July 14, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Dan Pulju: Grants Pass, from neither left nor right

3 min read
Dan Pulju says we must address the real economic and humanitarian crises relating to homelessness, because performative compassion from the left and stigmatization from the right aren't working. He suggests addressing the market's failure to provide living wage jobs.

by Dan Pulju

I’m a Green in the foundational “neither left nor right” aspect. A lot of left-wing and right-wingers won’t like what I’m about to say.

The SCOTUS Grants Pass decision was correct. Banning camping in an urban area is neither unusual nor cruel.

The left is caught up in a cynical virtue-signal by 9th Circuit Court liberals. Being able to sleep legally is not nearly the worst of a homeless person’s worries. It takes minimal skill to find a spot out of sight of the cops. That’s why there were no tents by the sidewalks, until Democrats for some reason thought that would make them look good.

Here’s their logic: “Sure, countless people ended up homeless under our watch. But look how well we treat them while they’re down and out!”

They’ve been playing this line for years, yet not done a damn thing about the economic cause. It’s enough that they can be seen acting compassionate to their own victims. And the public is dumb enough to fall for it, because they want to feel good too. Yay compassion!

At this point, being an Oregonian, you’re probably seething about me trashing the liberals. Okay then! Conservatives value what? HARD WORK. Yes, work is good. Not so much as a service, but as a means of self-empowerment. You gain skills and learn to take care of yourself, and eventually others too. It’s… what do conservatives say? MORAL.

But is it moral to work hard for lousy wages? Hell no. Then you are a damn fool. Useless to yourself and anyone dumb enough to depend on you. If you are wise, you will make money; economists will tell you labor does not create value.

So, conservatives, what we have here is a failed economy that can no longer see to it that workers can make a living. That’s wrong. Something is fundamentally off. These ethics don’t work anymore, workers don’t get a fair shake. We’re getting ripped off.

Not done with you yet, liberals! You made things much worse with welfare-state interventionism. You shell out buckets of cash for food and other essentials… well, good for you. I bet you feel great about it. But have you noticed the people getting them often still work full time? Why should employers pay a decent wage when they don’t even have to cover the essentials? What actually happened here – did you empower the working class, or make it dependent on government?

The cruelest thing you could have done, liberals, is put the homeless, victims of your own policies, on public display in your political virtue circus. But you did!

The cruelest thing you could have done, conservatives, is stigmatize the homeless as lazy, mentally-ill junkies, herd them into faith-based shelters, treat them as pariahs. But you did!

And for everyone generally, the plight of the homeless is a material issue. Feelings and political tangents mean nothing. It’s not comparatively hard to find a place to crash. Homelessness is a school of hard knocks that teaches self-reliance very fast. But it’s much harder to make money when you’re hygienically unemployable. It’s much harder to deal with being an outcast, a bottom-feeder, an untouchable. Those are the important things, and the homeless are denied them one way or the other.

Who among you talks to homeless people as an equal? About music, sports, literature, something unrelated to their economic status? And the irony is, for years on end they’ve been living in a tent near your house, at the 9th Circuit’s invitation, but you still never treated them as normal people. Why so obsessed with putting a roof over them – so they can be like you? Can you account for this prejudice and find another way?

Legal camping in cities won’t make a bit of difference. Has it yet, after all these years? And it never will. It is not the issue. Folks, get over the messiah complex and deal with the real economic errors that caused all this.

Dan Pulju ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 as a candidate of the Pacific Green Party. He is currently seeking recognition from the Oregon secretary of state as the 2024 Pacific Green Party candidate for Oregon state treasurer.

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