentiment rings hollow for women who know what it really takes to have equality in the workforce and beyond.” Thank you, Jessica.
Ms. Valenti continued to educate us on the varied ways that freedom of pro-choice is the true liberation for women’s rights. For example, studies have shown that women who have access to contraception earlier in life are more inclined to seek higher education, which normally increases their salaries.” The ability to decide whether and when to parent – and how to space out the children they choose to have – impacts the kind of jobs that women can have and the kind of salary they will bring home.”
Further, it’s argued that Republicans have long complained that the abortion and birth control issue is just about women voting with their bodies instead of their pocket books. Geez …as a man, that statement is offensive to me!
“But no matter what politicians – or the Pope – believes, women know that their economic futures are tied to reproductive choice. If we want women to thrive, to make more money, and be raised out of poverty, we have to make sure that women can control their bodies and plan their lives. Believing anything else is the real ‘scandal.'”
Thank you Ms. Valenti for your insight and moxie!
Across this beautiful world, We Are All One.