Many poor folks in the world haven't yet found the real meaning of Christmas. So many people are lost, lonely, downtrodden, weak and weary. Some are weak in their bodies, weary in their flesh; others are weak in their minds; and yet others are weak in body, mind and spirit. There are the trampled-on, the poor, the persecuted, the hungry; those who are victims of war and crime and exploitation; those who nobody wants and for whom nobody cares; those who have so little in the way of worldly goods, who are lacking in food, clothing and shelter—even the basic necessities.
Then there are others who do have material goods and who appear to have it together in the eyes of the world They're weary and heavy-laden with problems, stress, fears and phobias; those who appear to be rich and increased in goods, but who are found wanting; those who wear a smile on their face, yet ache inside; those who are engulfed in a sea of emptiness. We can spread a little more love and light and cheer!
"Lift up your fellow man, lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart."
A recent segment on 60 Minutes showed abandoned homes in Cleveland being bulldozed after vandals had stripped them. Abandoned houses bring down property values, the justification for the destruction. Banks foreclosed on the homes, refusing to lower the principal so homeowners could stay. Then they walked away seemingly without penalty or consequence.
I don't understand how they can do it. And they are not held accountable. Again! Banks were key players in creating the economic meltdown, including the housing bubble. To allow them to get away with this is unconscionable.
We have a crisis of homelessness in this country, and these houses are being ripped down. Communities are shredded and people are forced out. There are many similarly empty homes in Sonoma County. Common sense and compassion lead me to say, "Let's put people in those houses and let them pay what they can." What do we have to lose?
Maybe we should provide scientists, engineers, tech leaders and art/science innovators funding incentives for running for political office. Phil Harriman, Robert Porter, Ned Kahn, Dale Dougherty, Bill Seidel, Dan Smith and many other local residents may have more gumption, practical ideas and solutions for local and regional issues than many of our elected officials.
Too bad we can't find a way to purchase the old Pellini Chevrolet property in Sebastopol and put it into the hands of the innovators mentioned above for a training and demonstration facility with dormitories and a learning environment for youth. The ongoing projects could be on display for all to see. A fun place to play, make and show! With a well thought-out financial plan, it might be possible to issue a corporate or even municipal bond to purchase and build a facility that attracts visitors from outside the region. If a stable income stream can be developed over time, it can then support a bond. Could an Exploratorium North with a Maker Place attract a growing revenue stream and enliven our economy?
Yesterday as I was driving around, I saw an incident that left me brokenhearted. It was Tuesday, the day garbage is collected. Bent over in front of one of the cans was a frail, white-haired man digging through the garbage. As I passed by him, he put what he found into his mouth and was chewing it.
My question to you, reader, is what should I have done instead of crying?
I'm still in tears as I type this.
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