EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, admittedly it’s not a very original title, but it IS accurate. William C. Henry is better known to me as ‘Uncle Bill.’ He’s always been a man of strong opinions and a persuasive argument-maker, but I was a little surprised to learn — after re-connecting with him after a prolonged period of radio silence — that his current perspective so closely mirrors that of Phawker. Which is refreshing, to say the least, since most (white) people seem to turn into Fox News zombies when they get to be his age (early 70s, FYI). Not Uncle Bill. It is often said that Democrats — including our president — need to grow a spine. Well, Uncle Bill is spine incarnate. He’s not afraid to rock the ALL CAPS. Although he does bleep out his own F-bombs, because he’s old school, and that’s how people used to curse back in the day. Be that as it may, I’ve invited him to weigh in from time to time, a la Lewis Black, on whatever is getting his goat at the moment.
BY WILLIAM C. HENRY This time I’m going to rail about an unconscionably short and perfunctory (look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls) newspaper article I happened across the other day. I’m not going to mention the name of the paper simply because it’s not at all relevant to the story. In fact, the only relevance to be had here is the goddamn DEARTH (yeah, you can look that one up too) of stories on this subject appearing ANYWHERE these days! The article was titled, “Tent city for the homeless faces a big rebuilding job.” It goes on to VERY briefly describe how a storm that rolled through the area the day before had obliterated 100 of the 250 tents at the county’s Hope (who names these places?) complex for the homeless. One short sentence stated, “A woman was happy to save pictures of her 2-year-old son.” Three more equally short sentences began with, “One man,” “Another man,” and “Another,” and included the name of a personal article lost by each of these three apparently randomly selected “residents.” And that’s about the long and short of it, folks. Oh, yes, there was ONE sentence allotted to describing the overall scene, “Broken branches littered the soupy ground of mud and mulch.” Jesus!, God!, why does this the wealthiest of all nations (yes, it STILL is) persist in allowing such an unmitigated shame to continue?!
For Christ’s sake, can we no longer grant the homeless even their NAMES?! We’ll willingly spend $20,000+ per year to keep someone sheltered and fed for possessing or smoking a f _ _ _ _ _ _ g weed, and at the same time force thousands of our citizens, including veterans and untold numbers of CHILDREN, to live in tents or cars or worse and wonder where their next meal is coming from?! What goddamn planet am I living on?! Am I dreaming this crap?! Where the hell is the outrage?! This is happening in a country that supposedly PRIDES itself on its CARING and COMPASSION for the downtrodden and disenfranchised?! BULLSHIT! Wake up America! Get off your fat asses and go out and smell some of America’s disgusting REALITY for a change! Believe me, even your government’s best cover-up efforts (and, trust me, they are EXTREMELY adept at this sort of thing) haven’t been able to hide this ABOMINATION. Do you know that we’ve spent over $500,000,000 (and that’s just SO FAR!) on our little foray into Libyan affairs, but we can’t find the wherewithal to prevent children from sleeping on our sidewalks! Do you know that with the money we have spent to date in godforsaken Afghanistan we could have written a check for $14,000.00 to every Afghani man, woman, and child (on the men’s part alone that would cover about 4 YEARS of average earnings – most women aren’t permitted to work), but we can’t offer an alternative to thousands of families having to raise their children in TENTS or cars or God knows where else!
So, once again I ask you, where the hell is the goddamn OUTRAGE?! Christ, can anyone out there spell “p r i o r i t i e s”?! We live in a nation where a large segment of its political representation deems it not only acceptable, but truly fair and honorable, to grant unconscionable tax breaks to billionaires, all the while knowing that many American moms and/or dads will once again be tucking their kids into dirty little sleeping bags in some “there’s no place like home” f _ _ _ _ _ g TENT or car or ditch somewhere for yet another truly FORGETTABLE night! In 2008 it was “conservatively” estimated that 3.5 million people (of which 1.3 million were children) were homeless in America. That was three years ago. If you think those figures were exaggerated, I’ve got a home mortgage scheme (allusion intended) I’d like to talk to you about. Actually, no one knows for sure. You see, these folks don’t constitute a particularly large or influential VOTING block. Nor do they tend to make particularly large political campaign contributions. About all they can hope for is to ride a tide of national conscience, and unfortunately for their cause, the U.S. doesn’t appear to be any Bay of Fundy.
Do you have ANY idea how difficult it is to get ANY type of job in this good old “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” country of ours without a permanent address?! Shit, it’s damn near IMPOSSIBLE! The truth of the matter is that we just plain don’t LIKE people without permanent addresses! And, we ESPECIALLY don’t like people who appear unclean or unkempt AND don’t have permanent addresses! Are you beginning to get the picture? So, lie down and relax on those Sealy Posturepedics and Serta Perfect Sleepers my caring and compassionate friends, and just before you close your eyes tonight, glance up at the ceiling and think about the roof over it, and try not to forget that there are AT LEAST 3.5 MILLION of your fellow Americans out there who wish to GOD they could trade places with you if only for just ONE F _ _ _ _ _ G NIGHT! Is this a great country or what?!