Silence

The party conventions are over and the candidates have been chosen (not the greatest of choices) and we now move on to the campaigns, the debates, the name calling and those annoying TV ads for the next three-and-a-half months. But wait: hear that silence, boys and girls? Crickets chirping? That, my friends, is the sound of the presidential candidates on the subject of homelessness.

During the entire primary season, little or nothing was said about homelessness. Now I know many of you will disagree and say, “Well, some did talk about poverty.” And yes, they did, but in all their bluster about doing this or that, offering 10-point plans on this or that, where was their 10-point plan on solving homelessness? We have a 10 point plan on how to destroy ISIS but not one on how to get people off the street. Can’t the homeless get the same attention as terrorists?

I mean shouldn’t there be the same sense of urgency to get men, women and children off the street? Isn’t homelessness just as much of a danger as climate change? According to the National Law Center on poverty and homelessness, an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 million people a year experience homelessness. Those numbers should set alarm bells ringing in people’s heads. Four—count ’em, four—major cities have called for a state of emergency around the issue. Shouldn’t that give people pause? Shouldn’t that make them say, “Hey wait a minute, we’ve got a real humanitarian crisis on our hands”? Apparently not. You’d think so but no.

As I said, there wasn’t a whole lot of talk on the subject during the primaries. Yeah, a little lip service was given to veteran homelessness, but that’s about it. Not even much from the far left’s chosen one Bernie Sanders. Yeah I can hear my liberal friends now, “Wait, the 99 percent!” Sorry guys, but the homeless weren’t “feeling the Bern.”

All sarcasm aside, I believe that the real reason most presidential candidates don’t talk much about homelessness is that they don’t really know what they can do about it. Because they don’t understand it. How could they?

Think about our two choices this year. Donald Trump is what a friend of mine would call a “trust fund baby.” He doesn’t even know what being without a buck in his pocket or living in a shelter smells like. He’s even been known to brag about how he has security chase homeless people away from in front of his tower. Yeah he can talk about homeless vets, but he still doesn’t have a clue that all the bluster is just that. As for Hillary, for all the great stories about her wonderful mother and how she overcame the obstacles she had to face, it seems she sometimes forgets all that. Either way, it seems the silence will continue.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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