Friday, July 18, 2008

In My Travels

Yesterday when I was visiting sites I've missed napping as I adjusting to my bipolar drug change, while looking in on Franiam I found her post dedicated to this site and this post. It really resonates for me because I could so easily be homeless. Had I not taken care of my mother in her descent into dementia, and inherited her house, I very well might be homeless. Thanks to what began with the Reagan "revolution," we now have no facilities to care for those who cannot care for themselves. It will get worse. The mortgage meltdown, bank failures, a falling dollar, rising costs and gas prices rising almost daily, we are in deep dodo. I know this isn't news to any of you, but I am old enough to know that prior to Reagan we did not have a "homeless problem." I've talked about this before and not that long ago, but thanks to Franiam, we now have this site to educate us, and make it real in a way nothing else does, short of being homeless yourself. Please read this: Under the Overpass


D.K. Raed said...

I was living in Spokane WA when the downtown streets starting filling up with newly homeless mental patients. This was early 1980's when the Reagan plan had just begun in earnest. The state mental hosp, located a few miles outside of town, pretty much closed. Buses were commissioned to come pick up the "newly liberated" patients & drop them off in the nearest big city. Prior to this time, we used to walk all over downtown, along the lovely River Walk fronting Spokane Falls. To their credit, the catholic charities set up missions down there because otherwise these people, most of whom had no clue who they were or how they got there, would've frozen to death over that first winter. FFWD to today when driving into our nearest big city means coming face to face with all the tent people living beside & under the freeways. Reagan would be proud!

Thanks for the "Under the Overpass" read. It really made me think & wonder if there will be room for all of us under those overpasses. And I'm also fantasizing about what would happen if any of the Bush-Cheney gang happened to wander in under one of those occupied overpasses. Would it be like a scene out of "Hotel California" (they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast)???

Fran said...

Utah- thanks for the link.

More importantly, thanks for sharing this chapter of your life, along with everything else. You have a most generous heart.

I am glad that you have your house and I so enjoy the many photos of it. When I see it the word that most clearly comes to mind is refuge.

Your photos convey a sense of warmth, containment and peace that are very beautiful to me.

We live in perilous times and yes the Regan era marked a deeper descent into them.

It is really very sad.

Blogging at least gives us so many chances for connection and community. It is in its very heart a humane practice.

Peace to you dear Utah Savage.

Ingrid said...

wow. I grew up in the Netherlands so I am not totally knowledgable about the domestic politics of the different administrations.. that article was an eye opener and oh so devastating. I did not know that pre-Reagan, there were places for people with mental disabilities to find a safe haven in. But for the grace of god you inherited your you can tell us all about it. I'm new at your site so you probably have been doing just that..I'm saddened by this state of the other blogger said, christians..well,what can I say about that?? There are many good people in the various faiths but for the one that's so touted here in this country, there are many short sighted ones who do not look to help unless there's something in it ..sayyy.."you accepting the lord jesus christ as your saviour"?! Often I think they need some medicine to get out of their childish faith, psychological security blanket..
but I better stop, it's one of my pet peeves..
hope you're continuing to adjust to the meds for the better



Randal Graves said...

They should have eaten their vegetables. Ketchup, anyone?

It's the last frontier of society, mental health. Our dirty little secret that we never talk about it. Easier to frame the health care debate in terms of physical ailments that are plainly visible.

Those with mental health problems aren't crackpots. They live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Utah Savage said...

d.k. Oh yes, I remember it well. Thanks for taking the time to follow the link. It's a good site to blogroll--we need these reminders.

Ingrid, I have blogrolled you. And in so doing I noticed what sterling company you keep. I hope you keep coming back. And if you get bored with this little episode of my being off my rocker, read one of my short stories and leave me a comment, critique or suggestion

Randal, you da man. I luuuuuv you.

Ingrid said...

well, gee [blush] Zanks! [g]

It's funny when you notice that you're in the same circles or that some overlap..I really ought to do a blogroll myself but for now, I just have a loong list of blogs in my favourites..however, I need to repay the courtesy and make it more obvious as to whom I visit and what I read..
and ahm..episodes or're not boring me in the least.. heck..sometimes I brain doesn't work and I can't give those darn good analysis like some people (due to brain not working) and I have a poli sci degree (obviously from when the brain worked LOL!)..
but, I'm a politics junkie and a blog junkie so I do tweak the brain in some shape of sorts..
btw..the brain 'not working' is due to not sleeping as well as I should/wished and having kids..that'll deteriorate the brain matter in no time hehe..

Nan said...

On any given day, an average of 7,000 people are homeless here in Atlanta. I walk over a bridge on my way to work each day that forms the roof of a camp where a depressingly large number of obviously homeless people stay. I blame Reagan. He made it okay to despise the poor. There's always been an undercurrent of nastiness in American society, but Reagan brought it out in the open. He glorified greed, and (I hate to use sociological jargon but can't think of a better word) operationalized racism -- it's during the Reagan years that the image of the poor as always being people of color really got pushed in to the collective consciousness.

Most people simply cannot face the fact that their own individual lives are so precarious. The current home foreclosure crisis is bringing reality home, but from what I see the majority of people still have themselves convinced that nothing bad will ever happen to them. They're not ready to admit that all it would take is missing a couple paychecks and they, too, would be trying to survive in abandoned buildings and under overpasses.

Under there... said...

Thank you for the link to my blog. Thank you also for helping provide historical context to what I see every day. I really grew up in the 80's so the world post-Reagan is all that I have ever really been aware of by first hand experience. Most of what I have learned about the history of homelessnes in our society has been from Wikipedia or library books. It is now starting to fall in place for me after reading your blog and really taking a look at the policies that were enacted during that era as well as the cultural shift that took place. The interesting thing is that the shelter I work at was started in my town in late 1981 to deal with the abundance of the homeless sleeeping under the overpasses where I work. I now cannot help but wonder if they were far fewer in number prior to that. Thank you for a very, very thought provoking post! You are an epiphany! Peace.