November 7, 2014
“You can’t sanitize your dirty laundry and then not offer up any real solutions. Humanity has an inherent need to protect itself and there are always more good and honest people willing to fight to make things right.”
I read than this morning. It’s the closing remark of an article at The Daily Kos about Arnold Abbot, a 90 year old man in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who’s been illegally feeding homeless people —gratis.
The law that makes Arnold Abbot a felon has been explained by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Seiler says he has to take care of Fort Lauderdale business owners and residents. Since his city is a major tourist destination, the city’s economy depends on being attractive, and the city authorities say having homeless people visible on the streets doesn’t help that.
“The parks have just been overrun and were inaccessible to locals and businesses,” Seiler said.
Before getting into the rationale of a law that makes a man a felon for feeding people, just stop a second and think: there is actually a law in Florida which says you will be arrested if you feed hungry people without making them pay for it. You may not choose to feed people on some streets in Florida if they are too destitute to feed themselves. You will actually be arrested for feeding hungry people on certain streets in Florida.
Imagine this: just yesterday Jesus offered a piece of bread and fish to some of the homeless in Fort Lauderdale and was summarily crucified on the beach by uniformed police who sat at his feet in the warm sand casting lots for his chef’s jacket. He was being so commercially destructive, you know.
Has it occurred to you that something seriously bent and immoral is going on, not only in Florida, but in the rest of the country? I’m not talking about illegal immigration or same sex marriage or gay sex or gun control or any of the red-meat “moral” issues certain factions lose sleep over. I’m talking about the degradation of a fundamental sense of decency toward others by those in our upper echelons (and their fearful constituents). The ones who run businesses and make laws such as the one making it a felony to feed hungry people on the street in sight of others —offending those who have plenty to eat, ruining their shopping experience, making tourists uncomfortable, screwing up business —the ones, as the quote says, who want to sanitize our dirty laundry “and then not offer up any real solutions.”
Well, what might be a real solution to homelessness and hunger?
Jobs for everyone might help. Imagine that, everybody working¸ bringing home the bacon. Or how about a minimum wage— everybody making, not a killing, but enough to maintain the dignity of having a place to live while bringing home the bacon. These are two simple and reasonable solutions but ones blocked or opposed by the party that voters (and non-voters —especially) just put in control of the United States House and Senate. The party that has made it their six-year-long priority not to find ways to create jobs, not to find ways to establish a decent floor to wages, but (as made clear by Republican Mitch McConnell) to make Barack Obama a one-term president. The party that has spent the last six years throwing up red herrings in attempts to legislate against families, women, homosexuals, workers, the poor and the middle class in order to make Barack Obama a one-term president.
Does anyone see the irony in this latest election?
But the election is not the only irony, another is that this obviously anti-poor political party has just won a solid victory in a nation of so-called Christians. Christians who have thrown their Jesus under the bus in favor of the party of Caesar (a one-time CEO of an Imperialist Roman monopoly) who crucified Jesus for anti-monopolistic practices such as dignifying the poor by being their advocate not only in word, but at the same time offering them food (see above) and medical care (healing the lame and blind, etc.). And without pay, no less! In Fort Lauderdale Jesus would be trundled off like Arnold Abbot, bleeding heart that he was. But Fort Lauderdale is not alone. There are other, similar laws in Daytona Beach, Houston, and at least 30 other cities.
The problem for those who’d prefer to hide our dirty laundry —who want to discourage people from not looking for jobs that don’t exist by preventing Arnold Abbot from buying them lunch— is that you can’t sanitize your dirty laundry by jailing good people for being compassionate and generous. Unless, of course, you want to lose your place in the queue to heaven by going against the example of your Lord.
Capitalism and Christianity (of the kind Jesus practiced —but as a Jew) just do not mix. Yet here we are in an overwhelmingly rich “Christian” nation arresting 90 year-old men for inviting Jesus in and clothing him and feeding him as we’ve been instructed to do by the very person 77% of us claim to worship.
I for one don’t buy it.
by Jim Culleny