Be the change

So it is now time for that spectacular piece I promised you yesterday about healthcare. The truth is I stated some of the beginning work for that, but I never ended up writing it. Now this is not because I don’t want to or somehow found it irrelevant. I will be getting back to work on that very soon, and I really hope that it may show a few sides to the argument that are never really presented. I didn’t complete that writing because today and opportunity to be the good I want to see in the world literally ended up on my doorstep. And this opportunity moved me in such a way, and gave me such a wonderful experience I felt that I should find a way to share this.

Today started a bit late did some things around the house and was going to grab some food before starting on some other work that I’m doing right now. After going out I arrived home to find a strange man sitting in my driveway.  Of course, at first, I was kind of shocked, and really wanted to know what was going on. I was also somewhat angry, because without knowing any other information all I was aware of was that this guy decided that it would be ok to plant himself in my driveway, without any permission. So I got out of my car, and asked “Hey, can I help you?” no real response. I then asked “Do you have a ride coming?”  to which he just replied “yeah.”

I could see that I wasn’t going to get much information out of the guy and was becoming more upset. Thinking to myself I had no clue how to deal with this. I do not believe in calling cops on someone, because I understand by doing so I’m putting their lives in danger as well as others who are around, perhaps even myself if the cop felt so inclined. Then it hit me it almost 100 degrees outside, and the spot this guy has chosen was the only visible shade nearby. So I ran into the house and got the guy a bottle of water, ran it out to him and just tried to engage him in conversation. Turns out that he had just gotten out of the VA hospital almost 30 miles north of where we are at. He was unsure of really, how he got here, but was under the impression that VA would be sending him a ride, to help him get into a hotel. Now, with a small understanding of how the VA works I felt as though it was highly likely that no one would be coming for him and if they were it would take forever. So I joked with him about, how if they were working on VA time they might be here next week.

I had work that I have been paid for so I had to complete it on time so I told him that I had to run inside that It would be OK if he waited in the shade and if they weren’t here by the time I got done I’d come back and figure out what we can do to help him. When I came back the shade was shrinking getting close to noon and he had curled up almost under the tree. Longs story short I helped him load up his belonging which was one garbage back and a box asked him where he could go and he suggested the Local hospital. Myself and this man who had now introduced himself to me as Jimmy talked along the way found out that there was some potential to being related to some degree. Once we got to the hospital he asked me to take him to the ER. Although this seemed strange to me, I felt I should respect his wishes and took him around to the ER. Jimmy understood a lot about how the medical world works because once we got into the ER he told them that he was suffering from chest pains, which in the ER world means take me back now.

Jimmy understood that once he had been admitted to the hospital that they would have to do some amount of work on finding him a ride out and a place to stay once he was done. Of course, I knew that whatever effort had been put into this from the VA had got him no further than my driveway. So the last effort that I made I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote my name and number down on it, and told him that if he had any problems to give me a call and I would do what I could to help him. With that I went on my way wished Jimmy the best of luck, and possibly saw him for the last time. I haven’t heard from him so I assume they were able to give him the help he needed.

Now I did not tell you this story to brag about how good of a person I am, rather quite the opposite. I judged a stranger based on his disheveled appearance, I passed judgment without understanding of the situation, and most importantly I was more concerned at first with securing my own environment. The star of this story is Jimmy, A man who when he was young went to fight in a war that he had no understanding of why he was there. A man who has more than likely endured more that you or I ever will even if you have been military it’s still not the Vietnam War, and if you were there I’m sorry for what you have endured. Those who know me know I am a strong opponent to the military industrial complex. I don’t believe in thanking soldiers, because I know that they aren’t fighting for freedom like the official narrative would have us believe. I have even gone as far as to say that in the age of information if you enlist you are a willing participant in the destruction of others’ lives.  But this isn’t the case for those who fought in these wars.

There was a draft for the Vietnam War, and even those who volunteered did not have access to the information that this was a war for the sake of war rather than actual defense of freedom. Pair this with the fact that no matter what ones views on military action may be that the people who fight in them are entitled to receive adequate care from the Government they protected, or whom they turned war profits for. For the VA to see a homeless veteran, and then return him without a place to stay is just as egregious of an act, as sending him to possibly die in this war in the first place.

Jimmy’s story is not that different from many others from that era. Even those who do not have to suffer through then mental trauma that is a result of having been in war still find themselves victimized by the structure of capitalist society that lead them to positions where they have to depend on kindness from strangers. Could that stranger, be you? I think so I didn’t have to alter my plans or day by much to provide this help. Shelters are losing funding, many keep hours that don’t involve evening. Cities are criminalizing homelessness and police are “following orders” to further remove resources from these already vulnerable people. In many places, I can’t choose to give my food to this person or my money to this person. Efforts to build tiny housing communities are being counteracted by local governments, sometimes to the point of ordering them to be destroyed. This list of actions against homeless continues to grow. But today I did something, and you can to. If more people get together pull resources fight back against unjust laws and work to protect the vulnerable in our society we all grow because of it. This is where I leave off today, now go do something good.

 

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