As I was walking down Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley yesterday, I passed a homeless man huddled against the cold at a bus stop bench near the corner of Shattuck and Channing — and the man was talking to himself. “I just can’t do this any more,” he was saying. “I just can’t.”
I felt so bad for this poor guy that I gave him a few dollars — yeah, like a measly two bucks might even begin to help stop his hunger, chill, weariness and desperation.
A week from now — or perhaps a month from now or, hopefully, maybe even a year — that man will most probably be dead.
Living out in the cold, having very little food to eat, having no healthcare or dental care options, having no warm place to stay, lacking even a toilet or a shower, having nothing but rags to wear, and having no place to feel safe? That level of deprivation can actually kill people. Under these bleak circumstances, I myself would probably be dead within days. And what about you? How long could you survive that kind of merciless gauntlet, that kind of ordeal?
“I can’t do this any more.”
And recently the mayor of Oakland has actually had the chutzpah to accuse OWS of committing “economic violence”. That really takes some nerve — when you consider that, for the past 30 years, 99% of America has had to suffer endless and brutal economic violence under the jackboot of Wall Street and banksters and their lapdogs in Congress, on the Supreme Court and in the White House. “Economic violence”? Us? You gotta be kidding, Mayor Quan!
And also here’s a belated Christmas carol video, coming to us from the deep and dreamless streets of Bethlehem — where people still optimistically celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, even after having suffered over 60 years of occupation under corporatist Israel’s brutal and merciless jackboots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtSTLWLpSD0&feature=share
I wonder if Americans will be holding up even half as well as the Palestinians have done after we too have spent 60-plus years under corporatist domination.
Probably, if American corporatists have their way by then, most of the rest of America will be homeless too — and, like the man on the corner of Shattuck and Channing, muttering desperately to ourselves, “I can’t do this any more.”