In God They Tru$t
“Everyone has the right to a
standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his
family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social
services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness,
disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances
beyond his control.”
- Universal Declaration of
Article 25, Section 1
The Supremacist Control
Freaks are at it again.
You can watch the
two short videos, approximately 1.5 and 3 minutes. Essentially, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott (an
appropriate last name ), after preparing food in a church then
serving it outdoors to the homeless was physically restrained, along with two
pastors, because Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has an ordinance prohibiting such
charitable acts. OK, after I stopped shaking my head then banging it on the
desk I tried to figure the reasoning behind it.
Maybe the police were
concerned that it was GMO food and not organic? Fat chance!
Must be some way to figure
this out. Let's see, selling Girl Scout Cookies  is OK, therefore
business transactions are cool, therefore it has to do with money.
“More than 30
cities have passed or are considering such bans; of those, more than 20 have
restricted food-sharing since January 2013 alone, according to a study
published earlier this week by the D.C.-based National Coalition for the
Homeless. Advocates of the legislation say
allowing ministries and others to hand out meals aggravates homelessness
because it lures homeless people away from city-run programs. But Michael Stoops, community organizer at the National
Coalition for the Homeless, argues that the cities that have or are trying to
pass these laws — Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, and Philadelphia, to
name a few — are doing it because they want to scrub their neighborhoods clean
of homeless people, making them more appealing to businesses.” 
service of the almighty dollar.
Global, Feed Local
this scenario has played out perhaps most prominently in defense of sport,
which is in defense of tourism and business, so there's that almighty dollar,
Remember the recent
Not Everybody's World Cup in Brazil where paramilitaries were on rooftops so as
to control protesters,  many of them from poor or lower classes.
Then there was the
2008 Olympics in Beijing: “Homeless Swept off
Streets for Olympic Image.” A short video shows a Chinese man whose
livelihood depends on collecting and redeeming plastic bottles; the Olympics
And the 2000
Olympics: “Sydney's homeless to be removed for
ironic and hypocritical about the Fort Lauderdale incident is that the Church
is supposedly a sacred American institution, yet even the actions of a
Church-inspired “brother's keeper” nonagenarian must bow to the dictum of:
clean streets and clean people equals dirty, er, clean, business.
“'I’m going to have
to go to court again and sue the city of Fort Lauderdale -- a beautiful city,'
Abbott told Local 10. 'These are the poorest of the poor, they have nothing,
they don't have a roof over their heads. How do you turn them away?'”
Perhaps some Amerizen koans
will shed some light on the issue:
- Can a restaurant give a
homeless person a meal?
- Is starvation a punishable
- What is the sound of a
highly muscular and presumably well-fed officer grabbing a slender 90-year-old
by the arm?
As Michael Stoops notes,
some argue that feeding encourages homelessness and that the food should be
served in appropriate shelters. Shelters are, perhaps, a workable solution but
even if that was the answer, why weren't the Ft. Lauderdale police saying,
'Hey, folks, the food looks good, we'll help you move it to a shelter.'
The Imprint of
Church and State
The mammon-based society
flies in the face of God, Church, and any apple pies that the 90-year-old may
bake. And doesn't this all just transcend labels of God, Church, and
stereotypical Americana? The real issue at hand (and mouth) is feeding hungry
human beings for whom a meal is probably the highlight of their day,
emotionally, nutritionally, and communally.
As Russell Brand points
out: “...America just had midterm elections
where $4 billion was spent on campaigning... But feeding the homeless?
A brief look at the history
of “In God We Trust” on the coin of the USEmpire realm will shed some light.
First off, “It is also the
motto of the U.S. state of Florida.”
“In 1956, the nation was at
a particularly tense time in the Cold War, and the United States wanted to
distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism. As a
result, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution "declaring IN GOD WE
TRUST the national motto of the United States. The law was signed by President
Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, and the motto was progressively added to paper
money over a period from 1957 to 1966... The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a
letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a
statement recognising "Almighty God in some form in our coins." At
least part of the motivation was to declare that God was on the Union side of
the Civil War.” 
