Is this the best we got?

I proudly said on Friday that we live in the greatest nation on earth. We are a great nation. But what about this?

These pictures are from a Las Vegas parking lot, where homeless people are being rounded up and confined to asphalt below them and no protection above them.

Homelessness is a growing pandemic right here within the borders of the United States. It is not a pretty picture. This crisis is not a priority for most Americans, and attempting to find the reasons and solutions for this growing problem is like being dragged down a rabbit hole.

Have you ever had a conversation with anyone about homelessness? I am sure the subject has come up. The given reason that boils my blood the most is this: “They are all drug addicts and they want to be homeless.” It is always interesting to hear this reasoning from a person who also has addictions.

No one wants to be homeless. No one wants to sleep on asphalt. And no one wakes up one day out of the blue to say, “I want to become a heroin addict. Pass me the needle.”

Why do we ignore the homeless? Some homeless folks do have mental issues and dealing with mental instability can be frightening. Going near a homeless person also has its drawbacks. If you have a keen sense of smell, you might have to social distance yourself and stand six feet away. But the overall lack of help from the wealthiest country on the planet for the homeless is very discouraging.

I read a story today about someone spending $27,000 on the last game towel used by NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant. The famed athlete died in a helicopter crash two months ago. Yes, $27,000 for a towel and two ticket stubs. I am not here to tell anyone how to spend his or her money, but I am here to say this was a disgraceful way to spend $27,000 when people are sleeping on asphalt with no overhead protection.

Hillary Clinton used to say it took a village to raise a child. From experience, I say it takes one strong parent to raise a child. But it is going to take a village to combat this homeless problem because no one wants to be homeless. No one wants to sleep on asphalt. And no one wakes up one day out of the blue to say, “I want to become a heroin addict. Pass me the needle.”

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I have several pet projects, but one of my main gripes about the United States has always been the issue of homelessness. It is ironic that in the same day we learn about someone spending $27,000 on a towel, we learn that homeless folks in Las Vegas are herded into parking lots with no shelter. The main point of contention between my father and me for years was the amount of money surreptitiously pumped into professional sports, while mothers and children were living in their cars.

To my dear father in heaven: This dichotomy has not gone away, but now I have a platform to speak about it.

“Put your money where your mouth is.” This is an old saying that is used to call out hypocrites. When I could no longer tolerate the practice of factory farming and the clubbing of baby seals in Newfoundland, I became a vegetarian so that I could complain in good conscious.

So, I am praying for guidance on how I can best do my part to help combat the homeless crisis. Maybe having a big mouth is not enough. Maybe being a big mouth is where God will want me to stay. I am open to help make change wherever possible. I welcome anyone who wants to start working with me on this when we no longer need to social distance ourselves from each other.

It won’t be glamorous, and I do love a little glamour. I am good at multitasking, so I believe I can have some glamour and at the same time deal with situations where people just want a roof and a bed.

On a side note, I could not help myself from posting this picture of New York City residents today. They are out hoping to catch a glimpse at the USNS Comfort arriving to Manhattan. No social distancing going on here.