Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lying or Clueless? Whatever. Hurtful. Minority.

Caricature by Mary Ann Parks
I'm basically a transparent person. I will go out of my way to tell the truth. I value truth and trust.

That's why I get quite frustrated with the likes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, AZ, the infamous pink-underwear, tent city, and a host of other tricks of his lawman image-making persona.

My dear friend and stalwart Babes of Wrath travel partner, Pat LaMarche, amazingly arranged an interview with Sheriff Joe while we were on our recent trip out west. Here's the link to her post, the transcripts and my 2-min video-visit of his office. These will give you some inside insights.

One thing that flabbergasted both of us was the Sheriff's total denial of his awareness of homeless kids in his county. "Homeless children?" he asked, astounded. He even sounded a tad concerned. Welp, that was short lived when we found out that he indeed did know about the homeless kids in the Phoenix area...he had attended several fundraisers for area shelters.

Diane and Pat
I suppose I shouldn't expect so much--honesty, decency, etc.--from our elected officials. After all, they're elected...often times by voters who fall for deceptive, persuasive advertising, and who pay little attention to the behind-the-scenes hooligans. But I do expect it.

Fortunately, albeit quite hidden, we have hosts of counter-forces out here too. Good people doing good things. I was reminded of this every day when I thought about Pat's willingness to spend 5 weeks chasing poverty stories while living in cramped, spartan conditions with me in Tillie. I'm used to traveling alone, beating my head against walls alone. It was wonderful to have her along.

We encountered scads of warm-hearted, compassionate people who daily go above-and-beyond to comfort the afflicted. Although both Pat and I try to share some of these stories, (Pat's blogs, my blogs) it's impossible to counteract the surge of media blasts about the abundant Sheriff Joe-type characters fluttering around like snow in a blizzard.

Most delightful, we encountered scads of people experiencing homelessness who inspired the socks off us by their efforts to strive, not just survive, the dire circumstances thrown at them.

Which got me do we let the tables be turned upside down--where the good people are overpowered by the bullies and ne'er-do-wells from the, um, other side? What can mostly powerless folks do? Well, let me give one relatively simple, cost-free, suggestion:
When you read a blog post, Facebook comment/post, or news story about poverty/homelessness, take a moment to LIKE, COMMENT and/or SHARE. Top dogs determine what stories are important using a complicated system, I'm sure. Part of it is based on LIKES, SHARES, COMMENTS. So...if you can manage a moment to register on the cyberspace toll board, you'll be lending our cause a hand.
My organization, HEAR US Inc., pushes the idea of a compassion epidemic. It's not a unique concept, but this simple, doable approach is sometimes overlooked in the frenzy of crisis and chaos. Do we have confidence that good will triumph over evil? Then...why don't we push the good envelope even harder.

Stand in the face of the evil-doers and say NO. You don't win, bully. The Babes of Wrath will get you!