The phrase is thus
connected with taking sides during hot/cold war time. And now it's a different
kind of civil war, with the Supremacist Control Freaks against the People who
most need a hot meal, not a cold shoulder; globally it's a war against the poor
Think Global, Feed
One of the most prominent
suggestions for easing the world's food problems – many of which are created by
trans-national agri-businesses and land-grabs – is local, sustainable,
small-scale-farming. Maybe cities could help develop garden-tending programs
for the homeless.
The attitude toward the
homeless is also important. In context, the word “homeless” implies that a home
is needed to be a complete person, that someone cannot be at home with
his/herself unless he/she is under a roof. Granted, having or living in a home
has many comforts and advantages yet for some of our fellow two-leggeds being homeless
is a choice to, for example, not participate in the mainstream system – no
rent, no mortgage, no bills, no car payments, etc. There needs to be a greater
respect for the person, the human being, so as to help get past the derogatory
aspect of the label. Like turtles and hermit crabs, in essence, each of us must
learn to be at home within ourselves.
Yet, more practically, from
the National Coalition for the Homeless Report, October 2014:
“There are many reasons why
people are homeless, including the lack of affordable housing, lack of job
opportunities, mental health and addiction, and physical disabilities. This is
a multi-dimensional problem, and it should be approached in that manner. To
make homelessness disappear, cities have to be creative and address all the
root causes of homelessness.”
In response to Manchester,
“Homeless woman, Lindsay Deannesolis feels as though she is being
discriminated against. She says, 'Oh you’re homeless. You are
going to cause a problem. Not necessarily. Yeah, a lot of us are down on our luck but we’re trying.
We’re trying to find a job.'”
In Olympia, WA:
“Ben Charles, who runs Crazy Faith
Outreach, an organization who serves 500+ meals a week to the individuals
living on the street states, 'We just want to create a sense of community, and
that’s all we’re doing.'”
In St, Augustine, Florida:
“Since November 2010,
volunteers from more than 30 local
faith-based communities and civic organizations have made meals seven nights a
week. Over time, the organization faced increased pressure from local business
and city leaders to find a more permanent location to serve their meals. Long
time volunteers teamed up with the City Manager to locate and secure a property
downtown. Through community partnerships, the organization acquired serving
tables, card tables, chairs, a storage shed, a canopy, and solar lighting.
Today, Dining with Dignity serves between 60 and 100 people every evening.
Since November 2010, the program has served more than 100,000 meals which cost
more than $350,000.”
For a more thorough
look at the issues, with reports from various cities and what can be done to
alleviate problems, see: National Coalition for the Homeless Report, October
is a Keeper
Abbott and Mayor
Jack Seiler can be seen shaking hands on TV where, post-incident, they debated
the issue. How much the Mayor is trying to save face after “hundreds of angry emails over Abbott's run-in with police,
and over the city's ordinance” remains to be seen.
From the TV segment:
“What Arnold is
doing is actually a very kind and compassionate act,” Seiler said. “We're just
simply asking him to do it in a proper location.”
“We have tried many, many times
to find indoor locations to feed the homeless,” Abbott retorted. “And they have
not been available to us.”
“'I'm waiting for the Mayor to
come through with his promise,' Abbott said while feeding the homeless at the
church following the debate.'”
It's easy to tell
from his actions, Abbott loves to feed people. He is his brother's and his
sister's keeper. There are many more Abbotts out there.
(Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In
addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle
Islander. His newest haiku chapbook is “so many people go hungry.” He also
hosts an audio show "Between the
Lines: listening to literature online." You can contact
him via his literary website.
READ MORE POETRY AND ESSAYS BY MANKH ON AXIS OF LOGIC
1. An abbot is the head of a
monastery, and the word comes from “Aramaic abba, title of honor, literally
'the father, my father.'”
Scouts owed money”
Lauderdale Latest City to Restrict Feeding Homeless”
4. “Missiles Installed on Apartment Buildings to Protect
FIFA's World Cup”
5. “Homeless Swept off Streets
for Olympic Image”
homeless to be removed for Olympics.”
Man Defies Police Orders, Continues Feeding Homeless People”
Brand: $4 Billion Spent on Elections, But Feeding the Homeless is Illegal”
9. “In God we trust”
10. “Arnold Abbott and Mayor
Jack Seiler Face off In Televised Debate”
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