Friday, November 09, 2007

october just posts

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

Every month I promise I am going to talk about something other than homelessness. But every month I can't find a way past it. Past what I see every day, past the cold reality of people sleeping outside, of people struggling to survive. I realize it's taxing, that it might be a turn off for folks but I tell myself I have to write for me, and write for the cause. Yesterday I read an article citing that 1 out of 4 homeless people in the US are vets. I don't know if it's true, but I know what I see.

He fought in Viet Nam on one of the ammunition carriers. He was accidentally wounded and came back hurt. Tonight he'll sleep in a shelter, one of many in his life. We talked for a bit today when he showed up new, but old. Jaded, but relieved. A shelter is a shelter is a shelter but so far folks seem nice here. One thing about rock bottom is there is always room to go back up. Problem is I've been at the bottom for way too long.

He found his way to us awhile ago. He's old now, frail. But he fought in WWII. He defended his country all those years ago and will die soon in a shelter, homeless and penniless. He likes the nights we serve fried chicken and his pants are a little short. I don't need much and I get by okay little lady. One day I'm gonna take a real vacation.

He's just a kid, this guy. He was over in Iraq and came back and can't get a job. Benefits aren't working out, he's struggling. He joined the military because he was poor. He left the military poor. He's got his whole life ahead of him and yet he's with the old timers and the gangsters, the shakers and the jivers. He fought in Iraq. I just need to get a job and get up and outta here. I mean, I fought in the damn war for christsake. That should count for something.

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound. Everybody look what's going down.

The Just Writers
Aliki with Affordable Guilt and on unreasonable expectations
Blog Antagonist with Not a drop to drink
bon with Dear Margaret Trudeau
Chani with Restorative Justice ... and when community comes together
Crazymumma with Untitled and i just left my yoga class
Get in the car with Philanthropy Thursday
Glennia with why poverty matters
Her Bad Mother with No Shame
Jen with Respect Your Mother, 13 million reasons, little boy lost and my first mothering
Jennifer with potatoes for dinner
KC with A physician's perspective on universal health care
Mary Alice with Philanthropy Thursday
Mother Woman with On the library strike
Painted Maypole with My Pink Ribbon and gratitude and giving
Slouching Mom with Smog
Sober Briquette with This pacifist gets all patriotic
and Sunday dinner left-overs
Susan Wagner with Wrinkle in Time, or Thoughts on Turning 40
Susanne with Art and creativity are pivotal
Suzanne Reisman on BlogHer with More Contraceptive Use, Fewer Abortions and with Combating The Stereotypes and Injustice Surrounding Male Rape
Thordora with Mentally ill lighter sentences
Maggie with Respect and Old Age and environment
League of Maternal Justice with Mission #3
It's Not A Lecture with something good in facebook for a change
Mom's Speak Up with American People = Bush's ATM
been there with BlogDay for Mothers ACT
From the front lines with Philanthropy Thursday
Cecilieaux with what makes pedophiles look good
A Commonplace Book with nooses: why now?
Snoskred with please help do what you can to stop internet scammers NOW
Jenn with do you know me
Julia with what's in a number
Thordora with It's not so easy being hard
Julie with Imagine, tie a red ribbon round my daughter's wrist and take me to toxic town
Biodtl with no child insured, either and why I can never vote Republican
Mimi with brave new boobs post
Jangari with another pseudo apology and more white exceptions to grog bans
Roy with let's have a wake! chivalry is dead
Mrs. Chili with shouting it from the rooftops
Mary G. with ouch that hurt and letter to danier leather
Alejna with hungry
Ancors and Masts with how would you deal with it?
Beansprouts with I believe
Fortune and Glory with Oneness and Bomb, bomb Iran
Riversands Feeding and Gardening project with Mothers who volunteer
Princess Mouse with The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Permaculture in Brittany with Houston, we've had a problem
Small Meadow Farm with Reduce Reuse Recycle
The coffee house with Positive Thinking/
The chickens have escaped! with No eggs, just rats
Beyond the fields we know with Mama says Om - Divided
Trailer Park Girl with what if

Some of the many Just Readers
Mother Woman

None of this would be possible without the bloggity goodness of Mad, Susanne, and Hel. They've all written their own masterpieces this month and you can find them by clicking on their names just above. And see you next month when we celebrate an entire year of social justice bliss. As always, these monthly roundtables are open to anyone who wants to contribute, either by reading or by writing. Everyone is welcome.


PunditMom said...

That's a lot of social justice!

kristen said...

you rock, woman. roar. xoxo

flutter said...

amazing as always, friend

Mad Hatter said...

The forgotten vets. Well timed with Remembrance/Memorial day around the corner.

Anonymous said...

Jen, my daughter's school held a ceremony for the vets today, and one of the speakers, the 8th grade teacher, a vet himself, cited that statistic as well.

I was saddened that there were not even enough veterans attending to fill the two pews that had been set aside for them, and the vets who were there were all quite elderly. Hopefully, the younger veterans were at work on a Friday morning.

