Saturday, May 14, 2011


I grew up in a rural North Dakota community where neighbors were really neighbors.  In my early years, my family never locked their doors because they had no fear of being robbed or harmed by anyone in the community.  Neighbors looked out for each other. 

My grandfather told pioneer-day stories of people being saved from winter blizzards by happening upon a claim shanty abandoned for the winter and holing up there until the storm passed.  It was a frontier code and nobody begrudged someone using their shelter, fuel or their food stores to preserve their lives.

Many a Sunday morning, my grandfather climbed to the hayloft and found someone burrowed in the hay, sleeping off a Saturday night hangover.  Likely as not, the woozy neighbor got invited in for coffee and breakfast.  No one worried about letting their children roam the prairies unsupervised all day long.  The thought of anyone harming them would have been unthinkable.  Children walked or rode horses to school on their own.

Things changed a bit as I was growing up.  My parents took to locking their doors and padlocking their gasoline storage drum.  People began to find tires stolen during the night and other thievery.  The world was changing.  Not for the better.

I haven't lived on those plains for more than fifty years now, but I know that, compared to many other places I've lived, they are still comparatively safe and secure.  A good breed of people, for the most part, still lives there.

Today, as a member of the local Cottonwood, AZ Lions Club, I did a two-hour stint for our White Cane Day at the local Safeway, gathering in donations for our community services (sight, hearing, etc.). 

During this time a clean and nicely dressed man of 75 happened by and gave a $1 donation.  He revealed that he was homeless, having lost his three hundred thousand plus home when the recession hit.  He lives and sleeps as best he can and a friend lets him shower, shave and do laundry at his home.

He gets a little over seven hundred dollars a month from Social Security.  He used some of that to buy two tents to live in but no longer bothers. 


Cities don't like to have homeless people around so the police in one of the local cities slashed his tents to ribbons with jack knives, trying to force him out of the area.  He dares not try to camp anywhere in Sedona.  He has been warned that he will be jailed.

A minister friend of his in Santa Monica, CA is trying to get him placed in HUD housing, and I'm hoping that will be successful.  The man certainly needs it.  How long HUD can continue to function is a good question.

I understand the problem cities have, but I also understand human need and human compassion.  It seems to be ever more lacking in our society.  While millionaires and billionaires are lavished with tax breaks and subsidies and live a life of luxury in their multiple mansions in multiple parts of the world, the down on their luck multitudes are ever more looked down on with disdain as if it is always their fault that they aren't situated comfortably.  In some cases, it may be, but not most of the time.  Treating them like no account animals who should simply slink off quietly and die is hardly worthy of our great nation, its traditions and its heritage.

Every time "cut" comes up in the political discussion, the first thing targeted is the already woefully inadequate provisions for those among us least capable of fending for themselves.  I'm not talking about lavish handouts.  I'm talking about making provision for those who absolutely cannot solve their problems without a helping hand.  I've been there a few times in my own life and was very thankful that there was a caring individual who extended a hand when I needed it so desperately.



  1. Al,
    You think times are bad now, wait a year. It is going to get much worse.

    "I'm talking about making provision for those who absolutely cannot solve their problems without a helping hand."

    It is those in society that need a helping hand. It is not those we should help who refuse to contribute to the society in which they live in. Let them starve.

    I disagree with you on the trickle down theory. Should we have tried the trickle up method where the poor got a tax break for creating jobs?


  2. We'll just have to disagree here.

    I know full well that there are plenty who are lazy and lacking in drive to help themselves. I don't advocate handouts to those who could help themselves. However, trickle down didn't and won't work. It never has and never will. The new aristocracy won't do a damn thing to turn things around. They have a Herbert Armstrong type attitude in all too many cases.

    Some of the rich and privileged would like to do something and do all they can. Bill Gates and his wife are one good example. I have the utmost respect for people like them. Some of them have even requested that they be taxed at a fairer rate, to no avail. So, we go deeper into debt and let the under privileged and basically helpless go to hell.

    Total capitalism is just as evil as total socialism. A balanced mix of the two is what made a dynamo of this nation for several decades. Now, the Chinese are acheiving a balance that will leave us in the dust if we don't wise up. Who knows whether that will continue or the privileged will again worm their way into aristocratic power and destroy it all a few decades hence?

    I really dread our losing our technological lead, and it's deteriorating every day because we prefer to see our bloated aristocrats acting like Louis the fourteenth while education and science flounders and religious idiots ram through "creation science" in our schools.

    Oh, yes, I know. "Jesus is comin' and he's gonna turn everything around, just you wait an' see, you no account heathen. Viva la rapture." So, the religious right is rushing pell mell for the yawning precipice singing "Onward Chrisian Soldiers."

    Been there. Had much too much of that. If I had had the sense to do so, I'd have spit in old Herb's face and walked away long before I did. I would have been much better off financially and every other way. Now I see my nation in the grip of people with his attitude and the same bacic elitist motivations. They don't give any more of a damn about the average American than he did.

    I'm afraid you may be right about a year or two hence. But, the boys in banking, Wall Street, etc. will be just fine, like they are right now. It's been planned and set up that way.

  3. "If I had had the sense to do so, I'd have spit in old Herb's face and walked away long before I did."

    Herb is lucky he never took a bullet for what he did to his daughter, even while she was married. Her husband would have done the world a great service by putting some lead into Armstrong's bloated skull!

    In the end Al, we are just pawns in a bigger game than Herbies. We work, they take what does not belong to them. Then they spend it on what destroys human beings. Like welfare that destroys ones initiative, creativity and pride.

  4. Here we are in complete agreement. I did fantasize at times about evening the score with Herbie, but it was only fantasy. I'm not the violent type.

    I also recognize that it's all a big game and we are the pawns who are screwed no matter how much we understand or try. A good example is Mexico. Those poor people have had no end of revolutions, and the same people stay in control of their colonialist society no matter what happens.