Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On the coming Inauguration

The day is approaching quickly, and we all have friends and relatives attending the events in Washington D.C. personally, whether they are traveling WILPF members, personal friends, or those who already live in the DC metro area.

Whenever I hear about the masses of visitors, however, I keep thinking back to a personal blog of a personal friend who lives and works in the non-profit sector in DC, after having done the same in New York. She writes about the masses of self-serving volunteers and how the homeless are being pushed around and out of the city.

While the majority of volunteers are not rude - overall, YEAH! for volunteers (including almost the entire membership of WILPF) - and the pushing around of homeless people is far from a new phenomenon, we have to be conscious of the consequences of our actions. It kind of reminds me of the Live Earth concerts, designed to inform about environmental preservation, yet the crowds and transportation caused some damage itself. Interestingly, Live Earth is sponsoring a Green Inaugural Ball tomorrow:

"Millions of people are heading to Washington, D.C. this weekend to join in on all the festivities surrounding the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama and while we can’t do anything about the crowds, we hope to make it easier for you to lessen your impact on the environment with all the travel and excitement."

Still to focus on here is the problem of homelessness.

Please don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with celebrating and making use of a presidential inuaguration. Newton's third law, simply put, applies here: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." However in in society, it is not equal and opposite. Reaction occur on a steadily growing exponential level.

The homeless - already about last in societal hierarchy - are being pushed down further so that those with means can have very expensive parties. The homeless are already homeless because of the corporate power and mismanagement, examples of which are too numerous to count in the past few years. The abuse of the concept of private property literally leaves people allowed to be nowhere, stripped of their access to life-sustaining means. And how ironic that in the nation's capital, there is such a large amount of homeless - and an alarmingly large and disproportionate number of those are military veterans. How clear the metaphor is about the bankruptcy of war! How it protects no one and destroys us all.

I'm not sure what to conclude. I really hope that with all of this "change" kind of energy, people will truly celebrate the new administration by getting down to the roots of the problems in the world, right where they are. Don't move the homeless: change the policies that keep them that way. Feed, clothe, and shelter the one at your door.

A quote from the film "Iron Jawed Angels" (a jewel about women claiming the vote in the United States) echoes through my head. Forgive my forgetting the exact words, but use that as a reason to see the film and find out for yourself:

While being asked about her starvation protest, the main character describes famine in the past in Europe when starving peasants would lay on the doorsteps of the rich and die there. It was motivation enough to get the rich to do something, because as she asks, who wants a stinking corpse on their doorstep?

We all have lots to do to take care of our brethren.

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