Afterward, Tony and I were discussing the content of the program. I was cynical about the idea that the US was involved in these wars to "help" people, which is the pablum they were serving. He reminded me that (1) that's what is appropriate for elementary-aged children, and (2) that it's a good point to start from each and every day, that it can't be repeated enough. Help people.

I know you, sister, have got to have some kind of deep well from which you drink every day, to come to your world refreshed and ready to give again. It is an honor and privilege to pour a little and sip a little with you.

thailandchani said...

I think it's repugnant, the way this particular society treats those it asks to fight its wars.

Enuff said.

TZT said...

Thanks so much for this service you provide. It always helps me find great new blogs to read.

Julie Pippert said...

Awesome post, Jen.

Never stop talking about homelessness. You are dead on. We love you for keeping our eyes open to this.

And the three men you highlighted.

I'm disgusted. Vets ought to be cared for, for life.

I heard that song yesterday. I sang every word. It always makes me think of the VietNam vets I grew up knowing.

Using My Words

QT said...

Every month, there is so much new to read.

Don't ever stop writing about whatever makes you feel passionate. Because that is when your true voice comes out, sister.

Lawyer Mama said...

Damn. I'm an idiot, Jen. I have a whole LIST of posts for October that I forgot to email to you. Because I have too many things in my brain at one time. Sigh.


Off to read all these fantastic posts.

Lawyer Mama said...

Also meant to say, I heard a report on the BBC on NPR this morning about the homeless in America. Although vets make up about 11% of our adult population, they make up 26% of the homeless population. And it's only going to get worse.
I know you already know those stats, Jen, but it made me think about it a little more this morning and wonder what we can do to help.

Susanne said...

I'm a bit ambivalent about this helping people through sending soldiers thing. Mostly I think it doesn't do much good, and then I turn around and celebrate the fact that the US entered WWII.

Each month I'm amazed that there are these many posts about social justice, and now it has been almost a year. Incredible. And great.

And please, don't stop writing about homelessness.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

I agree with many above - don't stop writing about homelessness. We hear you and you are passionate and you are great. Look at all those posts!

And I agree on the vets thing. I was so angry when oh, about a year ago, the president asked for more troops for Iraq with one hand and then pushed through a bill to reduce the aid coming to those troops when they return home. I'll stop now or this will turn into a rant.

kgirl said...

wow, great roundup this week. lot's of reading to do.

my dad was a vietnam vet. We dealt with the VA quite a bit while he was ill, and they treated him so wonderfully, but there's going to be another wave of neglected soldiers 'on the homefront' - most of the soldiers fighting now are reserve, and they don't qualify for any veteran's benefits. disgusting.

Jenn said...

I have trouble expressing that while I support our troops, I don't support those who sent them there, for reasons exactly in your post.

People, used as pawns, then not even taken care of in a manner with which you'd treat your chess set.

For even the lowly pawns join the queen when they get placed where they belong, a roof over their heads.

Kyla said...

You know, every time I see one of those commercials for sponsoring children around the globe, I think, why aren't there programs out there to sponsor people in our own country as well? We have enough suffering to necessitate it. It seems just because we live in a wealthy country, anyone can help themselves, but that really isn't the case at all.

Jennifer said...

My personal beliefs, my heart, my soul, are such that I disagree with most of the policies of the U.S. miliary. But, that doesn't translate to not honoring our veterans. That we don't take care of our veterans in a better way is so, so wrong. We can do better. It's shameful that we don't.

KC said...

Veterans. I know them well. xo

painted maypole said...

humbled, as always, to be a part.

I have wondered how this war will effect the homelessness. "we" are all flag waving support when they have guns in their hands, and then look the other way when they come home wounded in mind and body. At what price this "freedom"?

Tess said...

Thank you for the link, much appreciated. This is a terribly sad post. The price others continue to pay for our freedom is appalling.

Denguy said...

I don't mind your topic selection, it's informative and throught-provoking. Keep on truckin'.

Amy Y said...

I appreciate your homelessness posts... You have opened my eyes in a way that I wasn't expecting or even searching for. I'll always love you for that :)

Aliki2006 said...

It is shameful, what we do--how we treat our veterans. And please keep writing about homelessness--it is so very, very important.

So much justice here--I can't wait to start reading!

Amanda said...

This is wonderful, though I can't seem to get through to the post on the Blog Antagonist link...

Cecilieaux said...

Your three portraits are excellent and moving. Keep reminding all of us.

I pass then on the way to work, as you know, legions of them to the point that by the time I reach my building I am worn to a frazzle -- and guilty that I have never given enough.

People like me need people like you to humanize the swarm.


Shavings Off My Mind

Christine said...

i hate that i didn't participate with a post or anything.

next time.

b*babbler said...

Can't wait to read these.

Thank you to all the lovely ladies for compiling, and keeping us thinking.

Ally said...

Fabulous list.

And you don't ever need to apologize for continuing to write about homelessness. Why would you? This is what you breathe, friend, and it does us all good to hear about it.